6 strategies I used to pay off $81,000 in student loans

6 strategies I used to pay off $81,000 in student loans
Courtesy of MelanieA Lockert

Melanie Lockert graduated from college with $81,000 in student loans, and spent several years paying the minimum amount due every month.

When she still had $68,000 of debt left after getting her Masters degree, she decided to get serious about paying off her debt, and implemented the debt avalanche.

She then put her energy toward earning more, took advantage of any freebies that could lower her cost of living, put cash back toward her loans, and adjusted her tax withholding.

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When I graduated in May 2011, I was filled with anxiety about my student loans.
I had just graduated with my Master's in Performance Studies from New York University. For my BA, I had borrowed $23,000 and for my MA I borrowed $58,000. Between graduating with my BA in 2006 and getting my Master's, I treated my student loan payment like a bill and just paid the minimum.
But after several years of payment and taking on more debt, I graduated and still had $68,000 left. Once I got serious about my debt and faced my debt head-on, I was able to make progress and paid off the $68,000 I had left in less than five years.
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