How to Pay Off Student Loans

Get the strategies, tips, and testimonials on how to pay off student loans fast!

Raise your hand if you have ever asked yourself this question…how am I going to pay off my student loans? Now, put your hand back down if you really raised it. The quick answer to your question is may more money and pay extra. However, that all depends on your situation. 

The real question we should probably be asking ourselves is, “How do I pay off my student loans FAST?!?”

And sometimes the answer to that question is sorta like solving the issue of working out. We all know WHAT to do, but it can be an issue of starting a plan and sticking to it. Paying off your student loans isn’t that much different, it just comes down to your means and finding an appropriate starting point. 

But what are your options?

There are plenty of options out there when it comes to paying off your student loans. 

You can refinance your student loans, consolidate, pay them off, pay minimums, act like you don’t have them… the list goes on, just like we know more exercise is better for our body then no exercise. 

However, that being said it is not always easy. Student loans can be super tricky. Personally, I have come to understand a few things about paying off student loans:

  1. Most people don’t have 6 figures of student loans
  2. Most people don’t blog about student loans and have an in-depth understanding of student loan
  3. Our parents did not have student loans so their advice when it comes to them is pretty much obsolete in most cases
  4. Our grandparents don’t even know what a student loan is and thought our college was free

Basically, most people are completely baffled by student loans. Should I do this, oh I heard this, etc.

So that is why I decided that today would be the day to give you 15 Creative Ways to Pay Off Student Loans! Some I have tried. Some I have not. But all have been used at one point by someone. Enjoy!!

15 Creative Ways to Pay Off Student Loans

1. Tuition Reimbursement Programs

One of the simplest ways to quickly pay off your student loan debt is to take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs and jobs.

When looking for jobs, find ones that offer tuition reimbursement when making your final choice. Sometimes less pay with tuition reimbursement is actually more pay in the long run, crunch the numbers.

When crunching the numbers, factor your net pay, not the base salary, and make sure to read the fine print when it comes to the contractual agreements for tuition reimbursement.

Look into public service forgiveness if you are a teacher, nurse, or public service worker in a low-income area. However, be aware of PSLF program as many candidates are denied each year.

If your current job offers reimbursement, it is essentially free money. On a side note, if your current company does not consider asking if they would be willing to. Believe it or not, with such a demand for talent in the workplace, if you are good at what you do consider asking for tuition reimbursement.

2. Round-Up with Apps

With automation set to take over the world, why not let it take over payments for your student loans?

In addition to automatically having your student loan payments withdrawn each paycheck, consider using apps like Qoins to help expedite your student loan payoff.

The Qoins app allows you to set it up so that after each purchase, whether it is gas or groceries, rounds up to the nearest dollar. The difference is then applied to your target financial area, in this case, student loans. Learn how it works here.

3. Pay Extra Every Month

Maybe not the most creative, but one of the most effective ways to pay off student loans is to just pay extra each month towards the principal.

Figure out the desired amount to pay and each time you get your paycheck if you don’t like using automatic apps, manually pay the desired amount towards a targeted student loan.

When paying extra each month, make sure the payment is targeted at a specific student loan – don’t spray your income. The simplest way is to focus on the smallest student loan and then work your way up the ladder.

4. BYOB

Pocket flask… Check.

Free mixer… Check.

Do as you please, but the world of $5 beers and $8 shots is just too much when you have student loans.

Entertainment drains most millennial’s budgets as it is. Using a flask and getting really good at BYOB can help you save immensely every time you go out on the town!

If you want to go out frequently AND you want to pay off their student loans, well you need to have a solution. BYOB is that solution… something has to give.

Next time you hit the town have a few before you go out and bring your pocket flask! Always drink responsibly, you have student loans to pay off.

5. Use a HELOC

Equity is an asset. However, it is a dormant asset unless it is leveraged, which in most cases means selling a home. So if you have intentions of staying in your first home for some time, consider using a HELOC to payoff student loans.

This is seldom talked about or even used concept, that can really make a dent in student loan principals.

Leveraging equity is not as “risky” as it sounds and it is a great solution for people who are both homeowners but also have significant amounts of student loans. Factors involved include positive net cash flow and equity. To see if you would qualify.

6. Rent a Room

If using a HELOC to pay off student loans isn’t in your new future, but you already own a home, rent a room to pay off student loans.

One of the quickest ways to pay off your student loans and to make an extra $5,000 per year is to simply rent a room. While finding the ideal roommate might take some time, ultimately if you decide to go this route consider using the income to pay off student loans.

