The Craziest Things People Did To Pay Off Their Student Loans

Some people go to extremes when it comes to saving money in order to pay off a student loan or other type of debt. What some may consider cheap, others consider creative. The following men and women made huge sacrifices — such as skipping out on basic comforts and living in unusual places in order to live debt-free.

A Couple Used Washable Clothing Instead Of Toilet Paper

A Couple Used Washable Clothing Instead Of Toilet Paper

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One couple saved money by using washable clothes instead of toilet paper. Yup, you read that right. This is definitely extreme and a little disgusting (who wants to wash poo-smeared t-shirts?) and we can’t help but wonder how much they actually saved.

Amazon lists a 308-Sheet Mega Roll, six-count bunch of toilet paper for $6.99. It’s got to last a few weeks or a month. Is it really worth the trouble? The couple also burned wood as a heat source, foraged in the wild for edibles, and sewed their kids’ clothing. They wound up paying off $89,000 and saving $20,000 for a house.

This Guy Brought & Cooked His Own Food At A Restaurant While Sitting With His Friends


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A guy named Logan accumulated $35,000 in student debt that he tried to pay off while living with three roommates. He paid his part of the rent and opted not to eat out for two years until he could refinance the loan. One day, he was invited out to dinner. He really wanted to go but didn’t want to pay for a meal.

He brought brisket from home, asked the waiter for hot water, and boiled it at the table while his friends were served their own meals. Logan later felt bad about being so cheap, but after two years he paid off $20,000 of his loan.

One Woman Intentionally Became Homeless & Moved Into Her Boyfriend’s Car

One Woman Intentionally Became Homeless & Moved Into Her Boyfriend’s Car

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A woman named Kristin had a difficult time paying her expensive rent in San Francisco while managing her student loan debt ($4,000). That’s when she became what she describes as “intentionally homeless.” She met a guy and six months later moved into his Toyota Prius. They “camped” in the woods near the city.

She was able to achieve the financial freedom she sought, while her boyfriend was also able to squirrel away enough money to buy a new Prius as well as a sailboat. He did so in cash. Kristin says she wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if she needed to.

This Couple Refused To Buy Each Other (Or Anyone Else) Gifts For The Holidays


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Everyone loves a present now and then, but for one couple it’s a luxury they can’t afford. A man named Richard and his wife tried all sorts of things to pay off their debt, including an at-home haircut that went horribly wrong. They decided to forgo the traditional gift-giving during birthdays, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. Gift-giving at anniversaries and weddings are also off limits.

The couple doesn’t buy each other anything unless it’s investment or real estate related. The pair also decline to go to events that socially “obligate” them into spending money. They admit that they’re going against expected social norms.

This Family Moved To A Bad Neighborhood & Happily Raised Their Kids There


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An alternative to being homeless or living in a car is moving into a less-than-desirable neighborhood. A woman named Aja had over $120,000 in debt, and her solution was moving into the “hood.” The place was so bad that there were bullet holes in the back door. Yet, the place was free, so they decided to do it.

Aja has no regrets about the move. She ended up raising her children there and really loves the community. While many may not have made the same decision, it was the right choice in order to pay off a massive amount of debt.

This Couple Paid $1 For A Car

This Couple Paid $1 For A Car

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One couple was $50,000 in debt, and they took drastic measures in order to pay it off. One of the problems is that they had just one income while the wife, Alice, took care of their infant. They pinched pennies and sold items on Facebook. They also added water to spaghetti sauce to make it last longer (which was not pleasant for the taste buds).

One of their bolder moves was spending just one dollar on a car. That’s certainly a risk because a car valued so low probably has some problems that may cost quite a bit of money down the road.

One Guy Moved To Korea


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You would think traveling to a foreign country would increase your debt, but for one man it helped combat it. This person made a good amount of money teaching in Korea. The company he worked for paid for his rent, and he had very low expenses. As a result, he was able to save a good portion of his salary.

Living rent-free certainly helps when it comes to paying off student debt (or any other types of loans). If you also make a good salary and can live in another culture for a while, it seems like a win-win situation.

One College Grad Rode A Bicycle For Three Years


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A woman named Sarah graduated from college with $23,000 in student loans. She worked full-time as a teacher and refinanced as soon as she could but found all her extra money was going towards her debt. In addition to tutoring after school, she decided to forgo owning a car and rode a bicycle for three years.

This must have been great exercise (and good for her heart). It also enabled her to work on her master’s degree. When she couldn’t ride her bike, she carpooled. When she paid off her debt, she treated herself to a new iPhone.

Some Are Playing A Game Show Hosted By Michael Torpey To Pay Off Their Debt


Photo Credit: Youtube / TruTV

Everybody loves a good game show, so how about one that helps you pay off your student loans? TruTV recently launched Paid Off, hosted by comedian Michael Torpey. Each episode involves three contestants, who are typically in their 20s and 30s, and offers them “the chance to test the depth of their degrees in a fun, fast paced trivia gameshow.”

The series is a bit like Jeopardy. Paid Off will write a check up to 100 percent of an individual’s student loans depending on the number of correct answers the winner gets. Not only will it clear one’s debt, it also sounds like a lot of fun.

Extreme Couponing & Odd Jobs Helped This Woman Pay Off $75,000


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Laura and her husband were $125,000 in debt when he was diagnosed with cancer. A large chunk was due to credit cards and medical bills while he recovered, and some of the debt was due to a few classes Laura took. She decided to take charge and figure out ways to pay it off.

Laura started extreme couponing and worked as a virtual assistant to pay off $75,000 in debt. She also completed online surveys, participated in focus groups, and was a mystery shopper in order to pay off such a large amount. Finally, she worked with a friend as a server at post-funeral receptions.

