19 Creative Ways To Pay Off Student Loans

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  • 19 Creative Ways To Pay Off Student Loans
Author: Joseph Reinke, CFA

I recently wrote an article on how to pay off student loans fast.  In that article, I chastised other articles that simply say things like “make more money.” I then provided nine real actions anyone can take.

In this article I’m going to highlight creative ways to pay off student loans.  Most of the following deal with ‘making more money.’  I also provide creative ways to pay off student loans that involve behavior action items you can take.

Creative Ways To Pay Off Student Loans: The List

1. Pay off high interest rate loans first

There are many ways people try to get creative to pay off student loans.  However, one way dominates in regards to efficiency.

Targeting the high interest rate loans with prepayments firsts saves the most money and reduces the repayment time.

2. Pay off low balance loans first

This is not as efficient as paying of the highest interest rate loans first. However, it works from a behavioral stand point.

People tend to continue with an action the faster they see results.  By targeting the low balance loans with prepayments first, you will feel like you are accomplishing more.

Therefore, studies show that this method produces good results because people continue with their financial plan instead of quitting.

3. Coordinating salary and benefits when married

Getting creative with benefits is a huge way to get ahead financially.

I often see married couples that both get a salary and have benefits such as health through their employer.

However, there is no need for both spouses to have health care benefits.  Therefore, one spouse can have benefits while the other gets paid more by being a 1099 employee.

For example, I have met many physical therapists who have a spouse that receives benefits from their employer.  They can easily be PRN or 1099 at a cash pay clinic and get paid way more than if they accepted a salaried position.

Warning… If you do this, you just have to make sure you’ll get the hours needed to make it worth your time.

4. Travel employment

This does not apply to everyone but we see this opportunity with many health care professionals.  Nurses, OTs, and PTs can make significantly more.  In addition, they receive a tax-free stipend.  This extra cash flow goes a long way.

Check out this podcast with Kyle to hear how he travelled and used creative ways to pay off his student loans.

5. Home health

This also primarily applies to health care professionals.  Home health jobs pay significantly more. Many think this is a creative way to pay off student loans.  However, before going this route, you must analyze if you will get enough hours.

For example, we see many people located in Florida get paid a lot because of the high demand from retirees.  However, we see many home health employees struggling to get 20 hours a week in many other locations.

6. The debt chain

Speaking of behavior, Ashley paid off $220k in student loans in 4 years.  Her creative way of paying them off involved a debt chain.

She made paper chains and linked them together. Then strung the chain around her house. Every thousand dollars she paid off, she’d remove a chain.

Our podcast with Ashley was published three years ago. I still receive emails from people telling me they paid off their loans and they used the debt chain after they listened to Ashley’s interview.

7. Work more

This seems simple but many people don’t even try it.  They constantly look for things outside of their profession.  I get this. I mean not everyone wants to spend 60 hours a week doing the same thing.

However, a little sacrifice in the short-run will payoff greatly in the long run.

8. Side Hustle

The hardest part is not doing a side hustle but figuring out what to do.  Below is a quick list that we’ve seen people leverage their experience to make extra money:

  • Edit podcast: I.e. reach out to podcast that you listen to and offer to edit them. Once you know how its fast and easy. Plus, you may learn how to launch your own podcast.
  • Industry blog articles: Look for blogs in your profession.  Then offer to write articles for them for a small fee.
  • YouTube: Pick a niche and start putting out videos. It will take time but eventually you may start generating ad revenue.
  • Trading and Investing: I’m not a huge fan of this one because in my opinion, to do it right is a full-time job…
  • Courses: Yes the market is flooded with courses. However, if you do something that is really good people will buy.
  • Blog: If you pick out a niche, you can still make a good amount of money blogging.  It will take time to build but can pay off very well in the long run.

Get creative with this one.  Now days with the internet, anything is possible.

9. Part-time with benefits

I’ve been seeing more and more companies offer benefits to part-time employees.  This means you can work 20 – 30 hours a week and get businesses to pay the really expensive benefits such as health care.

