5 Summer Savings Tricks That Will Help You Pay Off Student Loans Faster

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. 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 understand what you are buying, and consult 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. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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young millennial friends are hanging out on a beach and having fun for free thinking about how to financially plan for the year and save money this summer, and get out of student loan debt.
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Winter is finally over, the weather is warm, and you’re getting amped up for summer.

One thing could make this season even better: getting rid of your student loans.

Instead of overspending this summer, try these five budget hacks to save money. Then, use your extra cash to crush your student loan debt ahead of schedule.

1. Create a summer budget

Have you checked your budget lately? Summer is the perfect time for a budget revamp since your expenses probably will be different from those in the winter.

“Make sure you are clear about how much you want to spend this summer and that it doesn’t interfere with your financial responsibilities,” said Natasha Rachel Smith, a personal finance expert at TopCashBack.com. “The best way to achieve this is by planning out each summer month in advance by budgeting.”

You don’t have to cut out fun summer events, but you can prepare for them with a “summer activity budget.”

“Set money aside to cover any must-go events while also giving yourself room for some spontaneous spending,” said Smith. “Make sure to set a limit on how much you spend every week or month on these summer fun activities and stick to it!”

Expense-tracking apps such as Mint or You Need a Budget could help you monitor your spending. You also can add a category for debt payoff in your budget.

Once you’ve taken care of other priorities — such as building your emergency fund or contributing to a 401(k) — you can put any leftover money each month toward your student loans.

2. Design your personalized debt payoff plan

If you have federal student loans, you automatically get put on a 10-year repayment plan. Most private lenders also offer a 10-year term on student loans, along with other repayment options.

But you don’t have to stay on the 10-year term. Making extra payments will get you out of debt faster and save you money on interest.

If you aim to pay off your student loans ASAP, then construct your own debt payoff plan. Use our student loan calculator or extra payment calculator to crunch the numbers.

For instance, let’s say you have a $15,000 loan at a 6.00% interest rate. Over 10 years, you’d pay about $167 per month and $4,984 in interest.

However, you could shave a year off your term by ramping up your monthly payment to $180. Or you could get out of debt four years and five months faster and save $2,310 on total interest charges by making an extra payment of $100 every month.

If you have a strong credit score or a qualifying cosigner, you might consider student loan refinancing. Refinancing restructures your debt, plus you could get a lower interest rate.

However, make sure you understand all the pros and cons of refinancing before you apply.

3. Save money with free (or cheap) summer activities

From music festivals to travel to outdoor dining, it’s way too easy to overspend during the summer.

That’s why Jacob Dayan, the CEO and co-founder of Community Tax, recommended finding cheap alternatives to pricey activities such as dining out.

“If you’re looking to save money this summer to put towards paying off your student loans, limit the number of times you go out to eat to once per week,” said Dayan. “If this is a major hit to your social life, try hosting a potluck at your place and have each friend bring a dish.”

He also suggested cutting some monthly costs, such as your gym membership.

“With the great weather that comes along with the summer months, take advantage of the sunshine and longer days by taking your workouts outdoors,” Dayan said. “Not only will this allow you to save money, but it will help you get outside, which is great for your mental health as well.”

Eric Anthony, the managing editor at Houston On The Cheap, has another tip for summer savings.

“[Look] for inexpensive forms of entertainment, which are abundant in the summer months,” said Anthony. “For example, most towns will run summer concert series that provide free admission. This can be a great way to engage in the arts and hang out with friends without hurting your budget.”

Search online for a calendar of fun local activities that are easy on your budget.

4. Make more money with a side hustle

Budgeting and saving can only take you so far. Another way to pay off your student loans fast is to increase your income.

“The fastest way to get out of student loan debt is attacking it with everything you have,” said Kelan Kline, who co-founded The Savvy Couple blog with his wife, Brittany. “Sometimes that means getting a side hustle or second job going.”

Some ideas for making extra money include:

  • Driving for Uber or Lyft

  • Renting out a room or hosting an experience on Airbnb

  • Working as a freelance writer or editor

  • Doing small jobs in your neighborhood through sites such as TaskRabbit

  • Offering consulting services online

  • Selling used clothes (or other items) online

The possibilities are endless, so think about what you would enjoy doing.

“Whether it’s starting a blog, taking online surveys, or selling old items on eBay, every little bit counts,” said Kline.

By finding a way to make more money this summer, you could conquer your student debt.

5. Avoid overspending on travel

According to a survey by Allianz Global Assistance, Americans were planning to spend $101.1 billion on summer vacations in 2017. Generation X respondents were planning to spend an average of $2,628 per person, while millennials were likely to spend an estimated $1,373.

Travel expenses can add up, so make sure you’re not blowing past your budget to take a trip.

Look for ways to save on travel, such as comparing flight prices across different sites and opting for a carry-on instead of a checked bag.

You also might want to choose affordable accommodation, such as an Airbnb spot or a hostel, as well as cook your own food sometimes instead of going out to eat every meal.

Finally, make the most of rewards points if you have a travel credit card. Of course, you don’t want to go into credit card debt while chasing those points. But as long as you’re in control of your spending, travel rewards credit cards can be a useful way to lower travel costs.

You also might be able to redeem those points for cash, which can then be put directly toward your student loan balance.

Student loans don’t have to get in the way of travel, but you might want to plan cheap trips until you’ve got a handle on your debt.

Make your student loans melt away this summer

Although summer is a time to relax and have fun, that doesn’t mean you should take your eye off the debt payoff prize.

Take steps to avoid overspending, and find ways to increase your income. Then, use the money you make or save to pay off your student loans as fast as possible.

In the end, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself more knowing you’re making progress on your student debt.

After all, the only thing that should be hanging over your head this summer is a beach umbrella.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% 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 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% 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. 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
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable 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 of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. 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 Bank 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 their loan.
  2. 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 http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, 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.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. 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 understand what you are buying, and consult 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. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.