How to pay off $80k in student loan debt on a $30k salary

How to Pay Off Student Loans
How to Pay Off Student Loans

With students carrying an average of nearly $30,000 in student loan debt upon graduation according to a report from the Institute for College Access and Success, many are left wondering how they'll payoff their loans. There are numerous repayment options for students. Sorting all of the interest rates, payments and scheduling can be tedious and can add to a borrower's stress if they don't fully understand the details of their loans. Melanie Locket, a blogger at took us through her student loan debt deduction journey; paying off $80K in student loans on a $30K salary. Here's how she's doing it.

1. "I gave myself a debt reality check"
After graduating, Melanie only paid the bare minimum on her student loans. It was only until she created a account to track her cash flow did she realize the severity of the situation. Seeing the numbers in plain, bold print gave Melanie the push she needed to come up with a sound strategy to pay off her debt.

2. " I took control of my finances"
Melanie knew that only she could take control and improve her financial life. She took any extra cash she had and put it towards her debt. Facing $80K in debt, with a $30K salary, she didn't make excuses for herself and found practical ways to stretch her dollars. Living a frugal, minimalist life helped her prioritize her debt and future travel plans.

3. "I worked more, and paid off more debt"
By late 2013, Melanie paid off $16K in debt. With such a tight budget, Melanie say's she owes her big bite out of debt to her side hustle, a flexible side job that that bought in some extra cash. Side hustling also allowed her to learn new skills, test drive a different career and meet new people.

In the past six years, Melanie has paid off $37K, and paying off more than half in less than three years. With $43K to go, she's almost at the halfway point out of her $81K total. Her biggest tip to borrowers is to keep going, stop judging yourself and to trust the process.

Click through the photos below to learn more ways to put more money in your pocket.

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