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Question:How do I pay off my student loans?

I have approximately $ 50,000 in student loan debt and I have been out of college for 14 years! I have been paying the minimum and the interest alone makes it very hard to get ahead.
I currently work as an insurance CSR making about $ 1800.00/month after taxes.
I am married but my husband is paying our house and his business expenses & taxes.
I am trying to find a part time job working from home.
I have a 7 year old daughter. My husband works afternoons & evenings and I do not have a babysitter. So I really have to find something working from home.

Any ideas and/or suggestions??


Asked by heather777 on 10/28/08 2 Answers»



I work in banking and part of my job everyday is to help people figure out their bills and how they can pay them. So, in order to properly help you answer this question, I need to know where your $1800 a month is going to. Is it all going towards bills while your husband's income pays the mortgage and taxes?

If that's the case, then you may want to consider reworking the budget and trimming the fat where you can. If you're serious about cutting down the debt, you'll want to look at some of the "extras" you have that you don't need. For instance, I got rid of my cable. It saves me $80 a month and I still watch my shows online.

The next thing I'd worry about is your credit card debt. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on getting rid of that and set up a snowball repayment plan that you're most comfortable with. The snowball repayment plan can go one of two ways. Either you order your debts in order from largest interest rate to smallest, or you order them from smallest amount (regardless of interest rate) to largest. In either case, you make minimum payments on everything but the debt at the top of the list and then you apply as much as you can to that one. Once that one is paid, you take what you were paying on the first debt, plus the minimum you were paying on the second debt and apply it to the second debt. Continue to pay minimums on everything else. Rinse and repeat until you finish off the debt. Now, ordering from smallest amount to largest regardless of interest rate will cost you more in interest; however, there are some psychological benefits because you'll actually see more debt paid off. It's up to you which way to go on that. But, once the credit card debt is out of the way, then focus on the student loans. If there's not credit card debt to speak of, then you need to be paying more than the minimums on the loans.

Getting those larger debts paid off does require commitment and sacrifice on your part and can often be done without the help of a second income. However, if you want to try adding a little income, you can look into freelance writing if that's of interest to you. I tend to stay away from a lot of work at home jobs simply because so many are scams. But, writing tends to be pretty good. A great resource for that would be Freelance Writing Jobs (Link). They give leads and lots of information on how to break into freelance writing and stay in.

As a last resort, I agree with Kristen. Maybe you have too much house than you can afford right now. Consider the alternative of a smaller home or apartment until all of your debt is paid off.

I hope some of this was of help! Good luck!

Answered by: Kristy101081 on 11/5/08


Heather, you're certainly not in it alone! So many people feel they can never make a dent in their student loans. Most of our experts advise just what you're doing—finding a way to make extra money at home. Do you have a craft/hobby that it might be fruitful to turn into a side business (knitting, scrapbooking)? If not, is there a church or neighborhood org. where you could find someone to watch your daughter for part of the afternoon so you can work a few hours somewhere?

It sounds like a lot to raise a child and work both full and part time. Have you and your husband considered selling your home and downsizing into a smaller home or apartment to lessen your costs in order to pay debt? I know it sounds like a last resort, but our experts in reducing debt say do whatever it takes.

Answered by: kristen on 10/28/08
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