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I'm looking to pay off my student loan as soon as possible. I've been making responsible payments into my loan for years now, and I've been making lump sum payments into my loan each time I come across a significant windfall.

However, I know that I could be doing better. There's a Public Service Employee Forgiveness Program I could be taking advantage of, but I'm afraid I may have already screwed myself out of that one (It requires documentation of your employment, and ten years of on-time loan payments, of which I haven't documented, have greatly reduced with my lump sum payments, and would be paid off by the time the 120 payments are made). I am also not sure if my loans are consolidated, or if they're all gathering independent interest and thus spiking the amount of interest I have to pay with each month's payment.

In short, I have a lot of questions, and I'd like the opinion of an expert. But I'm not sure who to turn to - the federal student loan site doesn't offer much helpful advice, and I'd like to avoid paying a financial adviser and go for a public option if possible. I belong to a Credit Union, and have the option of joining a different credit union that supports my state job.

Who can I turn to for advice on paying off my loan as quickly as possible?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Dheer, JoeTaxpayer Aug 5 '15 at 11:32

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First, you need to be clear about what type of advice you are looking for. From the details in your other question, it looks like you have about 5 years or so left on your loan. If you add $200 a month to your payment (applied to the principle), you'll cut your loan in half, finishing it in 2.5 years, and saving about $1000 in interest.

You said that you are looking for expert advice, but what type of advice are you looking for? There is no secret formula for making that extra $200 payment each month. Do you currently have a household budget? This is the key to making it work. Not just a general idea of where your money is spent, but an actual budget, where you decide what every single dollar will be spent on, and you don't spend anything that is not written down in your plan. Then if you can find an extra $200 (or $400, for that matter) by reducing your spending in something else, you apply it to your loan.

There are lots of different financial experts, but not all are experts on everything. If your goal is to pay off your debt ASAP, you don't need an investment expert who is trying to sell mutual funds, for example.

If you need help budgeting, I would recommend the budgeting help found on the website for the YNAB budgeting software, which I also use and recommend. If you would prefer to read a book and do not want to use budgeting software for some reason, I recommend the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

If you still think you need one-on-one help, there are budgeting counselors that will help you work on your budget. They usually work for a fee. Many churches also offer budgeting classes.

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