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Debt-Free Living

3 Ways to Pay Off Student Loans

Question: I’ve been out of college for a few years, and I desperately need more money to pay off my student loans! Help!

Rachel’s Answer: You’re in a situation a lot of people are in. The good news is adding more income isn’t rocket science. But it will take sacrifice and effort.

Here are three tips:

1. Take a second job.

I know what you’re thinking. Finding one job is hard enough for a new graduate, so how am I supposed to find a second one? But this second job isn’t a career job—it’s a money job. Your goal should be to make as much money as you can as quickly as possible.

One Dave Ramsey fan made $1,500 a month delivering pizzas. After delivery bonuses and tips, he averaged $20 an hour! What about housesitting, baby-sitting, mowing yards, or selling your unused stuff or crafts on eBay or Etsy? You’re only limited by your imagination here. And, remember, when you’re trying to get out of debt, nothing is “beneath” you.

2. Sell stuff.

This one’s easy. Most of us have way too much stuff—clothes, video games, DVDs, purses, maybe even an extra piece of furniture we don’t need. Throw some of that stuff you don’t use anymore on eBay or Craigslist.

Set up an online photo album with prices of each item. You can make pretty good money by just selling your unwanted junk. Then put all of that money toward your debt snowball.

3. Get intense.

Pretend you are a gazelle who is being chased by a cheetah. Those cheetahs are the student loan officers and credit card companies who would love nothing more than to keep you in debt. If you get serious and passionate about getting out of debt, everything else will take care of itself. (The debt snowball works! Here’s why.)

Bottom line: If you keep doing the same things you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting the same results you’ve been getting. It’s easy to sit back and tell yourself, “I’ll get out of debt later, but not right now.” Then, when later actually gets here, you’ll tell yourself the same thing.

There’s no better time than right now. Don’t wait until you’re 35 to get serious about getting out of debt. The younger you are, the more of an impact becoming debt-free will have on your life in the long run.

Use these tips or come up with a few of your own. But, whatever you do, commit to getting out of debt—starting today!

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