If you’re like most recent college graduates, you’re likely facing some amount of student loan debt. While you’re likely trying to pay it off in anyway you can, including your own side gig, there are some more unconventional ways to repay your student loan debt you may not have thought of.
If you’re willing to be a little brave, move, or at least work during some of your free time, these unconventional ways to make money will help you pay off your student loan debt even faster. Some of these ideas may be a little risque, but read on to see if any of these unconventional ways to pay off student loan debt will work for you!
Move to a Cheaper Area
One of the best ways to reduce your cost of living, and thereby pay off your debt faster, is moving to a cheaper area. Not only will you save money on things like auto insurance (living outside of a big city is cheaper than living in a big city), but you may also save in transit and living costs.
Obviously, this is only possible if there’s work in that more affordable location, but it’s possible to find popular yet affordable locations around the US. Check out this guide by Forbes on affordable places to live – you may be surprised to see some popular cities on this list!
Volunteer for Clinical Research Studies
If you’re healthy and don’t mind people poking and prodding you, consider signing up to be a lab rat! The National Institutes of Health, a medical research center, offers healthy participants the opportunity to participate in medical research studies. The best part about this, besides helping researchers find cures or improvements for illnesses, is you get paid for your time and trouble.
Reputable clinical studies will inform you ahead of time about all the risks associated with the particular study, so that you can make a choice whether or not to go ahead and continue with the trial. Compensation can be very generous, depending on the amount of time required for your participation. Another company that offers paid clinical research trials occasionally is Focus Pointe Global.
Get Paid for Your Company
Depending on your comfort level and current marital status, you could consider selling your time to a high bidder. Note, I said time, not encouraging you to do anything more!
In case you didn’t get my allusion, you could earn extra money by seeking an arrangement through SeekingArrangement.com – where “beautiful people” fuel “mutually beneficial relationships.” Basically, sugar daddies. Guys, you’re not left out: find your own cougar at one of the many sites for older women looking to meet younger men.
Jokes about sugar daddies and cougars aside, some people genuinely do want the companionship these sites offer, and they’re willing to pay for it. Some people have lost spouses early due to unforeseen illnesses or accidents and simply want someone to go out with them to the movies or for dinner. If you’re comfortable with this idea, go into with an open mind – but listen to your instincts if you feel like they want more!
Ask for Money
While not the most tactful way to pay off your student loan debt, you could just ask people to give you money for holidays and birthdays. These people will likely be your parents and other relatives, if you have a generous family that gives you gifts during the holidays.
It’s not easy to ask Aunt Edna for cash during the holidays, but if it’s between that and another knickknack you’ll never use, you or your parents could gently encourage Aunt Edna to write a check, give cash, or give you a gift card for something you’ll actually use, like to Target or a local grocery store. You’ll have to be willing to be bold and ask for this ahead of time, but you may be surprised at how easy it is to convince people to give you money in lieu of gifts!
When People Shop, Have Them Donate to You
If you have family members that do a lot of online shopping, encourage them to sign up for a rewards program like SmarterBucks.com. SmarterBucks allows people to donate their shopping credit to paying off your student loan debt. SmarterBucks.com is similar to Ebates.com, except any time your relatives purchase something through the SmarterBucks portal, you’re rewarded with a deposit into your designated student loan repayment plan.
Ruthlessly Cut Your Spending
If you can’t move from an expensive city, where your job is, to a cheaper city, get ruthless about cutting your expenses. By reducing how much you spend, you’ll be able to divert your savings directly to your student loan debt.
You can negotiate almost everything, including your cell phone bill, auto or home insurance, and cable bills. Not getting anywhere by renegotiating your current plan? Consider cutting the cord entirely! You can drop down to a cell phone plan from Republic Wireless, which is much cheaper than Verizon, Sprint, and even T-Mobile.
Harry has already covered how to play chicken with your cable company (and possibly get something free out of it in return!), so if you have cable, try this tactic to get your monthly bill reduced or get something for “free” in return for being a loyal customer. It can’t hurt, and you may end up saving more than you expected!
Cash in Your Rewards Points
If you put the majority of your spending on a credit card and pay it off diligently, you may have a decent number of points saved up. If you have a cash back credit card, consider using those rewards points to pay off some of your student loan debt. While it’s not the fun way to use your rewards points, it is “free” money, money that you wouldn’t normally have and likely wouldn’t miss. By regularly applying your rewards points to paying off your student loan debt, you’ll have your debt paid off faster, which means more money (and points!) to spend on things you really love!
Pick Up Pennies
Change really adds up! If you do pay in cash, you’ve probably accumulated a significant amount of change. It may look like a small amount, but if you collected all the loose change around your house, wallet, spouse’s purse (or your purse), and possibly even in your pants’ pockets, you might have a lot more money than you expected. Use Harry’s advice to redeem your change and not pay a fee with CoinStar machines to get the biggest bang for your pennies. While you won’t be able to use that money directly for your student loan debt, you can take the money saved from your gift card and apply it to your student loan debt!
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Some of these ways to pay off your student loan debt faster are certainly more unconventional than others, but all are good ways to get started on your student loan debt repayment journey. What unconventional (or conventional!) ways have you pursued to pay off student loan debt, and would you try any of the methods outlined here?