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  • Dave Kinzer

A Student Loan Success Story

Updated: May 11, 2020

In my last post, I wrote about a woman who turned down a full-ride scholarship at one school so she could attend another university. The problem was, she ended up around 100k in debt as a result. She took no responsibility for her situation, and blamed “The System” for her debt.

Today, I want to share with you the story of Sarah, another woman who had a substantial amount of student loan debt.

As detailed in the USA Today article, after earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees in speech pathology, she found herself with just over $36,000 in student loan debt. Luckily, she was able to find a job in her field. Unfortunately, it only provided her with part-time work: 24 hours a week.

Pay off student loans
Actual picture of guys who just paid off their student loans early!

According to the student loan calculator at, a $36,000, ten year student loan at 2017 interest rates would have a minimum payment of approximately $375/month.

Assuming she worked 50 weeks each year, she would make almost $34,000 from her part-time job, before taxes. To pay her student loans off quickly, she would need to make a lot more money.

So instead of moping about, complaining how she couldn’t find full-time work in her field, she searched for more work. She found two more part-time jobs at a hospital and a nursing home, in addition to steady babysitting gigs.

If you’re doing the math, then you noticed that she went out and got not one or two, but three part-time jobs, including babysitting. I think it’s safe to say that when most people earn their Master’s degree, babysitting for money is simply not in their future plans.

But Sarah didn’t care. She didn’t want those student loans hanging over her head, so she made a plan to pay them off as quickly as possible, and then she got to work without complaining or blaming others for her debt.

Besides earning extra money by working extra jobs, she also saved money by having four roommates and driving an old car.

And her reward for working hard and living frugally? She cut eight years off her student loan, and saved almost $9,000 in interest. Her $36,000 student loan debt? Gone. In two years.

How did she do it? I could sum up her strategy for paying off her student loans early in one word: Sacrifice.

Three part-time jobs. Four roommates. Driving an old car. It doesn’t sound like a whole bunch of fun, but sometimes that’s what it takes to get out of an uncomfortable financial situation.

If you find yourself in a similar financial crunch, take some pointers from Sarah. Sacrifice. Cut out some expenses. Maybe you don’t pick up three extra jobs like she did, but you might get one. Or instead of getting another part-time job, maybe you work an extra shift each week at work.

Focus on your goal, make a plan, and then get to work. You can do it! It might not always be fun, but in the end, it will be worth it.

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