This Woman is Paying Off $35,000 in Student Loan Debt by Snuggling

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Having a side hustle is a great way to pull in some extra cash. In fact, according to data by GoDaddy, one in two millennials makes an average $258 in extra income from odd jobs-some are just a bit more creative.

While the study reveals the most common gigs include selling items online and cleaning, one woman decided to try something a little more outside the box: Snuggling.

Sam Varnerin of Boston found herself in a similar position as many people in her generation. Though she had a full-time position as a construction engineer, Sam wanted to make a little more dough to help reduce her student loan debt.

“When I graduated from school,” says Sam, “I had $35,000 worth of debt that I wanted to get rid of as quickly as possible. My full-time job certainly helped cover the bills, but didn’t help with my goal of getting rid of this student loan debt fast.”

With that goal in mind, the now 27-year-old decided to look around for a flexible side hustle, and says finding snuggling was “a sheer accident.” Sam subscribed to entrepreneur Jason Zook’s email list where he once joked about a professional snuggler.

“I read it and thought it was a joke,” says Sam. “But there was a part of me that realized if this was a legitimate business, I’d be good at it.”

So, she started searching online to see what others were saying about professional snuggling and came across the Snuggle Buddies agency. “I found that there were a lot of people looking for someone to snuggle with in my area,” says Sam. “I reached out to the company and explained that I worked full-time, but that I was interested.”

To her delight, the college grad learned that most clients also preferred snuggling sessions outside of traditional nine-to-five work hours and the pay was hourly. “I loved how flexible the gig was,” she says. “And I could make $40 an hour.”

Uber or cleaning homes pull in about half that hourly rate or less. DoorDash Dashers can make between $15 and $25 an hour, and house cleaners make around $10 an hour. It was a hard wage to pass up.

“Once I expressed my interest, the agency interviewed me over the phone, gave me [a] training manual and code of conduct, and explained how snuggling works,” she says. “It’s legitimate work, and you have to go through all the same onboarding processes as any other job.”

Two weeks later, Sam had her first client.

“My first session was with someone who has used the snuggling agency in the past and could report back on how I was during the session,” she says. “I got a good review and started booking regular clients.”

At this point, you’re probably wondering exactly what a snuggling session entails. According to Sam, it’s similar to a therapy session with more physical contact (obviously). “With new clients, I have a pre-session to understand what type of support they need,” she says. “Some people just want to talk where others want to cuddle.”

Sam makes it clear she is not a therapist and makes sure her clients understand she is there to talk and listen more like a friend. From there, she meets the person outside of the location where they are snuggling (sometimes at the client’s place, sometimes at her place) and takes care of payment before the session. She and her client also establish where the client doesn’t like to be touched.

Also, for safety, Sam checks in with an off-site supervisor, sharing where she is, who she is with, and what time she will be done. She then checks back in with the off-site supervisor when the session is over. Sessions last one to two hours on average and, occasionally, overnight.

The actual session starts with a conversation to understand what the client is emotionally experiencing and what they need. “When the conversation dies down, I tell them to lay down on my shoulder or chest,” says Sam. “I’ll ask if they’re comfortable and will move around until they are happy with the position. We may spoon or big chair, but this isn’t cuddle-sutra. We’re not doing 50 moves, and I have the freedom to move, if I’m not comfortable.”

And, yes, it’s just snuggling.

Regarding clients, Sam has worked with a wide range of clients, from a real estate law firm owner to an autistic college student who needed comfort. “Snuggling is helpful for people who have some disconnect in their lives,” she says. “It could be people with spouses that may be going through something and can’t be physically affectionate, or someone who found traumatic news recently. I’ve worked with 18-year-olds to 70-year-olds.”

Sam even explains there’s a “high season” in the snuggling world. “I’m always super busy around the holidays,” she says. “People tend to feel especially lonely around then.”

Of course, there’s bound to be some odd experiences in such a unique line of work. “One time, I had a guy in a full suit with tails who didn’t want to change but didn’t want his suit wrinkled. I had to laugh,” says Sam. “You also have to have a sense of humor since weird things will happen.”

Though her friends and family were hesitant about her new side hustle, Sam loved that she was able to help people, while earning around $500 a month working around three hours a week. “I could pay rent without even trying,” she says. “I also started paying down that student loan debt faster than I could have imagined.”

Sam found snuggling to be so lucrative, she decided to pursue it full time. After a year and a half, she quit her full-time job, created the business Snuggle With Sam, and now exclusively snuggles for work. “I work around 18 hours a week, charging between $80 and $100 an hour, and make between $3,000 and $4,000 a month,” says the snuggling enterpriser. “I’m making so much more than I was in my previous career.”

Working full time as a snuggler, Sam was able to pay off most of her student loans in under five years when it would have originally taken 10 years. “I’m about three years or less from paying the rest off,” Sam says.

Sam’s success inspired her to expand her business by helping others get into professional snuggling. She’s working on creating a professional snuggling start-up manual to demystify what people might think of snuggling, and explain how to start snuggling on the side.

“There are no start-up costs to begin snuggling, and it’s good money,” says Sam. “If you’re keen to help people, are a good listener, and don’t take yourself too seriously, you could be a great professional snuggler, too.”

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.99% – 5.64%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.28%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 6.77%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.99% – 5.61%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.28% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.28% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. ‍All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.