9 Creative Ways to Pay Off Student Loans

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Check out 9 creative ways to pay off student loans if you’re serious about getting out from under your student loans. These ideas are new for 2020!

We recently published an article on how to graduate debt-free. It was a huge hit. However, if you weren’t lucky enough to do so and are now left thinking “how am I ever going to get out of debt; How am I ever going to get out of debt?” Then this article is for you.

For too many students, the thought of being buried under mountains of student loans is like a depressing tape that plays on repeat in their minds.

Student loans are a big problem. How big of a problem? A $1.5 trillion problem. That’s right, trillion with a T.

Soaring college costs are a big factor in student loan debt, with out-of-state tuition and fees averaging $26,290 per year for a four-year public university and $35,830 for a private college. The average student loan balance per borrower hit a record high in 2018: $35,359. Here are the figures for 2019:

$1.41 trillion Amount of student loan debt outstanding in the United States
54% Percent of college attendees taking on debt, including student loans, to pay for their education
$35,359 The average amount of student loan debt per borrower
14.4% Percent of adults with a student loan
10.8% Amount of student debt that’s at least 90 days past due or in default

What happens to those who don’t even complete their degree, how can they pay off their loans? Even if you did graduate with a degree, you likely are still knee-deep in debt, but we found a solution.

Wacky Ways to Pay off Your Student Loan Debt

A big problem requires creative solutions.

Having a mountain of student loan debt can literally leave you feeling like an elephant sitting on your chest. The anxiety is crippling.

When trying to dig yourself out of debt it can be tempting to lock your student loans away in a cobweb-filled corner of your mind and worry about them later. Pretending it doesn’t exist is only going to make the problem worse.

If you’re serious about getting out from under your student loans, it’s time to get creative.

1. Find a Roommate

Ponying up for rent every month is a big expense. As the old saying goes, “A problem shared is a problem halved.”

Finding a friend to live with you or living in a friend’s spare bedroom is a great way to save on rent and other unavoidable living expenses.

If you’re both students, you just may be able to have some fun griping about how crummy student loans can be.

2. Make Some Extra Bucks Being a Guinea Pig

You often hear people say something like “you can’t put a price on your health.” Well, if you’re short on cash maybe you can.

If you’ve got blood, plasma, or other bodily fluids to spare, you can round up some extra cash by making donations.

Donating blood and plasma are easy ways to make a couple of extra bucks. Donating plasma typically comes with a bigger payday than donating blood.

Just do a quick Internet search, find your local blood bank, and see how much a donation could net you.

Beyond making some extra bucks, donating blood has a huge impact on the world around you. One donation can potentially save up to three people.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, volunteering for medical studies can come with some serious paydays. If you’re in good health, it might be worth being a guinea pig to make some extra money. Once you get in the system, you might be able to turn your spirit of adventure into a nice side gig.

3. Party on the Cheap

For many folks, college isn’t college without the parties. But, let’s face it when you start to add up what you’re spending to go out, partying can cost you a pretty penny.

You don’t have to cut out partying altogether. There are plenty of ways to save some money while still having fun.

Alcohol can be expensive and what you spend on it can add up quickly. Cutting back on the booze is a great way to put some money toward your student loans.

Volunteering to be the sober driver will help you cut back on drinking while making sure your friends make it home safe.

That’s what we call a win-win!

4. Make Some Extra Money Tutoring

If there is a class or subject you to excel at, chances are other folks who struggle with the subject. This is a great opportunity for you to make some money and pay down your student debts by tutoring.

Tutoring on the side can be the ideal job for college students looking to make their bank account a little healthier. You can take on clients around your schedule. And it feels good to help other students succeed.

Teaching anything to someone else is a great way to build your own knowledge and understanding. It can also be a great way to connect and make new friends without the expense of going out.

5. Make up to $100 a Day on a Mock Jury

You can get paid for sitting on a mock jury. It’s a good deal for both sides.

The lawyers get to see how their arguments are received by a group similar to the jury.

You get paid for sitting and listening to interesting stories. Not a bad way to spend the day.

6. Be a Dog Walker

If you’re an animal lover walking dogs and getting paid may feel like a dream job. If you think happiness comes from doggy kisses and wagging tails, then you would be perfect for this awesome opportunity from Rover.

