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Here's how to prepare for student loan repayments

Student Loan Expert Mary Jo Terry said this is a great time to make payments since there is no interest during the pause.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Biden-Harris administration just extended the repayment pause through the end of August; however, Student Loan Expert Mary Jo Terry said this is the perfect time to prepare for the day to start paying again. 

Also, Memphis Resident Austin Hasenmueller took advantage of her time during the pandemic. 

“I don’t want to be a slave to the lender, so I was just done and I was willing to do whatever it took…to a degree,” Hasenmueller said.

She stated that in addition to her main job, she took on nearly 100 side jobs to pay off her student loan debt. 

“I was hired a lot for plant sitting jobs, pet sitting jobs, dog sitting, dog walking, cat sitting. Things like that, so I kind of built up this clientele of people I knew and people who would refer me to people I didn’t know,” Hasenmueller said.

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She graduated from Samford University in Alabama just six years ago, but she got serious about her payments in February of 2020. 

16 months later, she found herself free of student loan debt. 

“My mom took out a parent plus loan and a part of that deal was if she took it out that I would eventually help her pay it off once I paid off the loans in my name," Hasenmueller said. "I had about 24 grand that I had to pay off in my name and the rest was in her name, and so I got this job and I did move in with my mom.”

Hasenmueller said it helped that she checked studentaid.gov and got in touch with her service loan provider. 

It is what Student Loan Expert Mary Jo Terry suggested that people do, too. 

Terry said you should also visit the financial aid website to see how much you owe, that way you can figure out what your monthly balance will be and consider how much you’ll need to budget. 

“There’s no interest accruing right now and you don’t have to make payments. For those of us who can’t make payments, this is not a good idea," Terry stated. "But you can take $100 and put it towards your principle balance every single month. Basically, what that is going to do, is it’s not only going to be the $100...so you owe $10,000, now it's $9,900 dollars, you don’t have to pay interest on that money.”

RELATED: Biden administration extends student loan payment pause

While there is no pressure to make monthly payments right now, Terry said this is also a good time to pay off any outstanding debt and save up for when repayments begin.

“All of us know. The job market’s been up, the job market’s been down. We have a good job today, maybe we won’t tomorrow, so being able to put a little money away is going to be important,” Terry said. 

Lastly, if you work full-time for a government agency or for certain types of non-profits, you can see if you qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which will help you pay off your federal student loan debt.