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
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.
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.