How to Trick Yourself Into Saving for Spring Break

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Don’t get us wrong: Winter is lovely. Snowmen and sweaters brighten even the grayest, most frigid days. But we’re still relieved that spring is (finally) on the horizon, and we’re eagerly planning some epic spring break adventures.

Spring break is an exceptionally popular time to take a vacation — particularly for college students and millennials. More than half of millennials surveyed in a study spearheaded by TripAdvisor planned spring break travel in 2018, and 2019 should be no different.

While some destinations are cheaper than others, travel ain’t free. In fact, Skyscanner found that the average spring break flight cost $602 last year… and that’s before you even purchase a single margarita.

Of course, if you’ve got a hefty student loan check in the bank, it can be tempting to use some of it to fund your spring break adventure. But don’t! It’s not worth the added agony down the line — or the cost of accruing interest — and it can add to an already-staggering student debt total. (The average debt figure for 2018 graduates was $29,800.)

Fortunately, there are plenty of pain-free ways to save up for a spring break travel budget. With the right tools and tactics, you won’t even notice the money is gone until you’re sitting back with your toes in the sand.

Here are some smart ways to trick yourself into saving up for the spring break getaway of your dreams.

Savings apps

If you have a smartphone, the key to spring break savings may already be in the palm of your hand. Here are a few apps that make it simple to turn your spring break plans into a reality.


This app’s name makes it sound like it’s your personal butler — and for good reason. Albert is all about using technology to create a custom financial plan that works for your situation, analyzing your income, spending habits and goals.

After you connect your various accounts, Albert keeps you apprised of rising bills and unexpected fees that can throw your budget off balance. Then, it automatically sets aside savings based on your habits, slowly amassing a cushion without you even noticing.

Finally, Albert users have the added bonus of communicating with Albert Genius, a service backed by live human financial experts, and which is available to you via text at any time. Albert allows its users to pay “what you think is fair” for the service, starting as low as $4 per month.


Available for both Android and iOS, Qapital is all about making saving fun. (Yes, fun.) You can set goals and rules to turn your penny-pinching project into a challenge, and the clean, bright interface makes it simple to see whether or not you’re staying on track.

Another cool feature of Qapital that makes it perfect for spring break savers: It allows you to set joint goals, where you and your friends all save for a common objective. In other words, you can get your whole spring break squad in on the game, which can help keep everyone motivated and achieve your goal easier.

Qapital’s fees start at $3 per month for basic service, and go up to $6 and $12 for its “Complete” and “Master” tiers, respectively.


Digit is also into saving money “without thinking about it.” It allows you to set specific, achievable goals. Rather than using an app interface, Digit is all text message-based, so it feels like sending a quick line to your friend … who just happens to be helping you save a ton of dough.

World traveler and former Student Loan Hero staff writer Susan Shain used Digit to painlessly save — get this — nearly $2,000. Although she’s an old pro at saving up for trips, she had never been able to amass an emergency fund, so she decided to try Digit to see if it would work.

“I noticed the app withdrawing small amounts of money from my account,” she writes, “but it was never enough to cause me any financial worry. When I finally logged in 10 months later, I was stoked to see I had saved almost $2,000. What a nice surprise!”

Investing apps

Yes, investing is all about the long game — and you need this spring break stash now.

But getting your portfolio started will put you in a better position to enjoy adventures later in life by allowing your money to be fruitful and multiply. The best time to start investing is when you’re young.

(Psst: A couple of the apps we’ve discussed above, like Qapital and Albert, also include investment options, so if you’re already signed up for them, have a look before you download another app!)


Just imagine how much money you’d have if every time you swiped your credit card, the spare change from your transaction was automatically rolled into an investment account.

Well, that’s exactly what Acorns does with its “Round-Ups” feature, which makes it possible to build a hefty nest egg without thinking about it. The app is also rolling out a debit card, which will make it easier than ever to stick to your budget.

Acorns is built with beginner investors in mind, providing a wealth of information on its Grow blog to help you take control of your finances. Its services start at $1 per month, and go up to $2 or $3 if you opt in for additions like retirement guidance.


Got $5 to spare? You’ve got enough to start investing — at least if you use Stash, an automatic investment app geared toward beginners. For a fee of $1 a month, you can set up small automatic deposits (think: five bucks a week) and allocate them into themed ETFs to ensure your portfolio matches your values.

Or, if you’re interested in investing in specific companies, you can take advantage of Stash’s fractional shares to buy just a little bit of big name stocks like JPMorgan or Alphabet. Stash also offers fee-free retirement accounts for users under 25, which may be worth taking advantage of if you’re eligible.

Automatic transfers

Not quite ready to download a savings app? Put off by the idea of paying to save?

Well, you can DIY the incremental savings that make these apps so effective by setting up automatic transfers at your existing bank account.

Although the exact steps to set up the transfer will depend on your specific bank, it’s usually not too difficult — in fact, you’ll likely be able to do so from your online account portal. Even setting aside as little as $10 per week can really add up over time, especially if you move the money into a high-interest savings account, where it’ll earn a little extra.

