From my own frustrating experience, I must tell you how I learned the painful truth that nothing is ever “quick” or “over night” when it comes to money. I spent an awful lot of time trying to figure out how long it would take me to pay off my student loans based on different on different variables. Once I settled on the more realistic scenario and saw that it would take me 5 years to pay everything off, I refused to accept how much time it would take me. I just didn’t want to and I wanted everything to happen faster.
There are no shortcuts to paying off debt or saving money. Sorry.
I’ve already done all the googling and the reading of all kinds of blogs in desperate search of that holy grail shortcut. Doesn’t exist.
How Long Does It Take To Pay Off Student Loans?
Honestly, the answer to this resides in the own specifics of your particular situation. Such as, loan amounts, interest rates, terms, and if you’re paying any extra on them. What I can tell you some of what I had to give you an idea.
When I started, I had $45,000 of combined student loans with a minimum $400/month payment. In my calculations, I decide that I could reasonably come up with an extra $300/month to put towards my loans – for a total of $800/month. With that cadence, I was on track for a 5 year pay off assuming nothing changed and that’s all I could ever pay.
Once I found my groove with everything, I was able to successfully find even more extra cash each month for my loans and I successfully paid off my loans in a little over 2 years.
How Can I Get Extra Money For My Student Loans?
In the words of Professor Moody to Harry Potter in the Goblet of Fire, “I don’t show favoritism, me. I’m just going to give you some good, general advice. And the first bit is —play to your strengths.” Despite how you might feel about your talents, we all have strengths that I bet if tried hard enough, we could generate some side hustle cash from it.
For myself, I marketed myself as a portrait photographer and started taking on clients to do engagements, weddings, and other portraits. It was almost shocking just how many people started coming out of nowhere asking me if I would be willing to take their photos!
Then, to my greatest astonishment, people started asking me if built websites. Because I had built my own website to display my photographic work, it was assumed that I knew what was doing. Haha! Okay – I don’t want to understate myself there. I in fact have a bachelors degree in web design and development and know how to build websites… but at this point, I had no real experience building websites for clients. But, I couldn’t say no… I said yes to every opportunity to earn extra money.
Find something you can earn money at, and then start putting yourself out there. As you earn that extra money, put it towards your loans. Suddenly, you’ll be exceeding your original expectations.
You have to understand that paying off debt is a marathon, not a sprint. No matter how badly we might want it, when it comes to money, it just takes time. Just like in a marathon, we have to take water breaks so we can keep going. Just like in a marathon, there are fast runners and slower runners – the pace you keep is up to you, just be consistent and I promise you (from my own experience), you’ll reach the finish line faster than you think.