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27+ Creative Ways to Pay off Student Loans

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According to the Department of Education, the average student’s loan balance sits at $33,000.  That’s a lot of debt!

While your education is a great investment, at least most of the time, working your new 9-5 may not be fast enough to tackle your debts.  Or, maybe you don’t have a job at all.

In today’s post, I wanted to talk about the many creative ways you can pay off your student loans.  Some of these ideas could throw a few bucks at your balance, whereas other opportunities could pay it off in no time, sometimes even leading to a full-time career.

As with all of my posts, I’m always honest in what I promote, and I would never push something I wouldn’t do personally.

Also, as a last note, this guide is intended for anyone who’s looking to pay off any loan of sorts, whether it’s a personal loan or mortgage.  Don’t just think it’s catered to a college graduate!  It’s for anyone who wants to make some cash on the side or even full time.

With all of that out of the way, let’s take a look at the many opportunities you can take advantage of right now.

27+ Creative Ways to Pay off Student Loans

Refinance

This one won’t require any work, but it could save you thousands over your loan’s lifetime. I would recommend starting with this method first to see what kind of options are out there.

As long as you have a decent credit score, an income (that you can prove) and a history of on-time payments, then it shouldn’t be hard to find another bank that wants to compete for your business.

Whether you have multiple loans or just one, consider using aggregators like Credible.com to see what kind of rate you could take advantage of.  If you like what you see, apply and cross your fingers that you get approved.

Just by knocking off a few percentage points off your interest rate could save you $xx,xxx on the average $50,000 loan.

It only takes a few minutes of your time and can save you a ton of cash.



Online Surveys

I’m a huge advocate of online surveys.  For one, you can start right now and it’s as easy as answering a question.  It’s one of the easiest ways to make a few dollars online.

Now, you won’t get rich in taking surveys, but it’s not too hard to earn $100 to $400 a month if you combine a few popular options.  Personally, I use Swagbucks and a few others and easily earn $250+ a month.  It’s not that hard, I promise you that.

If you want a job you can complete at home and never need to leave the house, then this is it.  You won’t get rich, but it doesn’t feel like work, at least to me.

If interested, these are some of my favorites that can earn you $25+ a month, sometimes much more…

Aside from these popular options, you can check out these 83+ survey companies I reviewed in detail not too long ago.  Again, combining a ton of these can earn you a lot of cash.

Join a Focus Group

In the past, I wrote a detailed guide explaining exactly how you can take advantage of a focus group in your area.

If you’re not familiar with a focus group, these companies will pay you to come in and talk/sample a product for about an hour or so.  In exchange for your time, you can get paid about $50 to $200+.  The only downfall, however, is that you need to fit the demographic, so some people may have more luck than others.  And, you need to drive to the focus group center.

Depending on where you live, you could find one or two focus groups a month, but it all depends on how aggressive you are in your hunt.

For now, start with the most popular focus group job portals, such as FindFocusGroups.com and FocusGroups.org.  These websites do a great job staying up to date with focus groups in your area.

Earn Money Driving

If you own a car and don’t mind putting it to work, there are so many great ways to earn money on your own time.

From delivering food to acting as a taxi, I promise there’s something for you, no matter where you live in the United States.

I did write a very detailed post, where I talked about the many companies that pay you to drive.  But, in short, if you don’t want to read it, I would check out DoorDash, Grubhub or UberEats if you want to deliver food and/or Uber or Lyft if you want to drive people around.

Depending on where you live, it’s not too hard to gross $15 to $35+ an hour.

As there are so many factors involved, as well as some trial and error, it’s hard to give a definite price.  But, let me tell you from personal experience that this is one of the best ways to make money on the side.

Fiverr

I have mentioned Fiverr so many times, such as in my how to make $100 fast and get paid to draw posts.  It’s a wonderful platform that has a lot of potential only if you’re offering a service in demand.