Rewards and loyalty programs

It seems like every store you go to, there’s another customer service agent asking if you’d like to sign up for the rewards program. And while it can get tiresome, you can actually score some substantial savings if you take advantage of those rewards.

For example, Shell’s Fuel Rewards system earns you 5 cents off per gallon every time you spend $25 inside participating stations (which isn’t hard to do if you frequently run inside to grab a snack).

Five cents per gallon may not sound like much, but it can really add up, especially if you’ve got plans to drive somewhere far away, like Orlando. You can also earn points at Shell by purchasing gift cards for companies like Amazon and Apple, so if you’re already planning to spend money at those companies, you might as well buy the card instead.

Another popular loyalty program, particularly for java-fueled college students, is Starbucks Rewards, which allows you to earn points, or “stars,” each time you spend a dollar at Starbucks.

These stars can later be traded for free food and drink items, and you’ll also get exclusive access to member events, offers, free refills, a free birthday reward and more. At two stars per dollar spent and a reward once you collect 125 stars, you’ll get a freebie every $62.50, not counting star bonuses. And let’s be real — it’s easy spend that at Starbucks in a month.

Saving for spring break doesn’t have to be painful

Even if you’re planning an all-out spring break bash, you don’t have to break your back saving the money to get there. Small steps, like downloading a savings app, can reap big rewards without wrecking your lifestyle.

Happy spring!

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1 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount.  The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.

Information advertised valid as of 11/4/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

3 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  2. View Auto Reward Debit Reward Terms and Conditions at
  3. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  4. Lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest interest rate offered on the Discover Undergraduate Loan and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, Law and MBA Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable Margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 2.00% as of January 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans will adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Please visit for more information about interest rates.
Discover's lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).

  1.  Rates are as of July 1, 2019 and include auto-pay discount. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

5 Important Disclosures for Ascent.

Ascent Disclosures

Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.

  1. Variable rate loans are based on a margin between 1.90% and 13.50% plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 1.629%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an Annual Percentage (APR) range between 3.14% and 11.88%. Fixed rate loans have an APR range between 4.09% and 13.03% based on your credit worthiness and your selected program. Competitive variable rates calculated monthly at the time of loan approval. Rates are effective as of 03/01/2020 and reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate. Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
  2. Payments may be deferred. Subject to lender discretion, forbearance and/or deferment options may be available for borrowers who are encountering financial distress.
  3. Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. There are three (3) flexible in-school repayment options that include fully deferred, interest only and $25 minimum repayment.
  4. Flexible repayment plans may be offered up to a fifteen (15) year repayment term for a variable rate loan and ten (10) year repayment term for a fixed rate loan. Students must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Minimum loan amount is $2,000.
  5. Interest rate reduction of 0.25% for enrollment in automatic debit applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner signs up for automatic payments and the regularly scheduled, current amount due (including full, flat, or interest only payments, as applicable) is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of In-School, Deferment, Grace or Forbearance. If you have two (2) returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the 0.25% interest rate reduction. You will then need to re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments to receive the 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  6. All applicants (individual and cosigner) are required to complete a brief online financial literacy course as part of the application process to be eligible for funding.
  7. Eligibility, loan amount and other loan terms are dependent on several factors, which may include: loan product, other financial aid, creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Aggregate loan limits may apply. The cost of attendance is determined and certified by the educational institution.
  8. The legal age for entering into contracts is eighteen (18) years of age in every state except Alabama where it is nineteen (19) years old, Nebraska where it is nineteen (19) years old (only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico where it is twenty-one (21) years old.
  9. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. In order to be eligible for the 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward, borrower must meet the following criteria after graduation:
    • The student borrower has graduated from the degree program that the loan was used to fund.
    • The student borrower may change majors and/or transfer to a different school, but must obtain the same level of degree (e.g. – undergraduate or graduate)
    • The graduation date is more than 90 days and less than five (5) years after the date of the loan’s first disbursement.
    • Any loan that the student has borrowed under the Ascent loan is not more than 30-days delinquent or in a default status as of the graduation date and until any Graduation Reward is paid.
  10. Students can apply to release their cosigner and continue with the loan in only their name after making the first 24 consecutive regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner.

* Application times vary depending on the applicant’s ability to supply the necessary information for submission.

5 Important Disclosures for Citizens.

Citizens Disclosures

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As March 1, 2020, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.62%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72% – 10.98% (2.72% – 10.83% APR)  and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.72% – 12.19% (4.72% – 12.04% APR)  based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens One is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.

Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review. 

Citizens One Student Loan Eligibility: Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution. Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or an international borrower/eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For borrowers who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens One reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Citizens One Student Loans private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens One Student Loans-participating school. 

Please Note: International Students are not eligible for the multi-year approval feature.

Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan. 

Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

2.75% – 10.65%*,1Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

3.52% – 9.50%4Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

3.14% – 11.88%5Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Ascent

2.72% – 10.98%6Undergraduate and Graduate


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.