“In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” When Orson Well spoke these lines back in 1949, an American student debt crisis was surely the last thing anybody could have anticipated. And while 2012 Schenectady is undeniably a far cry from 1514 Valencia, there is a parallel: Americans are tired of feeling indentured to their student debt and are channeling that frustration into finding all manner of creative ways to tackle the problem. Here are three ideas that get an A plus on the innovation score.
There are loads of ways you can make small lifestyle shifts to help you save money to pay down student debt. You can start by packing your own lunch every day instead of relying on buying a quick bite during your lunch break. The little things may seem small, but day after day, they add up. Saving money by changing your habits is great but it can be a challenge to keep track what you’ve saved so you remember to use that cash to pay down your debt instead of blowing your saved lunch money on a new fall jacket or going to the movies. But what if you had a brand new source of income that you could put directly into your student loan fund? Well, that’s exactly what FundUcation is all about.
The call themselves the Craigslist of student loans and its easy to see why. Created by student loan borrowers, FundUcation is a tool designed to connect indebted college students and graduates with gigs and jobs in their local community that they can then use to pay off student debt. Employment opportunities exist in areas ranging from graphic design to landscaping, and FundUcation works with you to find the right fit for your skills, needs, location and scheduling constraints. On the site you’ll find both part time work that you can fit in around your class schedule and full and/or part-time work for after graduation. The tool is entirely free of charge for prospective employees.
No More Harvard Debt: A Mission to Destroy $90k of Debt in Ten Months
Joe Mihalic isn’t the only frustrated grad to embrace the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps method of getting out from under his student debt. Ah, yes, it’s tried and true, it’s the American way; and it might also be called the screw-it-I’m-gettin’-it-done method. Mihalic is, however, the only proponent of this method that literally wrote the book on the subject. It’s called: Destroy Student Debt: A Combat Guide to Freedom, and its goal is to help other borrowers pay down their student debt early too. If you’re considering this approach yourself, it might interest you to know that Joe Mihalic made his final student loan payment this past April.
Move To Kansas
You might be asking yourself if this is for real. Yes, yes, assuredly so. Let’s call this one the Dorothy Gale method. Kansas was the first place to offer an incentive to college graduates to move to economically depressed counties within the state, in hopes of improving the economy. In exchange for establishing residency in the designated counties, grads receive a tax waver for up to five years and/or cash student loans payments of up to $15,000. But hang on; we’re not in Kansas anymore. While Kansas was the trailblazer, other areas have jumped on the bandwagon; also offering student loan repayment incentives are certain neighborhoods in Detroit and Seattle, as well as Niagara Falls, New York.
Naturally, desperation has lead some borrowers in dangerous directions; one individual advocates “just default and see what happens.” Let’s be clear, unless you’re planning a glorious career in organized crime as an ex-patriot: that is not a good idea (although, no one here is judging). One thing’s for sure, trying to manage your student debt is incredibly complex and frustrating. Fortunately there’s no reason to suffer in silence; there are highly professional, innovative organizations out there, with the expertise to help you manage and simplify your student loan debt.