Let me tell you how it works if you’re not familiar with it…

In the past, Fiverr was a platform where you could list a service for $5.  That has since changed, and you can list your service for almost any price now.

As long as you can offer your service virtually, you can create a service to offer.  From writing articles to editing pictures, you can do almost anything. 

The only downfall with Fiverr is that you won’t make money right away.  Instead, you will have to market yourself and may even need to work for a cheaper price to build your client base.

Honestly, Fiverr deserves its own post, so for now, I highly recommend the very popular book, The Fiverr Master Class.  It’s a book that teaches you the secrets of the powerful six-figure sellers.

Out of all the options I list, this one has the most potential to make you the most money, so be sure to at least check it out.

Freelance

Similar to that of Fiverr, consider freelancing.  It can take some time to build a client base, but when you start proving yourself and gathering positive reviews, this could really turn into something special.  The only difference, in comparison to Fiverr, is that you can use any platform to promote your services and even bid on jobs.

On this site, I have written about freelancing so many times, particularly in one of my favorite posts, the best paying weekend jobs.  And, as you can see there are so many topics to consider if you don’t know where to begin as seen in this graphic…

Again, freelancing can take some time, but as you prove yourself and promote yourself on the right platform, you could soon find yourself with more work than you can handle.

For now, start with the most popular freelancing platforms, such as Upwork and Freelancer, to see what kind of jobs you can bid on right now.  To get started, it’s best to bid low to at least build a reputation and have a better chance of getting your bid accepted.

Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)

The Amazon Mechanical Turk platform, commonly known as MTurk in the money-making community, is a great way to make some cash in your spare time online.

Now, you’re not going to get rich with this platform, but if you get good enough with it, you can make a few hundred a month, sometimes much more.  It greatly depends on how much you work.

In using the MTurk platform, it will be your job to select small tasks that you want to complete.  Most of these tasks take seconds to complete and pay a few cents each.  That number doesn’t sound like much, but it’s not too hard to complete hundreds in an hour, especially if you find an easy task to complete.

MTurk does have a learning curve, so for now, I do recommend the very popular MTurk forums, such as MTurk CrowdMTurk Forum and the MTurk subreddit.  In studying these forums, it can help you better understand how the platform works as well as which “HITs” are worth your time.

Highly consider this option if you want to work at home at your own pace and only need a few hundred dollars a month to throw toward your student loans.



Task Rabbit

Task Rabbit is another website/app that I have mentioned quite a few times, such as in my how to make money in one hour post.

In short, Task Rabbit is an awesome app if you want to go around town and earn cash doing just about anything.  From picking up groceries for someone to assembling furniture, you get to choose when you want to work and what jobs you want to take.

“Taskers” are known to make well more than $20 an hour, which isn’t too bad for gig work.  To learn more about the app, you can do via this link.

Download an App

There are a TON of apps that can earn you money in your spare time.  From answering survey questions to mystery shopping in a way, it’s not too hard to earn $50, $100 or maybe $200 a month in your spare time.

I have written so many guides on the best money-making apps, but in short, some of my favorites include Field Agent, Gigwalk, and Job Spotter, to name a few.

Check out the post linked above or even use the search function as I have a ton of app-related guides, teaching you everything you need to know about ways to make money with your phone.

Transcription

As long as you can type more than 50+ words per minute and are comfortable in typing what you hear through a headset, you may want to dabble with the online transcription industry.

From typing meeting notes to captions for a show, this side gig could wipe away some of your student loan debt as the average part-time transcriptionist can earn $200 to $500+ a month, even much more if you go full-time.  Of course, this number greatly depends on the company you work for.

If you like the idea of typing what you hear, then you may want to consider one of these 75+ companies or even reference to my very popular post, get paid to type, to see how you can get started.   I did all of the dirty work for you, helping you find the best companies online.

Etsy

Do you consider yourself crafty or creative in a way?

If so, consider listing your items on Etsy, the internet’s #1 handmade marketplace.