Just imagine what an extra $500-600 per month in addition to your student loan minimum payment would do to your student loan balance.

7. Sell Your Car

Car manufacturers know college graduates getting their first job are several weeks (or months) away from getting their first significant paycheck.

Knowing this, the marketing powers that be encourage new graduates to get the brand new car they “deserve.” However, besides the fact that brand new cars are depreciating liabilities, they mess up your debt to income ratio and hurt cash flow.

So if you bought a car after college, consider downgrading for the time being. Sell your flashy car and drive something affordable and within reason. Use the net profit and the extra cash freed up each month by getting a lower payment to attack your student loans.

An extra $100 per month saved on a car payment is $1,200 annual that can go towards student loans.

8. Use Your Tax Return

One of the simplest ways to pay off student loans fast is to use a cash windfall approach.

In most cases, a cash windfall comes in the form of an annual tax return. Inheritances, gifts, wedding presents are also forms of cash windfall options, but tax returns are most applicable.

Instead of saving or even worse, spending your tax return, use it towards your student loans. Pretend you never got a tax return and take 100% of the tax return and throw it at a specific student loan principal.

9. Refinance a Portion of Student Loans

Got multiple student loans? Is one, in particular, killing you but you don’t want to take all of your student loans into the world of privately backed student loans?

Consider refinancing one student loan and avoid consolidating all of your student loans so you can be purposeful with your cash flow. Read my full review of refinancing with Penfed Student Loans.

Just make sure when you consider refinancing your student loans that you still have a payoff plan and you are aware of the pros and cons of federal vs private student loans.

10. Be a Fecal Donor

Not kidding.

In fact, my wife (who is in the medical field) said she has had patients who have had fecal transplants. In some states, you can mail your poop and get paid for it. It is actually used to help people with severe conditions that require fecal transplants… yeah, I will leave it at that.

11. Bartend or Cater

Need some quick cash? Consider bartending or working as a caterer on the weekends.

Uber was a great option for quick cash, but the wear and tear on a person’s car are not worth the money people are starting to figure out. However, working as a bartender or caterer is a great way to meet people and make some serious side cash.

With tips, some bartenders and caterers walk away with an extra $300+ on the weekends. Just make sure to use the cash towards student loans and not other stuff!

12. Dog Walker or Dog Sitter

Paying off student loans means having more money to do so. What is a better way to make money then to walk some dogs?

While some people make a full time living out of walking dogs, see if you have a neighbor or two who need you to walk their dog before or after work. Charge $10 for a 10-minute walk, which is a deal for them and you.

An extra $200 per month to walk someone’s dog for them can go a long way when it comes to helping you pay off your student loans. If you don’t want to ask a neighbor, become a walker on Wag.

13. Tutor Kids

Tutor kids for side money. Earn anywhere from $14-22 per house with VIPKID which is a web-based English tutoring program for kids in foreign countries.

The cool thing about tutoring online is you can do it before or after work and it is flexible around your schedule. Just tutoring 5 hours a week can result in $100’s of dollars per month to pay off student loans.

And… you are helping educate the world :)!

14. Avoid Income-Based Repayment Plans

If you don’t know what an income-based repayment plan is then just disregarded this. Why would avoid income-based repayment plans (IBR) be considered a creative way to pay off student loans?

Well, that is because IBR plans do not put most people in a position to actually pay off their student loans. They are actually designed so that individuals can afford their student loan payments.

What most don’t realize is that the majority of their payments are going towards interest and may not even be scratching the principal student loan debt amount. Tread lightly when using IBR programs and review #3 above if you are using income-based repayment plans.

15. Room Share

This is different than #6. Room share refers to renting a room from someone else or splitting rent with a friend.

While having an apartment to yourself with granite counters might seem tempting, it is also an inflated way of living that really is not helping your student loan problem. Instead of paying $1200-1800 per month in rent, consider renting a room or basement.

Just by cutting your housing expense by a 1/3 can provide the income to pay off your student loans quicker. Over the long haul, you will then be able to improve your DTI ratio and look into homeownership quicker.

Creative Ways to Pay Off Student Loans Takeaway:

At the end of the day what you decide to do with your student loans depends on you and your goals. 

If you’re looking to start a family, buy a house and travel – it might just be worth getting your student loans knocked out and over with. Even if that means sacrificing some short term fun and travel in the meantime. 

Get creative, start with extra payments each month, and challenge yourself to pay your student loans off by a certain date. For more creative student loan pay off strategies and a step by step workbook, use this guide here. 

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