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Yes, You Can Pay Off Student Loans on an EA’s Salary

By Heather Taylor The average base pay that an editorial assistant in New York City receives is just under $40k—and chances are you won’t see most of that salary if you graduated with student loans. But don’t despair, whippersnappers! These tips will help you make a dent in your debt.

1. Strategize a plan for paying loans off.

In an ideal world, we would be able to pay off our debt quickly and get back on track to our regularly scheduled lives. But in reality, especially in New York City, EAs juggle a lot of expenses alongside student loans including rent, utilities, transportation, grocery bills, and other miscellaneous expenses. You might even have credit card debt in the mix too.

Rather than hide the statements under your bed and ignore them, make a list of all of the debt you owe. Then list out each debt’s monthly minimum payment. Once these two lists have been made, personal finance expert Rachel Cruze advises paying the debts off from smallest to largest. By paying the smaller ones off first, Cruze says you’ll get a couple of quick wins early on that will help you stay motivated.

Not great about remembering to mail in checks or log into your account to pay on time? Millennial money expert Kelly Anne Smith at The Penny Hoarder suggests setting up autopay. This way, your designated amount is automatically deducted from your bank account and you won’t even have to think about it.

2. Consolidate your debts.

Many student loans come saddled with high interest rates, which makes them all the more difficult to pay off in full quickly. If you’ve ever considered debt consolidation, Cruze says now’s the time to do it. Her guidelines for consolidating your debts are twofold: First, consolidate into an interest rate that is lower than the one you have now. And remember: If you have two loans that are $20,000 each and decide to consolidate them into one loan, your loan total will  be $40,000. It’ll seem like a much larger balance now, so you should mentally prepare for it.

3. Take advantage of your tax refund.

As tax season approaches, you’re probably already anticipating the size of your refund and all the ways you can spend it. However, the smartest thing to do is put the entire amount toward your student loan balance. Whether you just started paying off your debt or are still trying to pay it off several years in, the refund will help you decrease the loan and enable you to pay it off much faster.

4. Get a side hustle.

It’s not uncommon today to work full-time and then head home to freelance or drive for a rideshare service for an added income boost. Don’t want the stress that comes with working a side hustle on top of your existing job? Smith recommends downloading the LetGo app to quickly snap, post, chat, and sell items you no longer want or need. You can also use sites like Ebates or Swagbucks for cashback on items purchased online. Just be sure to put that extra cash to good use!

Heather Taylor is a former entertainment writer turned brand mascot aficionado (and head writer) for Advertising Week’s Icon Blog. She been published on HelloGiggles, Brit + Co, The Drum, and BettyConfidential. Find her on Twitter @howveryheather.

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