How to Make Money

This College Grad Paid Off $50K in Student Loans in 18 Months. Here’s How

Updated June 3, 2016
by Lisa Rowan
Writer and Producer
Student loan debt

Kelsey Kronmiller had a problem many college grads know too well: How are you supposed to start paying back more than $100,000 in student loans when your first job out of school pays somewhere around $30,000?

Looking back on her early 20s, sharing an apartment with her then-boyfriend, she lamented, “Here I was in this committed relationship, and I realized all the things I ever wanted in life — a wedding, a house, a family — would never happen because of all the debt I was carrying.”

But Kronmiller wasn’t willing to give it all up.

She told John McDermott of Mel Magazine how she paid off $50,000 in student loan debt in just 18 months.

How This Designer Hustled to Pay Off Student Loan Debt

Kronmiller got deep into Dave Ramsey’s “Complete Guide to Money,” and publicly announced her commitment to pay down her debt on her blog in August 2014.

After settling into a new visual design job paying $40,000 the same summer, Kronmiller dramatically cut back on her spending and “started working, like, 500 jobs, because $40,000 a year just wasn’t going to cut it.”

She used You Need a Budget to minimize spending and get a handle on her budget.

But how did she make the extra cash?

Well, it helps to have many talents.

Kronmiller worked overnight pet-sitting gigs for about 12 nights a month, which brought in an extra $10,000 to $15,000.

She also made $12,000 in just three months selling handmade ornaments on Etsy.

She picked up freelance web design gigs, too, for an extra $3,000-$5,000 per year.

“All this time, I was putting all my extra money toward my debt,” Kronmiller told Mel.

“Prior to the life change, I had only been making minimum payments, just paying interest and putting nothing toward the principal.”

How She’s Designing a Debt-Free Future

Since last summer, Kronmiller has cut back on her side gigs.

She took a $70,000 job at the Boston Globe in August 2015, which has allowed her to scale back while still making considerable debt payments.

She’s conquered the $50,000 student loan in her name, and is now focusing on paying down the $68,000 she borrowed from her parents for college.

Head over to Mel Magazine to read Kronmiller’s whole story — and then start figuring out how to snowball your own debt payments.

Your Turn: What do you think of this debt-reduction method? Which side gigs would you take up to pay off debt faster?

Disclosure: Here’s a toast to the affiliate links in this post. May we all be just a little richer today.

Lisa Rowan is a writer, editor and podcaster living in Washington, D.C.

by Lisa Rowan
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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