Ditch These 9 Expensive Habits and DIY Instead

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These days, it seems like everyone has adopted a do it yourself (DIY) mindset. Whether they brew their own beer or knit homemade hats, lots of people have joined the “maker movement.”

Not only can the DIY mindset teach you cool new skills, it can also lighten the load on your budget. Fixing or making stuff at home tends to cost less than hiring a professional or buying a finished product.

Even if you’re not crafty, you can replace common expenses with DIY money-saving habits. Want to share in the pioneering spirit of frugality and self-sufficiency? Read on for nine saving money tips.

Saving money tips: ditch these nine common habits

1. Eating out at restaurants

Generally speaking, eating out at restaurants costs a good deal more than cooking at home. In the past few years, the price of groceries has fallen by 2.2 percent. The cost of restaurant food has increased by 2.3 percent. And yet, more people eat out at restaurants than ever before. To save your budget, shift your habits away from dining at restaurants and toward cooking at home.

2. Buying cleaning products

Instead of buying all your cleaning products, consider making your own. You can make large quantities for a lower price, plus you’ll end up with simple products free of chemicals.

Check out these 27 recipes to clean every room in your house. Baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar are all common ingredients. You can stock up at a grocery store or bulk store such as Costco.

3. Getting a daily latte

Fancy coffee drinks are a common guilty pleasure. At Starbucks, a grande caffe latte goes for $3.65. One latte a day adds up to $25.55 a week, $109.50 a month, or $1332.25 a year! Just think what you’d save if you skipped the latte and invested that money or used it to pay back student loans.

For example, let’s say you had a $10,000 student loan with a 5.7 percent interest rate. By making a $110 monthly payment, you’d pay it off in 10 years. By increasing your monthly payment just $82 to $192, you could pay the loan off five years earlier! Not only would you be free of that monthly bill five whole years earlier, but you’d also save $1,626 in interest.

Now, these money saving tips may have convinced you to skip the daily latte. But how can you still get your caffeine fix at a lower price? Try making coffee at home with a coffee maker or a French press. Time estimates the cost at only 28 cents per cup. You could also make your own latte with this great recipe (or try this one for a French toast latte).

4. Purchasing skin and haircare products

Buying pricey skin and haircare products is a major weakness of mine. I always think the next product is going to give me perfect glowy skin or frizz-free hair. In reality, a lot of products make promises they can’t keep. Many come with a high price tag, plus they contain a laundry list of unnecessary chemicals.

You don’t have to be a lifestyle guru to make your own beauty products. Coconut oil, witch hazel, and sugar are all common ingredients. Check out these 19 simple recipes for face wash, moisturizer, toner, shampoo, and other products.

5. Buying full-price furniture

If you’re a broke college grad, you probably have a bunch of saving money tips and tricks up your sleeve for furnishing an apartment on a budget. Instead of buying full-price furniture, consider making or fixing up your own. You can buy unfinished pieces from a crafts store or refurbish antiques.

You can also scour the free section of Craigslist for pieces that need some love. Secondhand stores are also a good bet. A can of paint may be all you need to breathe life into an old desk or dining room table.

6. Getting oil changes at a car dealership

Oil changes are a regular part of car maintenance. According to CostHelper, a professional oil change costs between $20 and $55 for standard oil and between $45 and $70 for synthetic oil. Changing the oil in your car yourself only costs between $10 and $20. For money-saving tips on oil changes, check out these instructions by Pennzoil.

7. Paying for bicycle tune-ups

Are you a cyclist? Instead of paying for professional tune-ups, learn how to do them yourself at home. This five-step checklist from Triathlete explains how to do a bike tune-up, including how to clean the chain and center the brakes.

8. Buying drinks at bars and cafes

Do you drink beer? What about fresh juice? Are you into kombucha? If you spend a lot on drinks, consider making them at home. Once you’ve got the initial equipment, you can make big batches for a low cost. Plus, you can teach yourself an impressive new skill.

9. Paying for an expensive gym membership

Some gym memberships charge well over $100 a month. While the facilities can be great, you can stay fit for free by exercising outside or at home. Use an app to track your run or workout. Alternatively, you can check out YouTube videos for free exercise classes.

If the gym brings a ton of value to your life, then this may not be a great area to cut. However, if you’re really trying to watch your spending, you could swap the gym for a home workout to save every month.

Money-saving tips: embrace the DIY mindset

If you don’t track your budget, it’s easy to spend all your disposable income from month to month. There are always opportunities to spend money; you have to try a little harder to find saving money tips.

That’s why embracing a DIY mindset can transform your spending habits. In most cases, buying your own ingredients or relying on your own labor will be the more cost-effective option.

When you adopt money-saving habits, you can use your extra money to save for retirement or pay back student loans. In the end, you’ll probably be happier that you paid off a loan instead of spending your money on impermanent things.

For even more frugal tips that will help you pay off student loans, check out this article. If you’re interested in saving for retirement, head over to this useful guide.

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% – 6.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 6.77%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.99% – 5.41%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 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.09% 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 August 10, 2020.

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.