Student loans can be a great resource for helping you get an education that you might not have been able to afford otherwise, but the crushing debt that can often ensue might sometimes seem hardly worth it. While student loan debt is a serious problem, most of whose causes are well beyond our realm of control, there are a few things we can do on our end to make sure we manage this debt and make our lives a little easier. We’ll talk about a few of the ways you can make managing your debt something that’s as easy and automatic as brushing your teeth when you wake up every morning. You’ll see that with the right kinds of strategy and planning, student debt can actually be a lot less of a problem than it’s often made out to be.

1) Don’t Forget About It

One of the biggest problems with student loan debt is that students are quick to take out their loan and then go about their semesters, excited about the fact that they can effectively forget about the loan until six months after graduation, which is years away, anyway. This isn’t a good habit, however, and by avoiding it you can make your student loan debt a lot easier to handle. Keep it in mind all throughout your college, and make sure you’ve got a plan in place, so that you can be using the most of your income or financial benefits to make the loan easier on you when you wind up having to pay it back.

2) Feed It When You Can

If you find yourself with excess income, put whatever you can afford to into your student loan. It’s best to go ahead and pay that sort of thing off ahead of time, if you can. Don’t deny yourself any special college opportunities so you can start paying off your loan — by design, these are supposed to guarantee that you don’t have to worry about them while you’re studying for your degree(s). But if you can remember to toss towards your loan any extra money you might happen to come into, then you’ll only be helping yourself in the long run.

3) Consolidate

If you’ve got multiple loans, you might be able to consolidate your debt. This is something that’s more effective if you look into it later on during your higher education, and is especially useful if you’ve taken out more than one educational loan or financial benefit.

4) Come Up with a Plan

There’s no reason you can’t start saving up for your student loan debt early on. This is especially effective if you’re just now taking out your student loans. Put in place a plan that sees you allocating a certain part of your income each month to your student loan savings fun. Even if it’s a relatively insignificant amount, you might be able to accrue a pretty hefty chunk of change by the time you’ve finished your college education.

5) Make More Than the Minimum Payments

If you can afford to make more than the minimum payments, you’ll be able to avoid some of the interest you would have accrued by leaving the loan active for a longer amount of time. This is a great way to not only pay your loan back faster, but also to pay less money for it. Whether you’re studying for your masters urban planning or a creative writing degree, these tips will help you deal with student debt easily.