5. Prioritize your loan payments: As you budget, you may find yourself forgoing activities or events to pay off your debt. For Pitt graduate Norcross, his upcoming payments have already taken precedence over major decisions as he plans to avoid default, he says.
"My student loans are affecting my life. The plan was for me and my girlfriend to move to D.C. by now, but I just can't do it—it's not financially feasible for me," Norcross says. "My student loan payments are probably No. 1."
[Consider the positives of student loan debt.]
Prioritizing may also mean minimizing other forms of debt or, if possible, chipping away at student loans before tackling other types of debt.
"Student loans are one of the few debt obligations that are rarely forgiven in bankruptcy filings," notes Michael Scott, director of scholarships and student financial aid at Texas Christian University. "In a worst case scenario, you will be better off if you've reduced non-dischargeable debt first."
6. Focus on the future: If you find you're scrimping or sacrificing to make your monthly student loan payments, it may help to remind yourself what you're paying for.
"I really value the education I got, and I got a good job, so it paid off," NYU graduate Mitnick says. "Right now it seems like a lot, but in 10 or 15 years ... it will be worth it."
Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.