If you take out loans, start making payments while in school if you can.
"Pay the interest on your student loans while in school because on some unsubsidized federal student loans and private student loans, interest accumulates while you are in school.
So if you don't pay your student loan interest as soon as possible, then the interest will get added to the balance of the loan and new interest will accumulate, compounding the overall amount of the loan," said Nate Matherson, CEO of LendEDU.com.
Once you've graduated, you have a six-month grace period before you have to start paying back student loans. Before that window closes, you should have already visited the U.S. Department of Education's website at studentloans.gov to understand various repayment options and terms for federal student loans. Evaluate whether interest-driven repayment plans make sense.
These plans may help your cash flow since payments are based on your discretionary income and you pay nothing if you have no income. You may also want to consolidate your federal loans so you have a single monthly payment.
Also, "sign up for auto debit and you'll get a slight reduction on the interest rate on your loan," Kantrowitz said. You may also be able to refinance student loans at lower interest rates. Check out online lenders like SoFi.com, Earnest.com and CommonBond.co or go to a student loan refinancing marketplace like Credible.com or LendEdu.com.
Making timely payments will keep you on the right path to paying off your student loan debt.