Then you spend 10 – 20 hours a week working on your side hustle or be an independent contractor for another company.

My wife, actually does this.  She is part-time for a hospital and then works 1099 for private clinics.  Her gross pay between the two is 40% more than if she was only full-time at the hospital.

10. FitBUX

Yes, shameless plug time.  Build a profile at FitBUX and build a plan.  We’ve helped 12,000 people.  We’ve found a way to save more money for everyone we have spoken to.  This includes people that already had a plan in place!

11. Monetize a hobby

My mom is majorly into scrap booking.  Therefore, it would be easy for her to set up a YouTube channel and/or blog on scrap booking.  Then use affiliate links and advertising space to monetize.

12. Monetize chores

The cool part about the internet is that you can use it to monetize anything. This includes creatively monetizing everyday chores.

For example, I do a lot of yard work.  Therefore, my wife has begun recording videos and posting blogs about common yard work items.

How it works… I buy a lawn mower and demonstrate various ways of cutting grass.  That is one article/video.  Then I sell the lawn mower and buy a new one…. Repeat four or five times then write an article about the best lawn mower.  From there I use an Amazon affiliate link or affiliate partnership with the company and make money.

13. Monetize products you use

Almost all companies these days have referral or affiliate offers.  Plus, people love to buy things their friends recommend.

Therefore, you can get these offers and post them to your social media accounts or send them out to friends via email.

Word of advice. Don’t spam your friends. They won’t like it.

14. Move to high income low cost location

Its not just earning a lot of money but how much you have after expenses.  This may be hard to research.

However, FitBUX just launched a new cost-of-living calculator that is included in our membership.  You enter an expected income and any zip code in the country.  We then compile thousands of data points and show you an estimate of your living expenses.

Therefore, you can make an informed decision that maximizes your finances.

15. Teach con ed

This isn’t available to everyone. However, if your profession requires con ed then this may be easy money for you.  You can either create your own program or teach in a ready made program.

16. Quick start with others content

Many people don’t want to start a blog or video. I don’t blame them. It’s a lot of hard work starting from scratch.

Therefore, don’t start from scratch.  There is a lot of content out there you can piggy back off of.

You can look for other blog sites or videos.  Then state the same thing, give that author credit, and then add something to it so its your own.

You can critique an article or video.  Nothing wrong with this.

However, I like adding to articles. For example, you state what the original author said and support it. Then add an additional information.  This gives you the ability to link to them and contact them. They may then reference your article.  It’s a great way to meet people and gain exposure to your content very quickly.

17. Gig economy

Got free time?  Uber, amazon, etc… all need drivers.  You can leverage your assets, like your car, and make a little extra money.

You can also get creative with your residence.  I know a lot of people that list their apartments on AirBNB when they leave for the weekend.

18. Credit card cash out

We buy stuff every day.  You should get points for that. Then take those points and cash them out instead of buying more stuff.  Then you take the cash and use it to pay off your student loans debt.

This isn’t necessarily creative, it should be common since now days.  Where people fail is they use the points to buy more shit. Don’t do that.

19. Credit card game

The last idea to creatively pay off student loans is to play the credit card game.  That is, opening up new credit cards, spending money on them, then getting the bonus points.  Then cash out the points and use it to pay off debt.

However, be aware, this could hurt your credit score in the short-run. It could also increase your credit score in the long-run.  Therefore, have a good strategy in place when you do this.

By Joseph Reinke, CFA

Joseph Reinke, CFA

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About the Author

Joseph Reinke is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter Holder and founder of FitBUX which has helped over 14,000 young professionals on their journey to financial freedom. Joseph has been personally investing since he was 12 years old.

In addition, he has experience in student loans, mortgages, wealth management, investment banking, valuation, stock trading, and option trading. He has been on 100s of podcast and has been invited to 100s of universities to discuss financial planning with their soon to be graduates.

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