Paying off student loan debt can be a stressful experience — and the sooner you can get rid of it, the better.
Fortunately, there are several options for how to pay off student loans faster, and some of them can get pretty creative.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to eliminate your student loans more quickly, here are some of the top options to consider.
First, why pay off student loans early?
You may be wondering if it’s worth trying to pay down your student loan debt faster. Even if you can knock a few months off of your repayment, it’ll still take years to achieve your goal.
Here are some of the benefits of getting rid of your student loans early, beyond just the early pay off date:
- Interest savings: For every month you shave off your student loan payments, that’s one more month that interest isn’t accruing on your debt. The faster you can pay off your student loans, the more money you’ll save.
- Cash flow: Eliminating student loan payments from your budget allows you to use that money for other important financial goals, such as saving for retirement or a home down payment, taking a trip with your family, or anything else that’s more important to you.
- Lower debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income ratio — the percentage of your monthly gross income that goes toward debt payments — is an important consideration for lenders when you apply for credit, especially with mortgage lenders. Getting rid of your student loans will reduce your debt-to-income ratio and make it easier to qualify for financing when you need it.
Read More: Here’s How to Pay Off Student Loans Early
7 creative ways to pay off student loans
If you’re looking for how to pay off student loans fast, these options can help you think outside of the box.
1. Use the debt snowflake method
The debt snowflake method involves making micropayments (on top of your regular monthly payments) whenever you get a little extra money. For example, if you host a yard sale, receive some cash for your birthday or the holidays, or receive a small bonus from work, put the money toward your student loans to reduce your principal amount.
2. Use credit card rewards
Cash-back credit cards give you a percentage of each purchase you make back. You can use that cash for just about anything, including making payments to your student loans.
In addition to your credit card’s rewards, you can also sign up for cash-back websites like Rakuten or Topcashback. These websites offer cash back when you shop with their participating retailers online. Depending on how much you shop online, that could amount to hundreds of extra dollars toward your student loans every year.
3. Move to a new place
In an effort to attract new residents, some cities across the U.S. have offered student loan repayment assistance or even cash payments to people who move in.
Niagara Falls, New York, for instance, offers up to $7,000 in repayment assistance to recent graduates who move into a targeted area in the city’s downtown. And the Tulsa Remote program offers $10,000 to remote workers who move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for at least one year.
4. Live abroad
Moving to a country with a lower cost of living can be an excellent way to create space in your budget to put more toward your student loans. This can be a great option if you work remotely and can live anywhere. But it can also be worth considering moving to another country and getting a local job.
5. Become a house sitter
Rent and mortgage payments can make up a large portion of your monthly expenses. But what if you could eliminate them, at least for a short period? Websites like TrustedHousesitters, Care.com, and DogVacay make it possible to connect with people who need someone to live in their home for a short period of time.
In exchange for free housing and a wage, you’ll typically need to take on some responsibilities, such as taking care of a pet. But depending on where you live, you may be able to arrange enough gigs to ensure you always have a place to live rent-free.
6. Participate in medical studies
Websites like ClinicalTrials.gov and CenterWatch provide lists of medical studies that you can join in exchange for hundreds of dollars. You can also opt to donate plasma or your sperm or eggs to medical providers and use the extra cash to pay down your debt.
7. Switch your employer
Many private employers offer student loan repayment assistance as an employee benefit. If you work in the same industry with such an employer, you could get some assistance without having to change much about your career.
Note that there are also federal loan repayment assistance programs for people who work in the military, select health care facilities, and more. Research your options to see if changing jobs is the right fit for you.
Pay off student loans faster with refinancing
Although it’s not necessarily creative, student loan refinancing can also help you pay off your student loans more quickly.
Read More: Student Loan Refinancing
If you qualify based on your credit and income, you may be able to score a lower interest rate than what you have now, which can save you money as you pay down your debt.
Also, if you can afford a higher monthly payment, you can also opt for a shorter repayment term with a private refinancing lender to pay off student debt fast while paying less in total interest.
If you’re thinking about refinancing, take steps to shop around to find the best deal for you. Purefy’s Compare Rates tool can help you do this with multiple lenders in one place — making it easier to compare rates, terms, and other features so you can find the right fit.
As you work to pay down your student loan debt, consider refinancing and other, more creative ways to get there faster. Research your options to find the ones that work best for you and make it a priority to achieve your goal of becoming debt-free.