Paying off student loans are a real concern for many people out there. Many people accumulate massive amounts of debt just to obtain a bachelors degree. Unless you went to some Ivy league school or have a degree that is high demand, you more than likely are not making over 40k.
Establishing a budget is the key to really making this happen. First create a journal, write down and track everything that you spend. If you have and Iphone there are tons of good apps to help you budget. I had to figure out how much money I was taking home, after taxes, Insurance, 401k, etc. I figured out that it wasn’t much money. Next, I had to really establish what I was spending my money on. Of course everyone will have their necessary living expenses like gas and electric. Many people will also have unnecessary expenses like premium cable packages, smart phones with data plans, simply things you can live without. Sure, there are luxuries in life that make life better, but that is for you to determine for yourself. Figuring out what you can live without is the key. I did not need a cable plan that had every movie channel and HD. I saved $50 on this alone. When I was at work I was on a computer and when I got home I had 3 computers that I could use. Did I really need a data plan for my 30 min commute? Well I saved $25 without the data plan. So what else was I spending my money on? I spent about $200 on clothes and another $400 on going out. I did not realize this until I kept a disciplined journal of what I was spending. In realty your not going to cut out everything, but you know there are some areas where you can realistically save. After really figuring out where my money was going I was able to apply an additional $200 dollars toward my student loans.
The best way to avoid having this kind of debt is to be preemptive. Working at a major bank I had so many kids coming to me trying to get private loans to pay tuition. Many of them where only in their second year of school. They really made bad decisions in choosing their schools. First figure out can you really afford to go to the school that you want. In many cases it makes sense to go to the local community college for the first few years and really decide what you want to do. Maybe you should stay in state and not go out of state where you will pay much more. I Know going to college can be one of the most exciting thing things in a young persons life, but figure out what you can really afford.