If you need a little push to make the commitment to pay off your student loans, look no further. These 11 student loan success stories will inspire you to get started today.

Each story is truly inspiring, but more important, you’ll learn exactly how they did it.

You’ll learn what worked well, like:

  • 7/11- Side Income – Earned money outside of their primary job (not counting blog income).
  • 4/11 – Motivation – Used Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover or Podcast for a roadmap and motivation,
  • 4/11 – Refinanced – Refinancing to a private lender (See my review on Credible, which makes refinancing easy) was common among high income earners. Also, you can learn more about student loan refinancing in my complete beginner’s guide

And what didn’t work so well…

Bottom line: If they can do it, so can you.


Success Story # 1

How I Paid off $46,9500 of Student Loans in 2 years from Budgets are Sexy (From Even Steven Money) Budgets are Sexy

Summary: Found it difficult at first to accept how much student loan debt he actually had. However, once he faced reality, he was able to set a BIG goal to pay it off fast.

Three Big Takeaways

  • Set a clear goal of when he was going to pay off his debt and then laid out a plan to make it happen
  • Dedicated himself to maximizing his income at his current job
  • Made a wall-chart to stay motivated during his journey

Success Story # 2

A Breakdown Of How I Paid Off $87,000 Of Student Loans In 2.5 Years from Financial Panther

Summary: Upon graduating from law school, the Financial Panther used his high income and focus to pay down over $87,000 of student loans.

Three Big Takeaways

  • Kept a low emergency fund, while using any extra money to speed up payments
  • Listened to Dave Ramsey to get and stay motivated
  • Refinanced his student loans three times, taking advantage of low variable interest rates

Success Story # 3

How Blake Paid off $380,000 in Student Loan Debt in Just 21 Months from Student Loan Hero

Summary: After graduating from dental school, Blake and his wife made a ton of short-term sacrifices to pay off $380,000 of student loan debt in just 21 months.

Three Big Takeaways

  • Decided against upgrading his lifestyle upon graduation to reach his target of becoming debt free
  • Refinanced from a 6.8% to a 2.74% variable loan, reducing his annual interest paid by about 70%
  • Worked as hard as possible to maximize income, including taking a 2nd position (even though he already owned his own practice)!

Success Story # 4

How I Paid Off $40,000 In Student Loans in 7 Months from Making Sense of Cents

Summary: Michelle paid off $40,000 of student loan debt by paying close attention to her budget and developing multiple income streams beyond her full-time job.

Three Big Takeaways

  • Attacked the loan with the highest interest rate first
  • Committed to earning money she could and put 100% of it towards paying off her student loans
  • Paid close attention to her budget every month

Success Story # 5

How I Paid Off $34,579 in Student Loans in Under 4 Years from The Empowered Dollar

Summary: With an average salary, paid off over $34,000 in student loans by making it a priority.

Three Big Takeaways

  • Negotiated her salary, plus earned income on the side to maximize earnings
  • Used automated transfers from her checking account to avoid having to think twice about paying off her balance
  • Designed a unique rule of thumb to accelerate payoff, yet sustain motivation

Success Story # 6

20 Things We Did to Pay off $53K of Student Loan Debt from Saving with Spunk

Summary: Jen used a combined income of $88,000 to pay off $53,000 of student loans in one year.

Three Big Takeaways: 

Success Story # 7

How I Paid Off $170,000 of Student Loans from Money Saving Mom

Summary: Finished residency with $170K in student loan debt, which was paid off in just 10 years with living below her means and maximizing income.

Three Big Takeaways:

  • Always paid off the debt with the highest interest rate first
  • Started a vinyl lettering company at home, which income went right towards debt payoff
  • Sustained her motivation over a ten year period, never giving up

Success Story # 8

How We Paid Off $22,047 in 9 months – We Are Debt Free! from Growing Slower

Summary: Even with a low income, started small by just paying $39 extra principal each month but stayed the course and was able to pay off over $22,000 in just 9 months

Three Big Takeaways: 

Success Story # 9

15 Ways I Paid Off $80,000 of Debt in 18 months from Classy Career Girl

Summary: Anna and her husband paid off over $80,000 by setting a clear goal, sticking to a budget, and finding ways to bring in new income

Three Big Takeaways:

  • Was inspired by picking up a copy of The Total Money Makeover
  • Told friends and family about their goal to become debt free
  • Rented out a spare bedroom to a friend for extra income

Success Story # 10

Our Debt Free Story: Paying Off More Than $147,000 in Debt from The Debt Myth

Summary: Paid off not only her student loans but credit cards and mortgage becoming 100% debt free in just seven years

Three Big Takeaways

  • First step was to refuse to consider borrowing money an option to solve financial problems
  • Slow progress at first, lead to rapid debt payoff at the end
  • A key turning point was getting on the same page with her husband

Success Story # 11

How I paid off $400,000 worth of debt from Live Free MD

Summary: Calculated how much he needed to live a bare minimum lifestyle and put everything else towards paying of over $400,000 of debt

Three Big Takeaways

Used inspiration from Dave Ramsey to get started

Refinance through SoFi to a 5-year variable yield interest rate

Lived on bare bones expenses, even though he was making over $250,000,

Summary: Student Loan Success Stories

Bottom line: If they can do it, so can you.

None of these 11 men and women  had an inheritance. None won the lottery.

The path was pretty simple: