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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!


  • Mike Saporito

    You are exactly right, Rachel. Especially on starting now and building momentum 🙂 There’s power in seeing progress – even if it seems “small”. Thanks for all the work you do and the message you share.

  • Natalie Adkinson

    My student loan is the last debt left in our snowball. We have been selling things over the past month and I have already made over $1100!! Too bad Murphy has paid us a visit or we would be well on our way to paying off the student loan! Now, we need a new HVAC system. 🙁

  • Haddie

    Work from home options:nIf you’re crafty or a DIYer & have a lot of supplies – check out GuideCentral. If you become a ‘pro maker’ – you get $7 for ever accepted tutorial you send. I get $56 a week extra doing this program … Paying down bills!nOr check out ODesk. nLots of options on there!

  • Rachel Elliott

    We send every spare dollar as often as possible. Even if it is just $20 or $50. The quicker you send a payment the less time the interest has to build and the more of that payment goes towards the principal balance. n

  • Erika

    Do you have any for someone that has a large student loan debt and the company will not accept little payments? My debt is very large and they will not accept small payments. They want a large down payment and large payments monthly or they will not work with me.

  • Studentdebtyikes

    That’s great if your student loans are on the smaller end. What if you graduate Dental/Medical school with almost a half million in debt? What suggestions can be made in this situation? Selling some stuff on ebay won’t do much.

    • John DeLisle

      No but you have a bigger shovel as well. What if you lived like a college student out of school for a few years? How much could you pay on that debt? The problem is people think debt is a fact of life. Born, pay debt payments, pay taxes, death. When you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired you’ll pay it off. Get intense and don’t live like the prototypical doctor right out of medical school.

    • Nicole S.

      You gotta really cut back on lifestyle expenses. Sell that BMW you thought you had to have just because you’re a doc. Wait till you’ve paid off your loans to buy the big house. If you’re making $150k a year or more, live on $50k and throw the rest at your debt. Doing that will pay off $500k in loans in 5 years (or less). That’s a lot better than paying exorbitant loan payments for 20 years or more.

    • Studentdebtruiningmylife

      Same here. I’m in that much debt from dental/medical school and I don’t make 6 figures. I’m working everyday. After I pay my tithes, bills, malpractice ins, disability insu, health ins, taxes, I’m broke. I have nothing extra to add to my snowball! Getting a second job is like impossible bc my body takes a toll after working in my career..I don’t own a fancy car, big house, big practice, don’t eat out at fancy restaurants, I live well below my means

    • Marci447

      Have you looked into the National Health Service Corps? I served for three years and got $80000 paid off my loans.

  • Ashley

    I paid off an extra $7500 this year by applying the monthly payment on loans that I have already paid off onto other loans!

  • chloe

    what is the debt snowball