By the time I finished college, I was $87,000 dollars in debt. $57K of that was student loan debt. I talk about how I ended up in this situation here and how I paid off the other $30K as well. I didn’t want to continue living with this massive amount of debt hanging over my head, so I knew I needed to figure out how to pay off student loans fast.
And that’s what I did….
I paid off $57K in student loan debt in 15 months, so just shy of a year and a half. It took another 9 months to pay off the $30K in credit card debt, and I talk about that here.
Trust me, it can be done, and let me tell you, paying off student loans in full is a wonderful feeling.
I’m not a magician when it comes to paying off debt, so if I can do it, so can you.
Here’s how I crushed my student loan debt and got my life back in under a year and a half.
How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast
If you want to pay off this much debt quickly, you have to come up with some creative ways to pay off student loans or you’ll never get it done.
Some of what I did might not work for everyone, but hopefully, it will give you some insight into how you can do something similar.
I had a four-pronged approach when it came to how to pay off student loans fast. It included:
- Refinancing my loans
- Making ridiculously large payments
- Making a pot load of money without getting a 9 to 5 job
- Cutting my living expenses down to zero!
How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast – Slash Your Interest Rate by Refinancing
Let’s start with refinancing. First off it is important to understand that consolidating student loans and refinancing student loans are two different things.
When you consolidate your loans, you are simply getting one big loan to take place of the multiple loans you most likely have.
The interest rate doesn’t go down, but you usually have up to 30 years to pay them off.
When it comes to how to pay off student loans fast, this isn’t going to speed up the process, but it will lower your monthly payment.
You also still have all of the typical federal loan protections such as deferments if you have federal student loans and not private loans.
This is certainly a choice if you are having trouble making your loan payments, but it wasn’t going to help me when all I could think about was how can I pay my loan off faster!
The thought of paying student loans for 30 years made me want to hurl.
So, instead what I did was refinance my loans. By refinancing, you also get a new loan to pay off your multiple loans, but the interest rate can be much lower.
For me, it knocked 2% off my interest rate which may not sound like a lot, but it really is when you owe a ton of money.
Two of the best companies to check out if you want to refinance your student loans are.
Just keep in mind that if you refinance your loans with a private company, you no longer have the other options of repayment that come with federal student loans.
How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast – Make Ridiculously Large Payments
When it comes to the best way to pay off multiple student loans making large payments that are well over the minimum is the best way to go.
This isn’t always easy of course…
You have to come up with the extra money and depending on your personal situation, that may be tough.
So, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t find an extra $500 or $1,000 or more to pay. Even an extra $100 a month goes a long way.
For me, I was paying a whopping $3,625 a month!
That was the only way I was going to get that much debt paid off plus the other $30K I owed in 2 years which was my main goal.
To do this, I had to find a way to make a heck of a lot more money than I currently was.
How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast – Increase Your Income Like Crazy
Well, sure making large payments sound like a great idea, but where the heck is the money going to come from?
That was a tough question for me.
I didn’t have a “real” job and honestly, I didn’t want to get one if that meant working some horrible, mind-numbing 9 to 5 job, so what to do?
I decided to create multiple streams of income.
The largest one was freelance writing. I talk about how I did that here. This is where most of my income started to come from after a few months.
I was quickly making $2,000 and then $3,000 a month just from this.
Trust me, it was a lot of work, but it was worth it.
I also sold old postcards and bookplates on eBay. A bookplate is a picture in an old book. I sold typed quotes on Etsy, and I started a blog.
The blog, of course, took some time before I saw any money from it, but after about 6 months I did start to see a profit and after a year I was making a steady stream of income from it.
I ended up selling it when I started this one. (If you’re interested in starting a blog, check out my step-by-step tutorial to get yours up and running in just minutes.)
So, I got my income up to around $4,600 a month.
Some months were a little better and some were a little worse, but that was the average.
Even so, that only left me an average of $975 a month to live on and pay my credit card bills.
I did find a way to reduce my credit card bills before I started to pay them off which I talk about here.
This meant I had to eliminate almost all of my living expenses…
How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast – Set Fire to Your Living Expenses
Okay, truth be told, I didn’t get my living expenses down to zero. I mean, I still had to eat, but I got them close.
At the time, I was living in Florida near an area with a lot of wealthy people that like to travel.
I realized that many of them didn’t like having their expensive homes sitting there empty or they had a pet that they couldn’t take but didn’t want to put in a kennel.
I actually knew someone that fit this description, so I started talking to him about house sitting, and he set me up with my first house sitting opportunity.
I looked for people that were going to be gone for at least 2 weeks or more with a month or more as the best option.
You’d be surprised how many people travel for long periods of time…
Anyway, it wasn’t long before I was booked, mostly through word of mouth.
I did what I could to not have a gap between housesitting gigs, which wasn’t always easy, but there weren’t many and when I did have one, I would stay with a friend for a day or two.
By house sitting, I was able to eliminate all housing expenses including rent and utilities.
I didn’t have a water bill or heat bill. I didn’t even have to pay for cable or TV.
Not to mention, I got to live in some pretty swanky houses all around the coast of Florida.
That meant when it came to living expenses the only one I had was food.
I already had plenty of clothing and I actually sold my car (it wasn’t worth too much) which was paid off, to help reduce my monthly expenses.
Living in Florida, I did a lot of walking and bike riding and once-in-awhile public transportation.
Let me tell you, the 2 years (I also spend an additional 9 months paying off credit card debt) wasn’t fun in the day-to-day, but I can’t begin to tell you what it felt like to get rid of all of this debt and come out the other side debt-free.
Now the money I make goes into savings and yes, from time to time I do spend it on something I really want or travel to a great destination, but debt is a thing of the past and that’s what matters.
In the end, the lesson is you can pay off a student loan in full and get out from under your debt if you want it badly enough.
I know what I did might not work for everyone, but I’ve got some other…less extreme…ways if you want to pay off student loans in 5 years or less. You can read about them here.
So, if you’re wondering how can I pay my loan off faster, just ask yourself how badly do you really want to?
What are you willing to give up today to have the life you dreamed of tomorrow?