When you’re in college, making ends meet can sometimes be stressful, even when you have student loans that help pay for tuition, housing and other necessary living expenses. And if you’re like most people, the idea of paying off student loans in college doesn’t feel like an affordable option, much less saving money in school for future loan payments.
But what if there were a few creative ways to pay off your student loans – whether you’re in school or already working – without your free time feeling the impact or making too many compromises?
Here our experts offer several conventional, and some not-so-conventional, approaches to repaying your student debt faster and easier than you ever imagined.
Thousands of clinical trials and research studies are available to people of all backgrounds – and they often pay well for just a few weeks of your time. While every clinical trial may not be ideal for your situation, you could easily find a study that gives you enough extra cash to pay down your debt and help others at the same time. Simply visit ClinicalTrials.gov to see what’s available.
If you have a newer, reliable vehicle and extra time on your hands, you might consider signing up to become an Uber or Lyft driver to earn additional income. The great thing about these services is you can pick up passengers whenever you’re available and wherever you happen to be located.
So, whether you’re out running errands or just sitting at home with nothing to do, you can start accepting rides to earn some extra cash. After you’re done, just turn off the app when you’ve made a few bucks to put towards your loans.
From Uber Eats and DoorDash to Postmates and local supermarkets, there are plenty of ways to start a temporary side-gig as a food or grocery delivery driver. To get the ball rolling, check out each of their websites to see if the service is available in your area, then simply sign up and you’ll be on your way to raking in some extra income. In most cases, you’ll not only get paid for your time and mileage, you’ll also have the potential to make tips on each delivery.
As a current or former college student, you probably developed some fairly advanced writing skills during your time in school, especially if you’re an English or journalism major. Feel like you have strong writing abilities? Then you might consider starting a freelance writing career on the side as a way to make extra dough in your free time.
Right now, countless websites offer plenty of options for legit work as a freelancer, whether you’re in it for a single gig or looking for something long term. Plus, by working as a freelance writer, you may find the career suits you better than your current employment, and it could give you opportunities to make more money down the road as a professional photographer.
Volunteering is usually done in the spirit of philanthropy. But what if you could make money while supporting a cause you believe in? At Sponsor Change, you can search for special projects happening across the U.S., then volunteer your time for $200 or more (up to a maximum of $1,000) to put towards your student loans after the project is completed.
You might be surprised by the number of people who own pets but have a difficult time finding people they trust to watch their pets while they’re out of town. The same can be said about housesitting as well, as many people don’t know who to turn to when they’re leaving for an extended period and don’t want their house to look unoccupied.
You’ll also be interested to know that some students have found so much success as pet and house sitters that they essentially live rent-free by scheduling back-to-back jobs that not only put money in their pockets for loan payments, but also give them a place to live temporarily. As long as you’re trustworthy and can gather some great references from a few clients, you could be looking at enough extra income to pay down your loans and avoid potential credit problems.
Have a knack for semi-pro photography? Then you’re in luck! Shutterstock and more than a dozen other websites pay photographers a fixed amount whenever a stock photo they submitted is downloaded. Pretty simple, right? So, if you’re a shutterbug who is struggling to make ends meet, this is a gig that could help you rake in enough money to cover your student loan payments, and possibly have enough left over each month for other interests.
As someone who’s been in college, you know what it takes to get through the strain of studying and taking exams. If you’re particularly good at a single subject or you’re just an overall great student, you can use your skills to help others through the grind and make a decent income for just a few hours of your time.
Most sites who provide this service will require a somewhat extensive background check and proof of education before you can start tutoring students. However, if you’re ready to get started right away, you might consider posting a local ad and let friends, family and social media followers know that you’re here to help.