Housing, Transportation and Food are the 3 categories that should get the most mathematical attention from you, but Student Loans will probably get the most emotional attention from you.
Savings Rate makes up for everything
You're probably wondering if your mammoth Student Loan balance means you’re screwed. You'll be happy to hear, no! You're not! Why? Because we are looking at your Student Loan problem through the lens of how it impacts your Savings Rate and Runway (are you starting to notice the pattern?).
Let's say you have $90K in student loans, and the payment for that loan comes out to $900 a month.
$900 a month is one house hack. You are one house hack away from your Student Loan payment never being a stressor again.
This is just one more example of why Net Worth pales in comparison to Savings Rate and Runway. If you have a shitty Net Worth due to your Student Loans, but a strong Savings Rate and healthy amount of Runway despite that, you’re doing great no matter what your Net Worth is, or how intimidating your Student Loan balance may seem.
A strong Savings Rate will absolutely make up for a poor Net Worth; a little bit of slope makes up for a lot of Y-intercept.
There are online services that can refinance your loan down to the minimum monthly payment, which in turn will have the smallest impact on your Savings Rate. Student Loan Hero has a great comparison tool for different refinancing companies.
"What if I need more schooling?"
If you need to go back to school, you better be sure you're majoring in something that can make you some money. Do an hour of research Googling the highest paying majors, and pick one you are reasonably interested in.
Public vs. private education
Public schools offer basically as good of an education as the Ivy Leagues, at significantly lower cost. The fancy name isn't worth the extra expense most of the time.
You can make a lot of money as a tradesman, and a millions of these jobs are going unfilled because there aren't enough qualified people to do them. Trade schools might not be as "prestigious" as a typical bachelors degree, however you are guaranteed a job after graduation and know you are armed with a marketable skill.
Increase your Savings Rate