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If you’re one of the people dealing with student loan debt right now and wondering how you’ll pay it all off at some point, you’re not alone. Student loan debt is a major issue affecting millions of Americans. There’s currently over $1.56 trillion of student loan debt in the United States, spread out over 45 million borrowers. The graduating class of 2018 is currently saddled with an average of $29,800 in student loan debt.
Student loans are an issue that’s often prominent in American politics now as well. Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently unveiled a policy proposal to deal with all the outstanding student loan debt, and former President and Mrs. Obama often noted how they were dealing with student loan debt well into their 40s.
Despite all the attention on and challenges with student loans, many people are nonetheless getting them paid off; sometimes, they do so in unexpected ways, too. Here are five creative ways to start paying off your student loans today.
1. Download a Helpful App
If you’re trying to deal with your student loan debt, you should definitely leverage help from the mobile devices you use every day. There are several apps you can use to help you in your efforts to pay down student loans; some of them are even fun. For example, the Sallie Mae app can help you manage your payments on private student loans. Other apps, such as ChangEd, round up purchases you make and then commit the rounded up amount toward your student loans. Finally, if you want to have a little bit of fun while you’re paying off your student loans, Givling lets you compete in trivia competitions where winners gain money they can use to pay off their student loan debt. There are always new apps being introduced that can help you start paying off your student loans, so finding one should be easy.
2. Be the Next Contestant
If you’ve always loved television game shows, you should harness that passion to start paying off your student loans. A game show on truTV called Paid Off allows contestants to compete in a Family Feud-style competition and tackle questions about general trivia, college life, and even their college majors. Contestants win cash they can use to pay off their student loans. So, if you think you have what it takes to win big on national television to pay off your student loans, consider applying to be a contestant on Paid Off.
3. Get a Side Hustle You Love
Working more may not sound like a very creative way to pay off your student loans, but it can be. Instead of picking up a side hustle that closely resembles more work, choose to make money doing something you love. For example, if you enjoy writing, consider becoming a freelancer on an online service such as Upwork. Alternatively, you could start your own website or blog, build a following, and use the revenue you earn from ad placement to help pay back your student loans. Additionally, if you have a hobby you love and are exceptionally good at, such as a craft, you may be able to channel that into a fun, lucrative side hustle to help pay back your student loan debt.
4. Be Selfless and Help Others
Doing well by doing good is one of the best ways to help erase your student loan debt. If you have a propensity for helping others, there are many ways to harness your altruism into a way to help reduce your overall student debt. The Peace Corps, for example, has many programs available that can help defer, decrease, or even eliminate some student loan debt. There are also programs available for public service loan forgiveness, which will forgive some of your Federal student loan debt if you work a nonprofit, a school, or a government agency. Therefore, if you’re looking for a way to help people, check to see if doing so can help you start paying off your student loans.
Paying off your student loans can be a lengthy process. Fortunately, there are many ways to pay down student loan debt, and many of them are quite creative; some are even fun. So, consider the ideas offered here, as well as the more traditional ones, and find a way to start paying down those student loans today.