A Pregnant Mom Worked 60-Hour Weeks & Endured Morning Sickness To Pay Off Her Debts

A Pregnant Mom Worked 60-Hour Weeks & Endured Morning Sickness To Pay Off Her Debts

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A woman named Nicole and her husband did the unthinkable — they paid off $100,000 in student loan debt in just over two years. Nicole was pregnant with her third child at the time and worked 60 hour weeks in a physically intensive job. She’s a physical therapist who must lift weak and sick people out of their hospital beds.

She did all this while fighting morning sickness. She vomited on the way to work and in between seeing patients. She describes the time as “crazy town” but doesn’t regret it because they paid off their six-figure debt.

This Lady Organized Other People’s Garage Sales & Was Debt Free In Less Than Two Years


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Stef went back to school to pursue a new career and graduated owing $6,200 in student loans. She felt guilty for expanding her family’s debt and decided to make extra money by managing other people’s garage sales for a fee. She also got involved in consignment sale tagging services.

Stef enjoyed the work because not only did she pay off her debt, she also often received leftover items from the sales that she could sell online or at consignment shops. No one wanted their leftover garage sale stuff. It took Stef just 18 months to be debt-free.

Some Women Hire Themselves Out As “Sugar Babies”

Some Women Hire Themselves Out As “Sugar Babies”

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Some women use sex appeal in order to pay off their student loans. A woman using the pseudonym Brooke told she was going to be $100,000 in debt after graduating from NYU’s Stern Business School. In 2014, she joined the website Seeking Arrangement, which connects “Sugar Babies” with “Sugar Daddies.”

Sugar Daddies tend to be older, affluent men who pay money to young women to fulfill their needs. That doesn’t necessarily mean the men and women are sleeping together. It’s one way to pay the bills, and Brooke said it’s helpful for those seeking “higher level education without carrying crippling debt around.”

This Girl Did A Side Hustle Within A Side Hustle (Private Swim Lessons) To Earn Extra Money


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Lauren was determined to pay off $28,000 in student loans and $10,000 in car loans. Her daytime job paid just $12 an hour, so she decided to babysit on the weekends for $15 an hour. It still wasn’t enough. That’s when the certified lifeguard decided to teach private swim lessons for $50 an hour.

Lauren earned an extra $1,000 over the summer “doing a side hustle within a side hustle.” Her hard work paid off. It took her just 18 months to pay off her loans, and she was proudly “Debt Free at 23” just prior to her 24th birthday.

One Couple Bought Used Furniture & Started A Blog


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Lance and his wife made some major decisions to pay off their combined $80,000 in student loan debt. They both had good jobs with nice salaries but were frugal with their spending for three years. Instead of buying brand-new furniture, they opted to use hand-me-downs instead. They also refrained from decorating their house and left it sparse.

Lance also started a blog called Money Manifesto in order to pay off their debt. Their combined sacrifices paid off. They were debt-free within three years, and Lance’s blog, initially just a side hustle for extra money, became his full-time job.

This Couple Lived In A Camper For A Year & Were Nearly Hit By A Tornado

This Couple Lived In A Camper For A Year & Were Nearly Hit By A Tornado

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One couple decided to spent nearly a year living in a camper. They had over $50,000 in student loans after graduating from school and thought that minimizing their lifestyle would help pay the bills. They sold all of their belongings and searched Craigslist for the perfect camper.

They put whatever valuables they had left into storage and lived in a camper for 11 months (without air conditioning) in Oklahoma. They endured ice storms and were nearly hit by a tornado, yet they believe the experience was “totally worth it.” Plus, they probably had time to explore a little, which must have been fun.

She Got A Job In Qatar That Paid For Room & Board

She Got A Job In Qatar That Paid For Room & Board

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A woman named Holly had a master’s degree in library science and $60,000 in student loan debt. She went through multiple interviews but couldn’t land a job. So she taught English in Buenos Aires before relocating to Qatar where she became the librarian of a modern art museum.

The company paid for her accommodations and meals for the first three months. She also had a monthly tax-free salary, enabling her to pay large payments on her debt. It took her less than two years to become debt free. She moved to the Bahamas for a while but plans on returning to Qatar with her husband.

This Lady Couch Surfed For One Year


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Nikki graduated from Syracuse University with $10,000 in debt. She got a job in New York City as a software trainer, but it just about covered her rent and not much more. She decided to ditch her apartment and stay with friends. She “pleaded and begged” with everyone she knew for a place to stay for a short period of time.

She also used the website Couchsurfing to find a place to lay her head at night. In addition, she did some odd jobs, such as taking care of pets, to pay off her debts. She has no regrets and advises others to endure the sacrifices in order to live debt free.

This Woman Started An At-Home Cake Business


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Jason and his wife worked really hard and got quite creative when they decided to pay down their debt. Jason worked full time during the week and on the weekends was a remote cybersecurity consultant. Meanwhile, his wife started a cake bakery out of their home. They also started selling their products on Amazon.

With a lot of work and research, the couple grossed more than $100,000 in one year. They kept the momentum going by starting a blog and creating a YouTube channel — both of which generate extra income. They paid off $40,000 in over two years.

He Joined The Military To Pay For College


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One of the reasons Second Lieutenant Trevor Patton, a 2014 graduate of Ohio University, decided to join the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps was because he was offered free college tuition. In order to qualify for that particular program, participants have to take and pass the Army Physical Fitness Test twice each semester.

In addition, OU cadets have to maintain a 2.5 GPA, abide the law, etc. The Army will also provide a monthly stipend, a stipend for books, and boarding. However, you must stay in the military for eight years after graduation. It can be four years active and four years reserve or other combinations.