13 Unconventional and Wacky Ways to Pay Off Student Loans


“How will I ever get rid of this debt?”

This thought is a recurring character in the book of my mind and one that can often send me down the rabbit hole. My imagination starts to wander and I try to think of quick fixes: Should I sell an organ? Become a stripper?—and other morally and legally questionable options.

Not my proudest moment, and yet, I doubt that I’m alone in these kinds of thoughts. I’m sure some weird schemes have crossed your mind when trying to devise a plan to get out of student loan debt as soon as possible.

The good news is there are ways to pay off student loans that don’t require you to compromise your life or your morals—ways that go far beyond the “cut out lattes” or “move back in with your parents” advice that we so often hear.

If you’re wondering how to get out of student loan debt, here are some weird ways to pay off student loans:

Live Unconventionally

We all know that rent can be one of the most expensive chunks taken out of our budgets. This is especially true if you live in a big city. When I lived in New York, even with a roommate, I was paying $800 per month in rent. It’s hard to get ahead on your student loan payments when so much of your budget is allocated to rent.

Some experts recommend that you move back in with your parents. If you’re like me, that is absolutely not a feasible option. Luckily, there are other unique ways you can live rent-free or have super-low rent.

1. Move far away and teach abroad: I have a friend who made very good money teaching in Korea. His rent was paid by a company and his expenses were very low, so he pocketed a lot of their salary each month. Imagine if you could live rent-free, have a decent salary, and experience another culture, all at once? This option is great for the adventurers out there.

2. Live in other people’s houses and watch their pets: If you’re up for the challenge and don’t mind moving around, being a pet sitter and/or house sitter can give you a place to stay for free, in exchange for a little bit of work (Pros: pooch pals and cuddles. Cons: dog poop). I have yet another friend who actually does this—she pays no rent and moves from house to house each week. If she doesn’t have a booking, she stays with friends for a few days. If you’re interested in doing this, even just for a few months, check out DogVacay, Rover, Care or TrustedHousesitters.

3. Become a vagabond and live rent-free by working in a hostel. Many hostels have work-trade opportunities where you work part-time and live for free. Living the dream! Privacy not included.

4. Turn your ride into shelter. This option is a bit extreme, but people have done it before. You can live rent-free by living in your car. Obviously, this comes with a unique set of challenges and isn’t for everyone. You might want to contact Pimp My Ride first.

5. Join the tourism industry. Many seasonal jobs at tourist hotspots can offer good pay and lodging. Look into opportunities to work at a ski resort or during fishing season in Alaska.

6. Build a Tiny House. Who needs personal space anyway? Save money and embrace the tenets of minimalism while paying off debt. Just make sure that when you hang out with friends, you meet up at their place.

Cut Out the Extras in Your Food Budget

As a young adult, food and drink can play a major part in your budget. It’s a common way to socialize with others and celebrate. Not only that, but we each have our own food preferences that can hike up our budget quickly.

If you’re curious how to get out of student loan debt ASAP, consider making these bold moves:

7. Go Vegan. It’s no secret that meat and dairy can be expensive. I have no problem spending $8 on a block of fine, delicious cheese. But if meat and cheese are ruining your food budget, consider going vegan. If you go this route, be sure to get your protein and B12 from other sources.

8. Or just cut back on meat and dairy. I’ve personally cut back on eating cheese because of the cost. (sad face)

9. Go on a No Booze budget. We all know that drinking has us consuming a lot of empty calories, but it can also be sucking up a lot of your money. Depending on how much you drink, you could save hundreds of dollars each month. Your liver will thank you, too.

10. Bring a flask. Maybe you don’t want to cut out alcohol completely, but you still want to save money to pay off debt. Consider bringing a flask with you when you go to bars or are out with friends. After all, alcohol is much cheaper to buy at the store than at the bar. That’s what Joe Mihalic did to help himself pay off $90,000 in seven months.

Do Your Part for Modern Medicine

If you’re wondering how to get out of student loan debt, you’re probably thinking of ways you can make a lot of money in a short amount of time. One way you can legally do this is through modern medicine.

11. Be a medical guinea pig. One weird way to make money is by participating in medical research. You can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars by taking part in weird research studies. Find studies on ClinicalTrials.gov.

12. Sell your blood plasma. By donating your blood plasma, you can make some extra cash and help save a life. Each donation center has set rates, but you could make a few extra bucks to pay off debt.

13. “Donate” your eggs/sperm. Women who meet certain requirements can make thousands of dollars by donating their eggs. It’s not an easy process, so you’ll definitely be earning your wage. Donating your eggs could get you $5,000 – $10,000 per donation. Unfortunately men get a much smaller amount; however, there is also less work involved. Men can expect to make $35-$50 for every donation.

These weird ways of making money and getting out of debt can significantly cut down on your repayment term. Of course, these options are only for those who are adventurous, open-minded, and sick and tired of their debt to the point where they want it gone, yesterday.

Have you tried any of these options? What other weird ways to pay off student loans would you add to the list?

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