Rover is the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers. They offer a ton of different services to help pet owners give their four-legged buddies the attention and care they deserve when they can’t.

As a Rover Sitter, you can earn up to $100 per week (or more) to help pay off your loans and you don’t need to worry about networking and marketing yourself – Rover does it for you.

If you are interested in earning cash as Rover Sitter, you can learn more here.

You can also do all on your own, your fellow students may not have dogs that need to go for a walk, but they can definitely help you spread the word.

If you pass out some flyers out at your local pet store you might be able to build a serious side gig that you actually enjoy.

7. Start Babysitting or Become a Nanny

If you are looking for some extra cash, few jobs can be as rewarding being a nanny or babysitter. Just like advanced biology, there are a few prerequisites. You’ve got to have patience and enjoy spending lots of time with children.

You may be thinking, “well, I love hanging out with my nieces and nephews, so I’d be a great babysitter or nanny.” Childcare as a job is a little tougher than hanging out with your nieces and nephews.

When it’s your job, you’ve got to deal with all the tough stuff. You can’t just pass them off to another relative when they’re not behaving or wait for someone else to take care of it if a diaper needs changing.

While you’re there, the children are depending on you. If they need anything you’re going to have to provide it, and you may not have any backup.

Think about the worst situation you’ve been in with kids and make it 50% worse, then prolong it for a handful of hours. If you still think you can handle it being a nanny or babysitter might be a good fit.

To drum up some business you could talk to local daycares or other businesses that have events primarily focused around children. If you can rack up some decent experience as a nanny or babysitter, you can really make your resume stand out. Especially if you’re a recent graduate looking to work in the healthcare field or with children.

8. Volunteer with Zerobound

It is a program that partners college graduates with sponsors looking for volunteers. The founder of Zerobound thought of a creative way to help students pay down their debt while giving back to the community.

Students set up an online profile and sign up for projects being offered through the website. These projects can range from tutoring a youngster to helping a nonprofit build a new website, to volunteering to do some administrative work with a local nonprofit.

Once you are selected for a task and the task is completed, the organization sponsoring you deposit money into your account. It is up to the sponsor to decide how much each task is worth to them.

Many students may want to avoid volunteering. But, when it comes time for job interviews, a lot of companies don’t just look at your education and experience. They want to see who you are as a person and what you do outside of work and school.

Volunteering can truly be what puts you over the top it helps you land the job over your competing fellow graduates.

9. Refinance Them

Why should you refinance your student loan debt?  Well, it’s simple to check your rate and by doing so you can save yourself a lot of money. There are a lot of competing student loan companies and that’s good for you. That means you can get the best possible interest rate which can save you a lot of money. The average user saves $18,668 when refinancing.

If you are interested in refinancing student loans, it’s simple to check. Here are our top picks for refinancing student loans. You can get your new rate in under 2 minutes by visiting the site:


$5K to $300K

2.25% to 6.39%

5 - 20

✅ Cosigner Optional
✅ No Origination Fees
✅ No Prepayment Fees
✅ Unemployment Protection

Get Started

refinancing student loans

$5K to $300K

1.90% to 5.25%

5 - 20

✅ Cosigner Optional
✅ No Origination Fees
✅ No Prepayment Fees
✅ Unemployment Protection

Get Started

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

$5K to 300K

1.88% to 5.64%

5 - 20

✅ Cosigner Optional
✅ No Origination Fees
✅ No Prepayment Fees
✅ Unemployment Protection

Get Started


Getting out of student loan debt is never an easy path. While it seems there is no way out, one can always find a way by developing a clear goal and strategy to make it achievable.

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Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs
Brian is the guy behind TopSavings and My Millennial Guide and is a personal finance expert who has spent the last few years writing about how people can save and make more money. He has been quoted in several online publications, including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, MSN Money, AOL, Discover Bank, GOBankingRates, Student Loan Hero, Fit Small Business, Cheapism, SmartAsset, Bankrate, RISE Credit, AllBusiness, Cheddar, Commonbond, Niche, Rewire, Credit Donkey, Debt.com, and more. He uses the free Personal Capital app to manage his cash flow and net worth.