• In total, Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.
  • Here, a

Student loan debt is a big financial burden for many people. In fact, Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, according to data from the Federal Reserve

While some may find themselves forced to defer or default on your student loans

There are two primary reasons to pay down your student loan debt in a reasonable amount of time, Maizie Simpson, data and news editor at Credit Karma, told Business Insider via email.

"The first has to do with interest: The longer you draw out your repayment period, the more interest you'll end up paying," Simpson said. "The second reason is that the longer you have student loan debt, the longer you might put off big life decisions or making investments in your future, such as starting a family or contributing to a 401(k)."

When it comes to paying off your student loans, no matter how intimidating the debt amount is, making an actionable payment plan is key. Here, Student Loan Hero

1. Know what you owe

Student loans are a huge source of stress

National Student Loan Data System

2. Triage your student loan debt

income-driven repayment planlosing a job

3. Assess other financial considerations

4. Get — and keep — your living costs in check

spending

5. Decide how much to put toward student loans

create a spending plan you will actually stick toDIY

6. Make extra student loan payments each month

7. Target high-interest student loans first with the debt avalanche method

debt avalanche method

8. Refinance certain student loans

9. Put any windfalls or raises toward your student debt

side hustles

side hustle

10. Pace yourself and stay motivated