5 Crazy Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans

Graduates of Bowie State University put messages on their mortarboard hats during the school's graduation ceremony at the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland May 17, 2013 in College Park, Maryland. First lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement speech for the 600 graduates of Maryland's oldest historically black university and one of the ten oldest in the country. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Content provided by Student Loan Hero

There are a lot of hard truths about student loans, but one of the hardest truths to digest is that most entry-level jobs don’t provide a salary that allows borrowers to make a dent in their balance right out of college, as explained in this article in The Guardian. After working hard to graduate and accomplishing the difficult task of finding a job in one’s field of study, it shouldn’t be as difficult as it currently is to pay back student loan debt quickly.

Despite these difficulties, there are some out of the box ideas that can help you pay off your student loans. If you’re struggling to make your student loan payments from your yearly salary alone, there are many ways to supplement your monthly income. It may be as simple as getting a part time job, such as waitressing or bartending, in addition to your day job. Though this seems like the obvious choice, not many new grads have the time to balance a new career and a part time job with the demands of their busy life as well. Below are five outside the box ways to make some extra cash to put towards your student loan payments:

1. Teach abroad

Though at face value this may not seem very lucrative, there’s an opportunity to save money while teaching abroad. There are a ton of reputable programs, such as CIEE and Go Overseas, that can help prepare and place you in schools in different countries. The positions available offer generous salaries, and expenses are generally low. Some companies even offer housing, allowing you to pocket most of your monthly income. If you’re the adventurous type, willing to make a major change, this may be the option for you.

2. Get a gig in the sharing economy

Dipping your toe, or diving head first, into the sharing economy is a great way to make extra money to put toward your student loan payments. Getting a driving gig with Uber, listing your apartment on AirBnB when you’re out of town, writing reviews, pitches or papers through Fiverr, or even joining CloudPeeps to build social communities are just a few ways to get involved in the booming sharing economy. These “gigs” allow you to create your own hours, dictating how much you work and how much extra cash you can make! The sky is the limit with these opportunities.

3. Go vegan

Often, veganism is thought to be an expensive lifestyle, buying expensive meat and dairy substitutes. However, if you’re sticking to traditional vegetables, grains and legumes, you might find that you’re saving a lot of money! Meat and dairy are typically more expensive grocery products, so by striking these items from your shopping list, you may find yourself with quite a bit of extra money each month that you can use for your student loan payments. Bonus: If done correctly (make sure you’re getting your protein elsewhere) it’s a very healthy lifestyle!

4. Be a pet sitter

If you’re an animal lover, this is your go-to option. The more grownup version of a babysitter, pet sitters can make a nice amount of money by taking care of others’ beloved animals. Let your friends and family know you’re open for business, but also utilize websites like Rover.com or DoggyBnB. You can create a profile and make yourself available to those who need pet sitting in your city. You not only get to hang out with some cute animals, but this extra cash can go right toward your monthly loan payment. Double win.

5. Enter a clinical trial

This option may be a little too outside the box, but there is money to be made by devoting yourself to medical advancements. Some people have relatively noninvasive procedures that require as little effort as giving blood. Check out clinicaltrials.gov to find some opportunities to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars … if you’re willing.

Though these options aren’t for everyone, it just goes to show that if you can be creative with your supplemental income options, there are real possibilities to fund your monthly loan payments outside of your current salary. You’ve just got to think outside the box. Good luck!

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