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Getting a job will help you deal with student loans and student debt, but there are other things you can do – and should know about.

After years packed with beans on toast, leftover pizza and weekday nights down the bar, the real world comes to bite students where it hurts the most – their finances.

Thankfully for UK graduates, they only have to start paying back their student loans and debts once they earn a significant amount that allows them to do so; unlike our American cousins who are forced to pay back rather quickly, with or without a job.

So, how can recent graduates in the UK, and specifically Bristol, deal with their student debt? Here are the top suggestions.

Get a Job

The most obvious answer is to get a job and have a regular income which allows the student to pay back what they took to be trained up. Thankfully, there are a wealth of job sites in the UK that cater to graduate jobs and programmes, including Jobrapido. A quick search for jobs in Bristol will bring up plenty of grad schemes, management programmes and medical positions.

Once you have a job, remember to start saving money by opening a savings account with reasonable interest rates. ISAs are often recommended to get the best bank deals.

Be Smart About Repayments

It may seem like quite a controversial statement, but there are strong arguments for never making any voluntary contributions. At current, the rules state that students must pay back a proportion of their salary over a certain threshold (depending on when you graduated).

However, voluntary contributions are not obligatory, and for low to mid-level income earners, this means they can save some money. Lots of graduates have not found a lucrative job since graduating, and many never look like becoming top earners. Due to student debt being wiped after 30 years, this means many students will never fully clear their debt, and voluntary contributions are a waste of money for these students.

Use Your Student Know-How

Another fantastic tip is to keep living like a student even when you have an income each month. This does not mean you can still party three nights per week, but it does mean live on a modest budget and try to save money whenever and wherever you can.

All these savings will help you make repayments when you also have bills, rent or even a mortgage to pay as well.

Start Freelancing

Just because you take a gap year in Asia doesn’t mean you can’t still work for people in Bristol are in other parts of the UK. Today many different freelancing platforms allow you to work per project for businesses all over the world.

If you studied in graphic design, are a coding wizard or know how to edit photos, there are ways to create a side gig while travelling or looking for your first grad job.

Student debt isn’t going to go away – not for 30 years at least – so doing what you can to make it a little easier is a student-smart choice.

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