How Digital Content Creators are Torching Their Student Loan DebtJuly 7, 2022
When you’re trying to pay off student loans, it can feel like an isolating journey, even if you’re one of the millions of borrowers. That’s why it sometimes pays to share your journey – literally.
When you share your debt journey online, it can often be emotionally rewarding as well as financially lucrative. Take a look at the influencers below who managed to pay off their loans by being honest and upfront about their student loans.
Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks
When Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks graduated from college, the country was in a major recession. Unfortunately, that limited his job prospects. So he decided to go back to graduate school.
He had a total of $35,000 in student loans and decided to start a blog, Wallet Hacks, to stay accountable to his goal of paying off the student loans early. He also shared his net worth in the blog, along with his debt total.
Wang dedicated most of the extra income created through the blog to his student loans. At first, that meant adding $100 every month toward his loans. He mostly generated income through affiliate links, which are when you promote a certain product and then receive a percentage if someone buys that product or signs up for that service. Ad revenue was another major source of income for the blog.
“About a year or so into the blog, it started to make more, and I was able to put several hundred dollars a month towards it,” he said.
Wang has been debt-free for years now but still cites the public accountability as a primary reason why he was able to pay off his loans ahead of schedule.
“You don’t have to publish every last detail like the exact balance, but having a visible tracker can help you stick with a goal,” he said. “Also, you’ll find that a lot of other people are in a similar situation, and by sharing your journey, you help them too.”
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents started her blog to catalog her journey of paying off $40,000 in student loans. She said the extra money the blog generated was the main reason she was able to pay off all her debt in just seven months. Her blog made money through sponsored posts, display ads, and affiliate links.
Like Wang, Schroeder-Gardner said making her goal public gave her more motivation to keep going.
“Plus, readers may be able to give you helpful advice because they will be seeing your situation from another view,” she said.
Eric Rosenberg of Personal Profitability
Eric Rosenberg of Personal Profitability incurred $40,000 in student loans after getting his MBA. He started blogging soon after graduating and used the public posts to stay true to his goal of paying off his debt early. When the blog started making money, he threw that extra income toward his loans.
While some people might be hesitant to talk about money publicly, Rosenberg said the benefits outweighed the downsides for him.
“I’m into breaking down the taboos of talking about money, and I found the camaraderie, income, and accountability from blogging about my debt payoff to be very motivating and helpful,” he said.
Since he paid off his debt, his blog has remained a profitable venture and has also led to a freelance writing career that nets more than six figures annually.
Shannyn Allan of Frugal Beautiful
Shannyn Allan of Frugal Beautiful had $32,000 in student loans from graduate school and used about $16,000 in proceeds from her blog to pay it off. While attending graduate school in Chicago, she started blogging about ways to have fun in a big city while living on a tight budget.
While the income generated from her blog was crucial to helping her pay off debt faster, she found other benefits from starting the blog.
“Starting a blog did help me stay accountable for living on a budget and paying off my loans, but what really helped was the community it helped me build,” she said.
Allan’s blog income came from ad revenue and sponsored posts. She also received free items like clothes, groceries, hotel stays, and more.
Not only did blogging help her become debt-free much faster, but it also led to her current career as a social media manager. She learned skills like SEO, web design, photo editing, and other expertise.
“Blogging helped me land a job since I had become a one-woman marketing department before I started applying for full-time gigs,” she said.
Melanie Lockert of Dear Debt
When Melanie Lockert started blogging, she had $81,000 in student loans from her undergraduate and graduate degree. At the time, Lockert was only making $30,000 a year. Her blog, Dear Debt, started as “Dear John”-style letters to debt. She even solicited blog posts from other people with student loan debt.
After she started blogging, she found freelance writing opportunities in the personal finance space. While Lockert’s blog did not generate thousands of dollars, it did act as a portfolio for her freelance writing career.
She would point editors to her blog posts, who would then hire her. She ended up paying off $68,000 of the total $81,000 in 4.5 years, all thanks to freelance writing income spawned from the blog.
“Any public project is a sort of resume or talent reel for people to see what you can do,” she said. “In today’s digital age, this is so important.”
She even turned that blog into a book, “Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt.” Lockert still works as a freelance writer.
Struggling with student loan debt is a vulnerable process that leaves you with a lot of stress. These influencers have made great strides in working to torch their student loan debt. Check out their blogs to see their journeys and the helpful tips they learned along the way.