How to Save Money and Eliminate Student Loan Debt: 75 Simple Tips

Facebook icon Twitter icon Print icon Email icon
Kristen Kuchar

By Kristen Kuchar

February 19, 2020

Dealing with student loan debt can add financial stress to your life. Fortunately, there are ways you can cut costs to save money to pay off your student loans faster. There are also many easy ways you can save money every month to make making student loan payments doable or to throw extra payments at your student loans to be done with them sooner. Here are 76 ways you can save money.

Save on Student Loans and Debt Repayments

  • Sign up for auto debit and receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction (offered by most lenders).
  • Consider refinancing private loans to receive a lower interest rate, if you have excellent credit. Keep in mind for federal loans, if you refinance, you lose many benefits such as income-driven repayment plans, generous deferment options, potential for federal loan forgiveness, and more.
  • Explore student loan forgiveness options. Many careers, such as nurses, doctors and other healthcare providers, teachers and people who work in public service, could potentially qualify to have student loans forgiven.
  • Consider signing up for the Sallie Mae Accelerate credit card, which provides you with a cash back bonus when you use your card rewards points to pay off their student loan. The card features 1.25% cash back on all purchases every day and a 25% bonus on cash back rewards that are used to pay down any federal or private student loan. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full to avoid paying interest.
  • If you have other types of debt (such as credit cards or a car loan), try to eliminate whichever has the highest interest rate first. This is often referred to as the avalanche method of debt repayment and saves the most money overall.
  • If you’re struggling with high-interest credit card debt, consider a balance transfer to a card offering a lower promotional interest rate or use a low-rate personal loan to pay off the credit card debt. Cut up the credit cards afterward, to help you resist the temptation to run up the balance again.


Save Money on Housing and Utilities

  • If possible, move to a city with lower housing costs for a big impact on your savings rate. Better yet – move to a place that will help repay student loans
  • Alternatively, consider downsizing your apartment to one that costs less.
  • Consider taking on a roommate to split housing costs.
  • If they’re willing to have you, consider temporarily moving back in with your parents.
  • If you have a mortgage, research if you qualify for a mortgage refinance, which could lower your interest rate.
  • Use less water by taking shorter showers, fix any leaking pipes and only do full loads of dishes and laundry.
  • Be diligent about turning off lights and other electronics and unplugging items when you’re not using them.
  • During winter, insulate windows and doors to keep heating bills low. Put on an extra layer before turning up the heat.
  • In summer, keep your blinds closed during the day to keep your house cooler. Use fans before air conditioning.
  • Open or close vents based on the heating or cooling season.
  • Consider in investing in LED bulbs, a low-flow shower head and faucet and a programmable thermostat to save money in the long-run.
  • Use less wherever you can – dish soap, paper towels, laundry detergent and cleaning solutions.
  • Before buying new tools, borrow them from friends and family.
  • When buying an appliance, ask the store manager for a 10% discount and free delivery, even if the item isn’t on sale.

Need help creating a budget? Quicken is a budgeting software that allows you to connect your accounts and automatically categorize spending. Create a personalized budget and track and manage your spending.

Save Money on Food and Drink

  • Plan your meals in advance, and stick to a shopping list.
  • Cook at home instead of going out to restaurants.
  • When grocery shopping, shop for produce that’s in-season and on sale.
  • Compare quantity when choosing which is the best option.
  • Skip convenience items, such as shredded cheese and pre-cut veggies.
  • Cook bigger portions, and freeze the rest for future meals.
  • Always check what you already have on hand and base meals off this before heading to the grocery store.
  • Sign up for your grocery store’s loyalty program.
  • Use coupons from your local paper and online (such as
  • When your cart is filled, before heading to the checkout, analyze what is a want instead of a need that you can put back (i.e. soda, a bag of chips, candy).
  • Bring your lunch to work instead of going out.
  • Skip your morning coffee on the run, and brew your own coffee at home.
  • If you are going to go out to a restaurant, find coupons or deals online, such as on Yelp or Groupon. Find out if they offer a happy hour or some other type of special discount.
  • If dining out, order something that yields leftovers. Wrap up half to have dinner the next day.
  • Limit drinking alcohol. If you are going to enjoy an adult beverage, opt for one at home opposed to at a bar or restaurant since the upcharge is quite large.

