Would you eat a tarantula to pay down your student loan debt? If so, you’re not alone. You join a growing majority of student loan debt holders who would forgo a lot of comforts and even go to some extremes to lighten their shoulders of student loan debt.

If you remember the TV show “Fear Factor,” contestants would perform crazy stunts at the prospects of winning five-, six- and seven-digit pots of money.

According to a new poll, Americans would do the same to pay off their student loan debt. One in nine loan borrowers say they would eat a tarantula to pay their debt off faster. Nearly one third (31 percent) say they would only eat ramen noodles for weeks. Others would go to less sensational ends to cut their debt, 24 percent would stop wearing makeup and 27 percent would stop shaving. One in three would cut back on their gym membership too.

Is sacrificing hygiene, health, and appearance a worthy cause? It depends. It’s no good to anyone if you sacrifice your health and end up with healthcare bills or if your profession requires that you present a coiffed and made up professional look each day and you’re fired for shaggy hair and body order. It should also be noted that going to college was supposed to be a boost to one's chances in life, not a hindrance or health destroyer.  

What we do know is that Americans –especially young Americans- are postponing important life decision and milestones because they are saddled with student loan debt:

  • 44% of have postponed traveling the world
  • More than one in three (41%) have postponed buying a house or apartment
  • One in four (25%) have had to postpone moving out of their parents’ homes
  • One in nine have delayed their plans to move to New York, one in 11 to Los Angeles and one in five to another major city
  • 47 percent of Americans have put off purchasing a car
  • One in five Americans have put off running their own business
  • Another one in five have been unable to work in their field of study

People who are eager to repay their debts do not, however, list it as a top priority. MarketWatch reports:

Even though they’d be willing to find creative ways to make more money and pay off their loans if offered the opportunity, the reality is that for most borrowers student loan payments are an expense they balance with others that may require their more immediate attention. Just 5% of student loan borrowers named paying off that debt as their top financial priority, according to the survey. More than half of borrowers named paying rent as their top financial priority, 44% said paying their credit card bill was more important than paying their student loans and nearly 30% said they’d prioritize putting money in a retirement account over making student loan payments.

The poll’s findings offer yet another way to illustrate how student loans act as an albatross for many borrowers, who delay marriage, home-buying and other “adult” steps like starting a family or moving out of mom and dad’s house. Though they might be willing to go to extreme lengths to get rid of the loans, the reality is there’s little they can do besides continue to pay it down in conjunction with their other expenses.

While increasing income is hard, the Wall Street Journal explains that some careers better position Millennials to pay off their debt faster:

If you’re trying to find a career path that might actually have a decent income and a future, you may want to consider becoming a physician assistant, an actuary or statistician or an engineer. Not as keen on math and sciences? Market research, fundraising or even public relations are growing fields with good pay.

Policymakers like President Obama and Hillary Clinton, who just want to wipe out student loan debt with a magic wand, are irresponsible and promoting reckless behavior that will only serve to drive forward more borrowing on the part of students. The real problem is that college is too expensive and the infusion of government simply gives colleges the green light to raise tuition.

Like many with student loan debt, I’m willing to cut back on amenities – eat a tarantula maybe not – because I realize the debt is my responsibility. Real reform is not blanket forgiveness, but teaching future generations how to avoid taking on big debt loads to begin with.