5 Ways to Tackle Your Student Loans with a Low-Paying Job

by Sean Bryant on November 28, 2017

Student Loans With Low Paying Job

For many young adults, student loans are a necessary part of getting a good education. But a good education doesn’t always translate to a higher salary. Lots of people have to work with lower-than-desired incomes: like if you’re fresh out of school and still gaining experience, or in an industry like education that doesn’t always have a high payout.

Having a low-paying job doesn’t have to mean dealing with student loans for the rest of your life. Here are five strategies for paying off your student loans when your income is tight.

Cut Your Expenses

Just because you’re out of college doesn’t mean you can start living like a millionaire. The best way to create more wiggle room in your budget for your student loans is to slash as many expenses as possible. That means living with roommates, eating ramen, and giving up Netflix (yes, really).

There are lots of people who have done creative things to free up more money in their budget. Carpool with friends or coworkers to cut down on gas money, grab your coffee at work instead of making it at home, or get your haircut at a discount by a student at a styling school.

Start a Side Hustle

Working a full-time job may seem like enough, but if you really want to make a dent in your loans, one of the best ways is by increasing your income. That means finding a part-time job or side gig that you can do in your free time.

You can almost always find a side hustle that matches your interests. For example, if you’re artistic, you can sell your artwork on Etsy or through local artisan shops. If you’re athletic, try your hand at being a fitness instructor or coach a local recreational team. If you’re tech-savvy, there’s no shortage of projects for freelancers on sites like Fiverr or Upwork. Use your side gig as a way to make income while doing something you enjoy!

Consider Refinancing

If you feel like your student loan interest rates are holding you back, refinancing may be a good option. With progressive lenders like SoFi, you may qualify to refinance your loans at a lower rate – sometimes less than half of your original rate! Choose a lender that will take into account more than just your credit score to get the best refinancing offer. Most traditional banks will fall short, so don’t be afraid to go with a lender who’s newer and more progressive.

Depending on your situation, refinancing may also simplify your life by giving you only one monthly payment for your loans. Having just one payment to deal with can make a huge difference in reducing your stress and helping you track your progress towards your goal!

Sell Your Stuff

You don’t need as much to get by as you might think. Gather up your books or CDs and take them to a secondhand store that will pay you cash. Sell furniture you don’t need on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. For everything else you can sell, eBay’s usually a good choice.

If you want to take this strategy to the extreme, try locating free or extremely discounted items in your area and then reselling them to make a profit. This may be more time-consuming than taking on an additional job, but for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, it’s like a high-reward scavenger hunt!

Dedicate Your Tax Return

It’s easy to get discouraged, but remember that every dollar adds up! Even if you can’t make more than your minimum payment through the year, a low-income job almost always qualifies you for a nice chunk of change when it comes to tax season.

Make a plan to funnel your entire tax refund into your student loans every year, and you’re bound to see the long-term progress. This strategy works best if you make a lump-sum payment on a single loan, rather than dispersing it across all of your loans. Knocking off even your smallest loan can greatly reduce the amount of stress you feel from your loans, even if you still have a long way to go.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let your paycheck define your self-worth. Your real worth is always going to be more than whatever you have in your bank account. Even if your job doesn’t pay as much as you deserve, a positive attitude will go a long way as you work to achieve your goals and tackle your student loans.

When you are early in your career student loans might make your budget feel very tight. Here are five tips to help you with your student loan payments even if you have a lower paying job. #StudentLoans #Debt #MakingMoney

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.

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