I paid off my student loans in one year. I paid off a little bit over $30,000 and when I did it, it didn’t occur to me that it sounded as crazy as it did. Because of that, I developed (and continue to develop) myself as a financial coach, helping others unlock what’s already in them, because I firmly believe we all have the capacity to pay off those dreadful loans. Whether it be through making 120 qualifying payments via a student loan forgiveness program or developing a strategy to pay them off, I believe it’s possible. In my reality, I did it, so you can do it too (assuming you have student loan debt).
With that being said, I know the value I bring when I speak in a room or write articles, so I want to list off some tips and tricks that helped me throughout my journey.
1. Increase your income!
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. There’s power in repetition so there’s that. One thing that helped me during my journey was coming to terms with the fact that one source of income was too close to none. When you look at the word “one” and “none,” both of those words are very similar, besides an addition of one letter, but that’s besides the point. A way you can increase your income right now is looking around your house right now and selling negotiable items that have to go.
It’s funny, because I did this during my journey to generate quick cash, and since I’ve been talking about it recently and consistently with my clients I decided to do it again. I’m literally about to meet up with someone to pick up $40 for an old PlayStation controller I’m no longer using. Imagine I continued letting the controller sitting in my house collecting dust? Imagine I continued letting my other items sit in my house collecting dust? That would be a lot of money I could potentially put towards my debt. Because I don’t have debt anymore, I’m going to continue selling negotiable items and will use the money towards my investments.
Once you’ve exhausted that, another quick thing you can do to increase your income is going on Etsy and looking at any items you desire. Once you find something you would like to sell, list it on Facebook Marketplace and as soon as someone buys it, you ship it to them with the money they paid you. Obviously you have to account for your profit margins. For example, if it’s $10 on Etsy, you can resell it for $20 for example to account for shipping expenses. As you come across customers, maybe you’ll close the deal for $18, but make sure you still profit, and most importantly, do NOT be greedy. Remember, do not have an emotional tie to money, and that brings me to my next point! I like you, so I'll give you one more tip!
2. Commit to the fact that money is a TOOL.
Money is a logical concept, but a majority of people operate with it emotionally. Money is a tool that is used to create more money! It’s that simple. Like negotiable items disguised as non-negotiable, a lot of people love hoarding their money or saving it, which is counterintuitive. You may think that saving money is making you money, but if we account for inflation, that’s not the case. For example, let’s say the value of the dollar drops by 2% each year, but your money only increases by 1% each year. In this scenario, you’re down 1% or -1% so it makes more sense to USE your money to grow itself.
During my journey, I wish that I took this into consideration more, but I can tell you and help you out. My journey was only one year, so it wasn’t as bad, but when we talk about typical student loan journeys which can last for many years, you’ll want to be investing your money in different resources. If you’re going to save money though, one thing you can do is put it in an account like Discover Savings or Ally Savings which offers 10x the APY of typical savings accounts, where your money is guaranteed to be stagnant. But, I still say invest that into different sources, such as your 401K, Roth IRA, investing in stocks, etc. Although your money can decrease based on the market, you’re better off going this route to grow your money, depending on how risky you decide to be. The main theme with doing this is committing to the fact that money is simply a tool USED to acquire more money. Acquire money, but most importantly: USE money.
I know that analysis paralysis is a thing, so I just wanted to offer a couple tips and tricks I know will be powerful for your student loan debt journey, if you apply the information! I promise you increasing your income will significantly shed off time spent paying your student loan debt (given your money management is where it needs to be of course) off and you will thank me later. Additionally, reassessing the way you look at money will effectively help your journey as well. When you can logically look at money as a tool, the student loan lenders will fear you, because they can no longer take control of your emotions, and you’ll understand that this is all a game and you’ll win each and every single time! Good luck!