Everyone with a student loan loves the grace period. You do not have to worry about anything during that time and your finances usually are doing great during this time. The grace period is like an extended spring break when it comes to your student loans. Yet like every break the party has to end sometime and reality sets back in.
Once your grace period ends you need to begin paying on your loans. While no one gets excited tp pay back a student loan you must start to plan your repayments and start budgeting. Making a solid plan to repay your student loan will set you in the right direction when your student loans grace period ends.
When your grace period ends you might have options still if your job hunt has not gone according to your hopes and expectations given the state of the economy. You can always check to see weather or not you can further postpone your future payments. Some situations allow you to have a grace period longer than the traditional six months. For example if you return to school at least half-time before your grace period ends you have reset the clock so to speak, where you will get a new 6 month grace period once your attendance drops below half time or when you have finished your new courses. Active military personal also get an extension and receive a new 6 month grace period after your active service ends. You can also request deferment or forbearance on your loans.
Of course putting off your student loans will not make them disappear. There is no avoiding student loans, not even through bankruptcy. So you might want to put your best foot forward and just start dealing with the loan now. Not to mention that putting of your loan payments might just add more debt in some cases. Setting up auto payments is often the best way to go, and it can save you 0.25%. While 0.25% does not sound like much it quickly adds up over the lifetime of your loan, to qualify for this you need to go through a federal student loan service with auto payments set up.
You can opt to consolidate your student loans in the event that you have more than one student loan or a student loan with an interest rate that is to high for your liking. The drawback is once you consolidate you cannot undo it. Consolidation takes all of your student loans and rolls it into one debt, making managing your debt easier. Sometimes you can save money in your interest but the chief reason to go a loan consolidation is to simply keep better track of your finances and having to deal with only one loan instead of multiple loans.
If you want or need to reduce your interest rates the best option to go for is to refinance your student loans. You could also pay more than the fixed payment which over time will save you in interest due to paying the loan off much faster. Of course making substantially larger payments could add a temporary squeeze on your budget and finances it will get the loan taken care of faster. If you have more than one student loan my advice is to pay off the loan with the highest balance first. if you make extra payments you need to make sure to let your lender know to apply extra payments to the principal balance and not to future payments.