How to Save Money on Monthly Bills 

  • Compare cell phone rates from other providers to see if you could save by switching. If not, try to negotiate a lower rate with your current company. Likewise for Cable TV and Satellite Radio.
  • Check if your employer offers a corporate discount with a specific cell phone company or better yet, will reimburse you if you use your phone for work.
  • Cancel any subscriptions you don’t use.
  • Skip the salon, and do DIY beauty treatments.
  • Opt for generic soap, shampoo and other toiletries, and compare bulk prices.
  • Regularly analyze what you’re spending on insurance (such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and car insurance) to see if you could get a better deal and if you need everything you are paying for. Increasing the deductible can cut the premiums.
  • Check if your insurance companies offer discounts for bundling or for alumni.
  • See which of your bills offer a discount for signing up for auto debit.
  • Maintain a budget and pay your bills on-time to avoid late fees.
  • Eat healthy, manage stress and exercise to avoid medical expenses (and to live a longer, better quality life).
  • You don’t need to upgrade to the best and newest phone. Use what you have. If you are going to buy a new phone or computer, consider refurbished.
  • If you have monthly fees for a checking account, switch to a bank that doesn’t charge a fee.
  • Unless you are able to pay off your credit card balance in full, only pay with cash. Putting a purchase on a credit card and not paying it off means you are living beyond your means.

 How to Save Money on Transportation

  • If you live in a walkable city or one with public transportation, consider selling your car.
  • Walk or ride your bike instead of driving whenever possible.
  • Carpool with co-workers to work and with friends to outings to save on gas.
  • If you’re headed to an area that charges for parking, check out ParkMe, which finds the cheapest parking near your destination.
  • Ask your employer about commuting discounts or reimbursements.
  • If your role allows, ask your employer about working one or two days per week from home to save on commuting costs.
  • Save on gas by checking out GasBuddy, which tells you where gas is the cheapest near you.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated to make your gas usage more efficient.
  • Take care of your car to avoid costly repairs later on. 

How to Save Money on Entertainment

  • Borrow books from the library instead of buying them.
  • Cancel your gym membership and fitness classes. Find ways to work out for free, take advantage of free trials and watch fitness videos online.
  • Cut the cord on cable. Borrow DVDs from the library instead.
  • Instead of attending professional sporting events, go to games at your local high school, college or the minor leagues, which is a fraction of the cost.
  • Instead of buying concert tickets to big name musicians, check out local bars and community centers for free concerts.
  • Instead of going to the movies to see the latest release, go to the second showing movie theater (which is significantly less). Better yet, borrow movies for free from the library.
  • Find free things to do around you, such as free days at museums or a free tour at a brewery or winery.
  • When the weather is nice, enjoy the great outdoors for free. Whether you like to run, walk, bike, or have a picnic, the cost is free or minimal.
  • If there’s a fun festival coming up you’re interested in attending, look into volunteer opportunities. Often this comes with a free entry.
  • Host game nights and potlucks instead of going out to eat with friends.
  • Travel lovers can save by house sitting to stay somewhere for free or traveling during the off-season.
  • Swap out expensive hobbies, such as golf and skiing, with free ones, such as hiking or reading.
  • Better yet, swap it out for a hobby that yields something in return like gardening, freelance writing or taking online surveys.

How to Save Money on Clothing and Gifts

  • Get creative with your existing wardrobe instead of buying new things, such as switching the skirt or pants you’d usually wear with a particular shirt, layering clothes and accessorizing differently.
  • If you need to buy clothing, shop at your local thrift store. And don’t buy clothing that is dry clean only.
  • If you are going to purchase something new, make sure it’s something versatile that you’ll get a lot of use out of, instead of something trendy.
  • Talk to friends and family about temporarily foregoing gift exchanging. Instead, do something fun together.
  • For any purchase, compare prices from different stores to find the best deal.
  • Search for coupons or promo codes, or sign up for e-mail offers to receive a discount.
At, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

A good place to start:

See the best 529 plans, personalized for you