From crafts to clothing, as long as it’s handmade, you may want to look into it.

Keep in mind that the platform is quite competitive, but to stand out from the rest, I would start with one of these many highly-rated Etsy books.

Sell Unwanted Stuff

Right now, I want you to walk around your house and gather up all of the things you no longer need.  This is sort of a one and done way to make money, but it could net you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars.

If you want to sell on your own, then start with the most obvious options such as Craigslist, the Facebook Marketplace or even eBay.  These options can get you the best bang for your buck.

As for other specific items, I have created some detailed guides, highlighting niche sites that want to buy your items on the spot and/or act as a marketplace for targeted buyers.  These posts include my LEGOs, shoes, CDs, wedding dress, clothes, DVDs, and textbooks, to name a few.  I encourage you to check these out as they can all help you sell just about anything you have laying around the house.

Rent out Your Home/Room

If you find yourself away from home, consider renting out your house.  Even if you’re home a lot, then renting a room out can earn you cash, too.

And, no, I’m talking about finding a long-term roommate.  Instead, you can use powerful platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway or even VRBO to find people who only want to rent out your house/room for a few days.

Depending on where you live, you could make more than $100+ in a night, a sum that can go a long way to tackle your student debts.

Mystery Shopping

I have mentioned mystery shopping many times on this site, particularly in my how to make money playing golf and best entry-level work from home jobs posts.

Mystery shopping is an awesome way to get out of your house, explore some local retailers and get paid to “shop.”

From buying a product and analyzing how a customer interacts with you to taking a picture of a bathroom, there are so many jobs that you can complete, many of which pay anywhere from $5 to more than $50+ per job.  Plus, you get to keep whatever you buy!

To learn more about mystery shopping, I do recommend you check out my very popular mystery shopping companies guide.  In this, I cover more than 75+ companies that are willing to bring you on board right now.

Mystery shopping can easily net you a few hundred dollars a month, sometimes much more, but it will greatly depend on where you live and how often you work.  This can be said about any of the options I have listed here.

Sell Your Pictures

Did you know there are multiple platforms out there willing to buy your photos?  And, no, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to be considered, either.

Some of the platforms act as a marketplace, wherein you post your photo and wait for a sale, whereas others may buy it outright.  It just depends on who you’re working with.

This topic deserves its own post, so thankfully, I wrote more than 20+ companies that will pay you for your pictures.  Be sure to check it out to see how much you could make with your photos.

Pet Sitting

Do you love pets?

If you have any experience or even want to get started, then let it be known that there’s a lot of money to be made in pet sitting, walking, etc.

It’s yet another topic I have covered in depth in the past, so I encourage you to check out both my dog sitting jobs and dog walking jobs post to learn more about the industry.

Babysitting

Kind of like pet sitting, only that you’re watching a human instead.

Babysitting isn’t just designed for teenagers as some parents often prefer someone older, especially someone with a college degree.

To find parents in your area who need a sitter, consider the most popular babysitting job portals such as Care.com and SitterCity.

A good babysitter can make north of $15 an hour and lead to some steady part-time work to help tackle your student loans.



House Sit

Don’t want to watch a dog or a kid?  Well, that’s fine as you can watch someone’s house as they are away.

In some cases, you may get to stay at the house for some time in exchange for watching it, while some owners will pay you to perform smaller chores while you’re there.

Homeowners around the globe are looking for house sitting right now, many of which can be found on the very popular website, TrustedHouseSitters.com.

Online Translation

Know more than one language?

If so, consider offering your talent to the many online translation companies.

From translating documents to a conversation, a good translator can easily net $20+ an hour.  It greatly depends on the language you know.

If interested, refer to a post I wrote in the past where I talked about the many reputable online translation companies hiring today.

Tutoring and/or Teach English

If you recently graduated, then you are already a step ahead of many who are searching for a job online as some opportunities, such as tutoring and teaching English online, often command a college degree.

