Yeah yeah, I know. Student loans are a drag. Paying them off. Thinking about them. Talking about them. It’s all pretty
It’s no surprise that many of us just try to ignore them altogether.
The problem is that the loan balance doesn’t go away just because you ignore it. Yes, you can just keep making those minimum monthly payments (or coasting through this forbearance, as the case may be).
But you’re missing out on the opportunity to save money, to get out of debt faster, to shake off those debt shackles.
And since money conflict is a legit problem for lots of couples, you’re holding onto one more potential conflict area in your relationship.
Okay, enough with the lecture.
Let’s get a little creative here. Sometimes you gotta give yourself an incentive to do the things you don’t want to do, right? And if you’re married, a date night with your spouse is a great incentive — especially if you’ve forgotten how to do anything but scroll through Netflix on the couch after the kids go to bed.
You do a little work (aka student loans), you get a little reward (aka date night fun).
I’m talking about a date night with your student loans.
I know, it sounds a little wacky. But let’s be real, life is a little wacky right now.
So here are three date night ideas that’ll get you having fun and trying something new while you’re making progress on your student loans.
Brews and Budgeting
Maybe you’re one of those people that gets super turned on by a well-crafted spreadsheet. If so, you probably already have a killer budget.
But if you hate budgeting or if your spouse hates budgeting, try this out for your next date night.
Host an intimate beer tasting — just the two of you — with a side of spreadsheets.
Here’s how it works: Grab between four and six different brews to taste. If you like a little competition, each of you could choose your own and then do a blind taste test for your spouse. See if they can guess which beer is which.
You can go random or pick a theme — say, all pale ales or all beers brewed within 50 miles of your house.
Of course the way to make this work is this: before you get too tipsy, you gotta pull out your laptops and start creating a monthly budget.
Now, let’s chat for a minute about budgeting. Some people love it, and some people hate hate hate it. Won’t do it. Don’t even mention the word budget. They’ve already left the room.
If budgeting makes you break out into hives, bear with me for a second. This is a fun date night, so it’s not about creating a budget that you and your spouse can stick to with military precision. Or even one that you’ll be updating on the regular.
This is about figuring out whether there’s space in your monthly budget to increase your monthly student loan payments. If there is, that’s awesome. Go straight into The Daily Dolr and increase your monthly autopay, beer in hand.
That’s especially helpful if you have multiple loans. You can put extra towards all your loans at the same time. And if something weird happens, and there’s not enough in your account one month, no biggie. Dolr won’t put any extra toward your loans that month.
Then write an email to your lender making sure they’re putting that extra cash towards your principal.
Finish off your brews knowing that you’ve taken action as a couple to improve your financial future.
Speaking of having multiple loans, have you or your spouse been considering consolidation but putting it off because it’s a tedious task?
Put it on your calendar for this Friday night, and get ready for a rip-roaring time. Okay, maybe not rip-roaring, but at least more enjoyable than your average consolidation paperwork activity.
Grab your favorite dessert — and make it a fun one. This isn’t the time for “nice” cream or a muffin. Here are some suggestions: mini chocolate cupcakes with lots of frosting, strawberries and whipped cream, cherry pie, ice cream with sprinkles.
Now get started with your loan consolidation application with this twist: every time you have to enter a number into a box on your computer, feed your spouse a bite of dessert. If they’re also consolidating, great. You’ll feed each other.
If they’re not also consolidating, then they feed you a bite of dessert every time you have to look up a piece of information.
It’ll feel a little silly, but who couldn’t use a bit of extra silliness in their lives right now?
Once you’re done with the consolidation application, you can decide whether you want to keep feeding each other (maybe you’ve really gotten into it? You’re welcome.) or just celebrate however two married folks see fit.
Pizza with Extra Payments
Yes, you know making extra payments is a good idea. You think about it, but you never seem to get to the part where you’re actually clicking the button and sending the money.
Of course, signing up for The Daily Dolr is the best way to make extra payments without having to think about it. But if you’re not ready to sign up for whatever reason or if you’re already signed up but you want to make extra payments on top of that (go you!), then this date night might be for you.
Order a pizza or two and get cozy with your online banking app.
While you’re waiting for the pizza to arrive, check your loan balance, your current pay-off date, and the amount you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Write those numbers down. Heads up: they’ll probably be depressing.
Hopefully the pizza’s arrival will soothe the pain a little.
Now here’s the fun part. Check your bank account and see if there’s any wiggle room for an extra payment. Can you pay a lump sum of $100? $250? $500? $1000?
I’m not talking about every month. Just today. You could never do it again if you don’t want to. You’ll still save money.
Click over to this calculator to see how much money (and time) you’ll save on your loans by making just that ONE extra payment.
I’m guessing celebrations are in order.
And if you and your significant other love to shop together, now’s the time to get access to Shop & Pay. You’ll get cash-back student loan rewards just for shopping at your favorite stories. A win-win if there ever was one.
Contributed by Katie Taylor.