You can work really hard to put aside money from your paycheck to pay off your student loans, but you can also shop your way to student loan payments.
One way is by utilizing cash rebate programs that directly deposit the money you earn from purchase rebates into your student loan account on a quarterly basis. You can also use cash-back credit cards that can help you save up in order to make extra student loan payments.
3 Websites That Pay
Below, we go over some of the best websites that allow you to earn cash through shopping, and will help you pay down your student loan.
UPromise: Shop Your Way to Loan Rebates
The website www.upromise.com is known for helping moms and dads save for college through shopping online and in-person at thousands of stores across the country. You are able to get your rebates deposited quarterly as a payment on a Sallie Mae student loan, or sent to you as a check, which you can use to pay off student loans.
This website offers the most ways to save because you have in-person options at grocery stores and restaurants, in addition to online shopping.
The following is an example to show you how the savings add up. Let's say you sign up for the dining program and go out to twice in a month for $40 each time. You earn 8% of each purchase. Then you buy a pair of $60 shoes with a rebate of 10%. You just earned $12.40 towards your student loans from purchases you were going to make anyway. This adds up to over $100 a year of free money that could be going towards your student loans.
Of course, if you spend more, you'll save more. In addition, you can get grocery savings on certain products which will also increase your student loan payment bounty. (Learn more in Should You Consolidate Your Student Loans?)
GradGold: Turn Spending to Savings
The site www.gradgold.com also offers rebates on the shopping that you do regularly, but the money is deposited only into accounts for those with student loans serviced by AES. Also, you only get rebates from online shopping. Still, there are a wide variety of partners that want to offer you free cash.
For instance, if you want to buy a couple of kitchen gadgets, you'll have dozens of stores from which to choose. Let's say you end up buying $45 worth of items with a 10% rebate, you'd save $4.50 just off this one purchase. Whether it's clothing or appliances you're purchasing, the rebates you receive can be put towards paying off your debt.
Rakuten: Rebate Program
www.rakuten.com is a rebate program that gives you a percentage off of online shopping, but is not deposited into a student loan account. However, you can use the cash towards paying off your loans. (Learn more in Loan Deferment Saves Students From Disaster.)
To get these rebates you go to the ebates website and login to your account when you want to shop. Then you click on the store of your choice. As long as you earn at least $5.01 during a three month period, you will receive a payment.
This is a highly reputable site with an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.
3 Credit Card Rewards Programs
There are also credit card programs without annual fees that go beyond giving cash back for your purchases. Some credit cards offer bonuses for shopping through their websites or bonus cash on top of your cash-back earnings. For the sake of maintaining your credit score, only apply for the credit card that you think will be the best for you.
The Bank of America Upromise card multiplies certain Upromise savings awards. The card can add an extra 10% contribution to your Upromise savings on select grocery items and on the bill at certain restaurants. All purchases made with this Upromise credit card qualify for 1% cash back.
How much could you earn? If you charge $1500 a month in monthly expenses, you'll earn $180 per year. Then if you go to one restaurant per month where you get 10% bonuses, and you spend $40, you'll get an extra $48. Without grocery savings or the Upromise savings you'd normally earn, you would earn $226 towards your student loans.
Chase Freedom Card
With the Chase Freedom card you earn 1% cash back on everything, and 3% on certain everyday purchases like groceries and utilities. Plus, you can get bonus rewards through the online mall. If you spend just $600 a month in the 3% category, you would earn $112 annually for your student loans. If you add another $900 of monthly expenses at 1% return, you'd earn another $108, and a total of $220. If you also shop online occasionally, your savings could be well over $300. In your first year, Chase bank also gives you a $50 bonus.
The best part of this credit card is that you get your cash back in checks, which you can deposit and send directly to your student loan company. (Learn more about getting the most out of your credit cards in Credit Card Perks You Never Knew You Had.)
With the Citi CashReturns MasterCard you earn 1% cash back on all your purchases with a 20% cashback bonus at the end of the year. While the rewards aren't spectacular, you do get checks every time you reach $50 in rewards. And you can always go to one of the student loan or rebate sites to earn even more money.
The Bottom Line
Think of these rebate programs as a scholarship for your student loans. These programs can work to save you money as long you don't go out of your way to make purchases you wouldn't normally make.