From teaching English overseas online to tutoring in a subject you’re passionate about, a good tutor can earn up to $75+ per session.  Refer to those linked guides to see which companies are hiring right now.

Tutors and ESL teachers are always needed.  Again, as long as you have a college degree and feel you can pass a subject knowledge exam, then this is one to consider.

Teach Abroad Instead

Rather have a full-time job and you’re struggling to find something in the states after you graduated?

Consider teaching abroad instead.

In this case, you will teach English in person, and the company will often pay your rent, salary and even a flight back home once a year.

To find this type of work, TeachAway.com and GoAbroad are both great resources to start looking.

Medical Research

One creative way to pay off your student debt relies in medical research.   Depending on which study you partake in, it’s not unheard of to make thousands.

Yes, it’s another topic I wrote about in the past, outlining the steps you need to take in order to find a reputable study.

Donate Plasma

Local plasma centers are willing to pay you up to $25+ a week if you’re willing to donate your plasma.

It’s just like donating your blood, only that you get paid.  As long as you don’t fear needles and have a center near you, this is a very easy way to make $150+ a month if you show up weekly.

Be a Friend

This is one is quite unique, but it works.

The website, RentaFriend, will pay you to be someone’s friend for the day.

Of course, they will have to choose you as a friend, but it offers a fun way to potentially earn $100+ a day just for hanging out with someone else.  Check out my RentaFriend review to see what it’s all about.

Join the AmeriCorps

This one is a bit extreme, but in going this route, it could shed off thousands off of your student loan balance.

The AmeriCorps is network of community service program, often in places that need help meeting critical needs.  You can search the official database to see what kind of jobs are available.

In volunteering your time, you may be able to qualify for a loan forbearance, which means you can pause your student loans and receive a “Choice of Education Award” after one year of service.

Start a Website

Out of all the options I mention here, this one could take you the longest to earn money.  In fact, it could take months, maybe even a year before you see a few dollars a month.

I know, this sounds like an awful way of making money, but let me tell you from personal experience that you can make some great money once your blog takes off as it’s truly one of the best ways to earn a passive income in today’s economy.

Learn how to start a website and capitalize on it can take its own book, so for that reason, I’m going to link to other FREE authoritative resources that I have used over the years.  These include Authority Hacker, the Ahrefs blog, QuickSprout and the guys over at Income School.  Take some time to check these guys out as you can learn a lot for nothing.

Again, it will take some time, but I promise you it will pay off HUGE dividends in the future.

Teach a Course

This one is similar to that of creating a website in that it will take some time to see some money roll in.  However, if you’re patient and are willing to invest your time, then you never know what the future will behold in terms of passive income.

In teaching a course, it can be on anything.  From teaching photography to growing a garden, think of anything!  Preferably, it should be something you’re knowledgeable about, of course.

When you think of something, write up some guides, create some videos so that your student leaves your course feeling like they are an expert.  If your course if good enough, your reviews will show, which means more customers in the future.

If interested, consider some of the larger platforms, such as Udemy and SkillShare.  These websites already have the buyers; it’s just up to you to provide the course.

Final Thoughts

No matter how much you owe on your student loan statement, it is possible to throw a few extra bucks in using some of the strategies mentioned above.  Even if you earn $20 a month and apply that extra amount to your principal, it can save you a lot of interest over the years.

Aside from making extra cash, be sure to create a budget and make some financial sacrifices until that loan is gone.  Debt is never good, of course, and can disappear quickly if you take the right steps.

For now, take a glance at the many ideas I put out there. I know there’s something for you to take advantage of.  Much like a job, just work hard at it and see where it can take you as some of these opportunities can earn you quite a bit!  Who knows?  Maybe you can turn it into a full-time gig.

As always, if I’m missing any options and/or you simply want to vent/comment, you’re more than welcome to do so in the comments below.  Best of luck!

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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