When Vince Schiano graduated from a private university, he had over $81,000 in student loans.
That student loan debt put him well above the national average for the class of 2016. And because his loans were through small private lenders, he also faced high-interest rates.
But thanks to hard work and a lucrative side gig, Schiano was able to pay off a big chunk of his loans ahead of schedule.
Picking a side gig that matched his passions
Schiano is a public relations professional. When he was starting out in the working world, his salary was too low to make much progress paying down his loans.
He realized he needed to make extra money outside of work and explored the idea of side hustles.
“Working out is an enormous passion of mine. So is becoming debt-free,” says Schiano. “Spending time at the gym is important to me, but I also needed time to work a side gig to pay off my loans ahead of schedule.”
Between his busy schedule at his day job and his workout routine, there was not much time left over for added work.
So Schiano began exploring the idea of teaching group fitness classes, an ideal side gig for him. Not only did it allow him to pursue his passion and squeeze in a workout, he could also help other people and earn money at the same time.
“Initially, I considered working at the front desk of a gym to earn a free membership,” says Schiano. “But, I didn’t have the time to dedicate to five or six-hour shifts per week in addition to my full-time job.”
“Instead, I learned that group fitness was an easy, time-efficient way to earn cash while keeping fit,” he says.
Teaching group fitness classes
To get started, Schiano earned a certification as a group fitness instructor. It cost him $350 for the exam fee and study materials to get the necessary credentials. Schiano says that investment was well worth it.
“Once I studied and passed my exam, I became a certified group fitness instructor,” Schiano explains. “To this day, I still teach spinning, kickboxing, boot camps, and muscle-building classes at my local gym.”
Each month, Schiano earns about $1,300 by teaching five classes a week. As an added perk, he also gets a free gym membership, which saves him an extra $60 a month in gym fees.
Paying down student loans
The extra income Schiano makes from teaching classes goes directly to paying down his student loans.
“Thus far, side gigs helped me pay $12,000 off my principal, in addition to my existing monthly payments,” he says.
Watching the principal go down more quickly is a huge motivator for him. And the extra payments he makes brings down the balance more rapidly, so Schiano can estimate when he will be debt-free.
Balancing work and side gigs
Schiano says the best thing about his side gig is how easily it fits into his regular routine.
“The unique thing about teaching group fitness classes is that it can be a substitute for the workouts I would have done on my own,” he says. “I don’t need to go for a run if I will be teaching a spin class, so that’s an hour freed up.”
But time management is still essential for Schiano to succeed both in his day job and his side hustle. He’s careful about how much time he budgets for different activities throughout the day. It’s important for his mental and physical health.
Above all, when he feels overwhelmed, Schiano recommends keeping your goals in mind.
“I know how it feels to have an enormous amount of loans looming above and having no extra cash to make progress on paying the loans off,” he says.
“My best advice would be to map out your current finances and draw up a weekly schedule,” Schiano adds. “Even if you just come up with an extra $50 on your monthly payment, you are still one step closer to your goal than if you had only paid the minimum.”
Finding your own side hustle
Launching a side gig can be a huge help in paying down your student loan balance. If you have a passion, creating a side hustle can be a great way to make extra money and manage your debt.
“If you can find a side gig that matches up with your passion, pursue it,” says Schiano. “For people who love dogs, consider dog-walking. If you enjoy cosmetics and hair, consider a side gig working at a salon on the weekends.”
“Just remember to gauge your energy and do not overextend yourself,” adds Schiano.
Whether you want to write, deliver groceries, or do design work on the side, there are hundreds of ways to make money outside of your regular job.
If you’re thinking about launching a side gig of your own to pay down your student loans faster, check out our resources here on how to get started.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
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 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% 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 email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
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% – 6.23%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|