I've been so fortunate over the past few years to be able to talk to so many people that have had success with their student loans. Unfortunately, I've talked to so many more people that need help and encouragement along the way. Currently, Americans have over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.
I remember exactly how crushing my $40,000 of student loans felt. It's a hard feeling to describe, and honestly, people that have never had to deal with seeing a letter from Sallie Mae in the mail can't fully understand how devastating it can be at the beginning of your career.
Fortunately, there are people out there from different walks of life that have been able to fight the good fight and find ways to get past their loans and start living the life they always wanted to. I've pulled together some of the best student loan success stories for you!
Student loan success stories:
This couple paid off $23,000 by living in a tiny house
Student loans paid off: $23,000
Claudia and her husband went to incredible lengths to pay off their student loans as quickly as possible. Like a lot of people, Claudia wasn't quite sure how to tackle her student loan debt after she received her bachelor's degree. She went to great lengths to pay off her debt (including living in a “tiny house”) and avoid lifestyle inflation as her income rose.
How to Dream Big and Crush $80,000 of Student Loans
Student loans paid off: $80,000
After receiving degrees in marketing and accounting, Marissa and her husband knew they needed to do something to tackle their $80,000 of student loan debt. They learned how to sacrifice as a couple by driving very old cars and even renting a room from her parents after getting married.
Keep reading: How to Dream Big and Crush $80,000 of Student Loans
How Two Teachers Paid Off $51,000 of Student Loans in 18 Months
Student loans paid off: $51,000
Beau and Brittany are both high school band directors in Texas. Beau had no student loan debt, and Brittany had over $100,000 in student loans! They got married and immediately started to tackle the student loans on their teaching salaries. To date, they've paid off an incredible amount of debt by picking up a very effective zero-based budgeting system (which they share in their interview).
How We Paid Off $24,000 of Student Loan Debt in 11 Months
Student loans paid off: $24,000
Sometimes people take a normal route towards paying the student loans off…and sometimes they take an extreme one! Emily and her husband were able to utilize the debt snowball method to pay off their debt, but they didn't just stop there. Now they are building their own homestead off the grid in an effort to reach true financial independence.
This Couple is Destroying Their Student Loan Debt with Side Hustles
Student loans paid off: $13,500
Elizabeth and her husband were able to use their savings, the debt snowball method, and even their tax returns to crush over $13,000 of student loan debt in just three months! They also adopted a great budgeting system using Google Sheets (which they share in the interview below).
How We Paid Off $18,000 of Student Loan Debt in 54 Days
Student loans paid off: $18,000
Are you struggling with building up savings or paying off debt? David and his wife tackled that issue head-on and ended up paying off a ton of debt in the process. The best part? They are both educators and were able to live on half of their monthly income.
Keep reading: How We Paid Off $18,000 of Student Loan Debt in 54 Days
Pay Off Your Student Loans, But Not Like This
Student loans paid off: $53,000
Anyone that has had to face a sizeable student loan balance knows exactly how stressful it can be. We ALL want to pay off our loans as soon as possible. But is it worth messing up your health in the process of becoming debt-free? After Jen came down with stress-related shingles during her loan payoff plan, she learned how to achieve a healthy balance when paying back debt.
Keep reading: Pay Off Your Student Loans, But Not Like This
Is Medical or Dental School Worth It? A Doctor Weighs In
Student loans paid off: $100,000
There's a major misconception that high earners like doctors and lawyers don't have any financial problems. Many times, it's actually the opposite. Large salaries typically come at the high price of professional degrees and almost a decade in school. Emily Shared how she has been able to pay off a massive amount of debt and also shares tips for anyone that is considering the medical profession.
How Living In A Camper to Pay Off Debt Changed Our Lives
Student loans paid off: $40,000
How far would you go to pay off your student loans? Do you think that you could move into a tiny camper for months to get your spending under control? That's EXACTLY what Zach and Jenna did when they started tackling their $40,000 of student loan debt. They shared the ups and downs of living in a camper, and even included pictures of their tiny home!
Keep reading: How Living In a Camper to Pay Off Debt Changed Our Lives
How I Paid Off $33,000 of Debt in 18 Months
Student loans paid off: $33,000
Tired of seeing all these student loan payoff stories from people with unrealistic strategies? Kyle was able to crush tens of thousands in debt with his teaching salary by a mix of sacrificing (he moved into his sister's basement and paid rent at one point) and extreme budgeting. He also side-hustled, changed his diet, and completely avoided buying new clothes.
Keep reading: How I Paid Off $33,000 of Debt in 18 Months
Live On Less And You'll Never Be Stuck
Student loans paid off: $87,000
Usually, when you think lawyers, you probably imagine BMW's and Rolex watches. This lawyer decided to take a completely different path, and in the process was able to cut his spending back so far that he paid off $87,000 of student loans, and then took a $50,000 pay cut! He details his theories on rising income, as well as learning how to side hustle to supplement your income.
Keep reading: Live On Less And You’ll Never Be Stuck
The Crazy Side of Paying Off $55,000 of Debt in 14 Months
Student loans paid off: $55,000
Andrew is pretty incredible. He and his wife were able to crush over $50,000 of student loans in just over a year by living in an Airbnb and sleeping on the floor. They also cut back on alcohol, shopping, and even gift giving on their way to paying down their debt. Andrew's life is a lot different now (he makes well over $1,000,000 a year with his new business), but paying off the debt was the foundation for his success.
How I Paid Off $40,000 of Student Loan Debt in 18 Months
Student loans paid off: $40,000
This one is from yours truly! I used to be a high school band director and was able to pay off a large amount of debt in just a year and a half by living as frugally as possible. After I paid the debt off, I started this site and fell in love with personal finance. 6 months after starting this blog, I quit my teaching job to run it full-time, and now make a great living online. I shared every single one of my student loan payments in the article below.
Keep reading: How I Paid Off $40,000 of Student Loan Debt in 18 Months