David Augustine was just another guy, working two jobs, living off instant noodles, and struggling to pay off his student loans. He had even gone into default.
Then he scored a record contract (under the alias Dee-1) and used the money to pay off his student loan debt. Now, his song detailing his debt journey, “Sallie Mae Back,” has amassed more than 5 million hits and countless numbers of shares and likes in its first month alone.
Part of the success of this viral song is the story in itself. Paying back your loans is no easy feat — but it’s something millions of young Americans are attempting to do. In fact, One Wisconsin Institute found it takes graduates an average of 21 years to pay off their student loans.
But, as Dee-1 proves, there is hope. By making your payments diligently, you, like the upstart rapper, can pay off your loans. If you need some inspiration, “Sallie Mae Back” is a good place to start. Round out your loan payback inspiration playlist with these ten other awesome debt repayment songs.
1. “Bills Bills Bills” by Destiny’s Child
It might seem nice to have someone pay off all your debts. But really, isn’t it more attractive when you pay off your student loans yourself instead of depending on others like your mom or your “sugar mama” to pay your loans? We’re sure Beyoncé would think so.
Before you jump into a relationship with a fellow student loan debt holder, we recommend reading up on marriage and student loans.
2. “Free Money” by Patti Smith
Debt repayment can even infiltrate your dreams, as the venerable Patti Smith knows all too well.
“Every night before I go to sleep,” she sings on this track from her 1975 masterpiece Horses, “Find a ticket, win a lottery.” It’s tempting to live in the fantasy world, isn’t it?
But remember, just as Smith does: it’s just a dream. Real debt repayment takes hard work. And, if you don’t pay your student loans, those fantasy lottery winnings can be seized unless you ante up.
3. “16 Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford
Feeling oppressed by how hard you’re working? Tennessee Ernie Ford has you covered with his #1 hit from 1955. And while the average cost of college at a school like University of Pennsylvania was a mere $800 in the 1950s, his lyrics still speak to us today.
“You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?” the song asks, “Another day older and deeper in debt.” It’s not cheery, but it definitely captures the way paying back your loans can sometimes feel like going in circles, as if you’re getting nowhere.
4. “Bills” by LunchMoney Lewis
“I got bills I gotta pay / So I’m gonna work, work every day,” the rapper claims on his debut single as he laments about the extra jobs he takes on to get through the mountains of papers.
Getting a second job or side hustling your way through your debt payments is just one of the many ways you can tackle debts faster. This song is great inspiration — and wise words to keep in mind. Work hard, and you’ll earn what you need to pay down your debts.
5. “If I Had $1,000,000” by the Barenaked Ladies
What would you do if you had a million dollars? Buy a big house? Travel the world? Money means freedom when you don’t owe a soul. Sure, it can be fun to fantasize about other stuff you might buy, too (“like a llama or an emu”), but would you do?
That’s why we think the Barenaked Ladies need to amend their hit song to add paying down what you owe the government or private lenders. Either way, this song is great for cheering you back up and getting you thinking about the future or helping you build your dream to-do list.
6. “Royals” by Lorde
Paying off your student loans will leave you without much money, but as the pop chanteuse from New Zealand rightly notes in this 2013 mega-hit, you don’t need money to have a good time. This song is all about doing your own thing — even if you’re broke.
Frugal living doesn’t have to be horrible or sacrificing. Learning to live on less can be your salvation to paying off your loans faster by allowing you to save more on expenditures. Skip the fancy watches and drinks. You’ve got bigger plans.
7. “The Debt I Owe” by Lou Reed
Legend rocker Lou Reed set music to a poem by folk master Woody Guthrie. It shows that, no matter the era, debt is the same. “Every day, several times a day, a thought comes over me,” Reed sings, “I owe more debts than I ever can pay back more money than I’ll ever see.”
It’s perfect for commiserating when you’re feeling discouraged — you’re not alone. Experian states that over 40 million Americans have an outstanding student loan.
8. “Pay It Back” by Elvis Costello
“One of these days, I’ll pay it back,” the post-punk icon croons in the chorus of this deep cut from 1977. This is where you start turning things around. It’s not as oppressive as it seems — or even if it is, you’re going to get it done, someday.
Do you know you can get to that “one of these days” faster? If you’re wanting to cut time off your student loan repayment, consider refinancing your loans. Not only will you pay it off sooner, you’ll also save on interest.
9. “I Will Survive” by Donna Summer (or Cake)
First you were afraid, you were petrified… kept thinking how you could ever live making student loan payments that high!
As you make your way through, you’ll find you’re absolutely able to do this. You may even notice you have strengths you never knew you had. You can be fiscally responsible. You can get your finances on track. You’ll “get strong” and “learn how to get along.” You. Will. Repay. This. Loan.
10. “Free” by Phish
This is your celebration song. “I see the path ahead of me,” the lyrics say, and it’s totally true of you. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. “In a minute, I’ll be free,” you can sing along with the band. You’re on your way to a better, debt-free life.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|