We have a guest post today from wonderful Sarah, who worked on side gigs based on her talents and knowledge to pay a major portion of her student loan debt. See a live example of how quickly you can wipe off your student loan by doing what you love most.
The student loan crisis is crippling many college graduates – myself included. Through no fault of our own, many people graduate with $100,000+ in student loan debt. Are you one of us? Having money is something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. After all, we’re never taught about managing money in school.
Understandably, we don’t know how to manage our money wisely if we’ve never been taught. And to move forward with living my life, I realized that I needed to make paying off student loan debt a priority.
My name is Sarah Borgelt and here’s my story
To say that I was the stereotypical college student was an understatement. While I didn’t party a lot, I also wasn’t the 100% responsible college student.
I liked to have fun after I did the hard work. While that was great for my mental sanity, it wasn’t so great for my financial health.
In addition to attending a private college, I also rode on both of my university’s equestrian teams. For those not familiar with horses, they’re expensive creatures and horse showing is even more expensive.
I worked part-time through college, but whatever didn’t go toward textbooks, rent, or junk food went toward horses. To say I was irresponsible was an understatement.
I had no sense of money whatsoever or how much debt I was in. But shortly before graduation, reality set in: I had no money, no job, and nearly $27,000 in debt.
To put it mildly, I was in deep trouble.
To fix this, I decided to focus on one problem at a time. First off, the job situation. I started applying for jobs near my hometown in the hopes of finding something near my major, which was ironically financed.
I searched high and low, before finally finding a position at a company I had previously worked at as a temporary associate.
While not ideal because it wasn’t related to my major, the position would provide valuable work experience and potentially an opportunity to find a related position within the company.
It didn’t pay much – only about $37,440 per year or $31,450 after taxes – but it was certainly better than nothing. Next was the second step: finding housing.
Since it was so close to my hometown, my parents agreed to let me live with them until I finished paying off student loans.
Was it ideal? Certainly not.
My family drove my crazy 99% of the time. But was it worth it?
It was worth it to sacrifice some mental sanity now for financial stability in the future.
Doing this would open more opportunities for me in the future and give me the freedom to make decisions without financial worry.
Lastly came the hard part: paying down nearly $27,000 in debt.
I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to pay off that much debt in under a year, but I also knew that I didn’t need easy; I just needed possible.
So just one week after graduation, I began my new job. I knew that it didn’t pay much and gas costs would be about $1,240 per year for my commute.
Because of this, I began searching for additional gigs that might pay too.
By doing google searches online, I found several options – doing surveys, driving for DoorDash or Uber, donating plasma.
But surveys didn’t pay much, there wasn’t a large population enough near me for DoorDash and Uber, and I hate getting stabbed by needles.
That quickly ruled those things out. The next thing I considered was my previous college gig: petsitting.
While petsitting didn’t pay a ton, it would help me make small additional payments here and there.
So I began using the Rover website to advertise myself as a petsitter within the local area. Sure enough, within a few days, I got a request for petsitting.
While moving back in with my parents have been less than ideal, it’s been a great way to save money and pay off student loans.
With just three months on the job, I’ve been able to pay off nearly $8,000 of debt so far. As of right now, I’m on track to pay off loans by this upcoming March of 2020.
It’ll be a long journey ahead, but I’m looking forward to having financial freedom once I get there.
What I learned
The point of my story is that regardless of your profession, you have to take active steps toward financial stability. It’s okay if you’re not where you want to be right now – most people aren’t.
The important thing is to take one step at a time to bring you closer to your goal. You’ve made the right first step by trying to educate yourself on paying off loans faster.
Now write out a list of goals, when you want them to be accomplished by, and how you’ll measure that success. It’s okay if you decide to spend a little money here or there.
The point of budgeting isn’t to prevent you from spending money. It’s financial planning now to provide you with financial freedom in the future.
That’s the first step toward paying off debts.
Next, you need to look at your financial obligations. Can you cut costs somehow? We all want a nicer apartment and a newer car after graduating and finding our first “adult” job.
And it’s okay to want those things, as long as you carefully budget them for the future.
The third step is to find ways to increase income. We all have our hidden talents.
Can you sing?
Offer to give singing lessons or teach people how to fish for a profit. You’d be surprised at the amount of money you can make by doing what you love.
Regardless of how you decide to address your debt, the important thing is to stay positive. You can pay off your debts. Even if you’re taking baby steps, at least you’re going somewhere.
It’s okay to be scared or unsure of yourself – we all are. The important thing is to take those steps anyway.
About the author: Sarah Borgelt is an American author. She graduated from the University of Findlay in 2019 and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in business administration. For more information on her, check out The Money Millionaire Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/The-Money-Millionaire-109173177080269 for tricks to save you money.