We know how it feels: Your student loan payment is due, but you’re out of money.
You dread this. Every month when your student loan statement lands in your mailbox or your email inbox, you’re confronted with the eye-popping amount of money you owe.
How are you ever going to pay it all back? More importantly, how are you going to make a payment this month? You’re broke, and you don’t feel like selling your blood plasma again.
How to Get Rid of Your Student Loans
You’re not alone here. Americans collectively have $1.5 trillion in student debt, according to the Federal Reserve. Borrowers with education debt typically owe $20,000 to $25,000, and 20% of them are falling behind on their payments.
Don’t just ignore your student debt. If you fall behind, you’ll just end up owing more money than ever.
Deal with it instead. Here are four ways to get rid of student loan debt faster:
1. Refinance to Save Money
Refinancing could help you pay off your loans faster and save money in the long run.
By combining multiple loans into one, you’ll replace your federal and private loans with a single private loan. Then you have just one lender, interest rate and monthly payment to worry about.
In addition to simplifying the repayment process, refinancing with a company like Credible can reduce your interest rate and lower your monthly payments.
Other companies offer similar services, but we like that the average Credible user saves about two interest points on their current federal loans.
2. Clean out Your Closets
If you’re short on cash but you need to make your monthly student loan payment, don’t get a shady payday loan. Instead, look to the back of your closet and in the depths of your attic or basement. You’ll almost certainly find a bunch of stuff you don’t use anymore.
A lot of people see this clutter and start plotting a garage sale to earn extra money. The prospect is tempting — but a garage sale might not be worth your time.
Try some alternatives to sell your stuff online or in town to earn more money with less hassle. Apps like Letgo and Decluttr make it super easy to sell your stuff without sitting in the front yard and dealing with strangers all day.
3. Start a Side Gig
The typical monthly payment on a student loan is between $200 and $300 per month, according to the Federal Reserve.
Earning a bit more each month can help you cover those payments. Try one of these side hustles:
- Hang out with pups. Rover is an online network that connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners. Rover says sitters can earn as much as $1,000 a month. You can offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service.
- Drive people around. As a partner driver with Uber, you’re an independent contractor. You drive as much or as little as you want. You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you’re under 23 years old) and have a valid U.S. driver’s license.
- List your spare room. Might as well use Airbnb to make some money with it. If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your bank account that way. Airbnb lists guest houses, apartments and single rooms, and you can even list a couch if that’s all you’ve got available.
4. Cut Your Expenses
Maybe you’re struggling to make your student loan payments simply because you’re spending too much money somewhere else. If you’re falling behind on bills, it’s worth taking a look at your budget.
Try these tips to save money on your everyday expenses:
See? You don’t have to sell your blood plasma if you don’t want to. (Not that there’s anything wrong with selling plasma.)
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He has no outstanding student loans, but he has sold his blood plasma to make rent.
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