We have all heard the amazing transformations of how people paid off $200,000 of student debt in 3 years or how someone paid cash for their dream home, but at what cost? Usually I get hooked by this type of clickbait only to find that the person lived in a van, ate 25 cent ramen packets, and never showered. My question is always, “What is the quality of life there?” I would like to argue that there are reasonable ways to tackle debt without having to sacrifice enjoyable experiences in your life.

During my college career I managed to accumulate a substantial amount of student loan debt in the hopes of one day acquiring a better paying job. The standard of living I wanted to achieve never involved packing up my spouse and 3 kids in a camping trailer while subsisting off of compressed noodles and salt. Instead I have explored practical ways to tackle my student loan, credit card, and auto loan debt without sacrificing things that bring me joy.

Here are three practical solutions that will drastically reduce your stress and improve your finances.

Student Loan Debt

Graduating from college is both an exciting and terrifying time in a young professional’s life. You are exploring your career options while hovering just in the back of your mind are the student loan bills piling up. While the instinct may be to pay this debt down as quickly as possible, it may not be the most viable. Instead, refinancing your student loans into a single payment with a local credit union can offer you lower monthly payments and reduce the interest rate, thus saving you money. Many of these institutions offer incentives for bringing your loans to them, such as no origination fees, which make consolidating your student loans simple and cost effective.

To find out more about refinancing options, visit University Federal Credit Union’s Student Loan page.

Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is another obligation that can quickly spiral out of control and become an endless drain on your finances if you’re not able to pay much toward the principle balance. Credit card companies make their money by charging high interest rates that leave little room in your budget for other activities and bills. According to survey data of American households*, the average amount for credit card debt was $15,654 in 2017.

The good news for you is that financing a personal loan with a local credit union to pay off your high interest debt is a smart way to lower your payment, while putting more toward principle.

University Federal Credit Union in Salt Lake City, Utah, offers a UCU Signature Loan up to $15,000 with fixed rates.

Auto Loan Debt

For many of us having a car is a necessity of life. Our cars represent an investment in our livelihood that allows us to commute to and from work each day. These wonderful machines however are often very expensive and purchasing one can be quite a hassle. Getting preapproved for a loan or refinancing an existing loan with your credit union can offer lower interest rates and relationships with local dealerships built on longevity  that make buying a car fast and easy.

If you currently have an auto loan that you’d like to refinance visit our auto loan page.

It doesn’t take super human restraint to take control of your finances. Many of us have debt that was necessary for us to grow in our careers and personal lives. By knowing that there are additional options offered through local credit unions to lower, consolidate, or change your payment, we can all feel empowered to own our budget without out having to completely sacrifice our comfort.

*Issa, E. (2017). 2017 American Household Credit Card Debt Study. Nerdwallet.com. Retrieved from https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/

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