how to pay down student loans

Hey Lady!

I’ve been traveling the country meeting YOU and all of the amazing women that have done the LIVE RICHER Challenge.

While on my LIVE RICHER Tour, I’ve heard the same request over and over again, “Budgetnista, I need help with my student loans!”

 Do any of these scenarios sound like you?

  • I feel like I’ll be paying off my student loans forever.
  • Even though I’m making payments, I’d like to do more, but I don’t have the money.
  • I wish my student loans would go away.
  • “My student loans won’t let me be great.” – Me (lol!)

Whenever I ask a group of women, what financial challenge is keeping them up at night, the #1 answer is almost always debt…. for many, it’s student loan debt.

The good news is there are solutions.

When I started doing The Budgetnista full-time in 2010, I was crashing on my sister’s couch in her one bedroom apartment (not exactly an ideal situation). Things were tight financially, but I wanted to find a way to pay down my student loans. Unfortunately, as a new entrepreneur I didn’t have the extra income to do so.

Then, I accidentally stumbled onto a solution…Upromise. I opened a Upromise account after seeing a link on my Sallie Mae student loan, sign-in page. What I loved then, and still love about Upromise is that I can earn cash back to pay down student loans, on things that I’m already buying and doing anyway. Yup!


Now things have come full circle and your girl (ahem, me), is no longer on my sister’s couch and now I’ve partnered with Upromise to show you even more ways to help pay down your student loans. How cool is that? The Budgetnista has come a long way and I’m excited to share some of my new partner’s solutions with you.

Here are some of the ways you can use Upromise to earn moolah towards your student loans:

  • When you shop online
  • When you eat out (hopefully not too much) 🙂
  • When you book travel
  • When you buy groceries or drugstore items
  • When you use your Upromise MasterCard


My Top 4 Ways to Use Upromise to Help Pay Down Student Loan Debt

  1. Get the Upromise MasterCard and use it responsibly:

upromise mastercard

  • Here’s how to use it responsibly:
    • Pay off your card IN FULL every month. Doing so will also help your credit score “Jump Like Jordan.”
    • Don’t use more than 30% of your limit. Any balance over 30% will negatively affect your score.
    • Automate your usage and payments. Use your Upromise MasterCard to auto-pay one or two of your monthly bills. Use your bank’s online bill pay option to pay off your Upromise MasterCard in full each month. Automate the process.
    • Remember, whenever you apply for more credit (car loan, home loan, credit card etc.), it’s considered a hard inquiry. A hard inquiry for a major credit card will cost you on average 10-20 points. Inquires stay on your credit report for 2 years and they effect your credit score for about 6 months. It’s up to you to decide if the benefit of applying for credit is worth the inquiry.
  • Here’s what you get with the Upromise MasterCard:
    • $100 cash back after your first eligible use until the end of May 2015. Yes, I said $100 for using your card for the 1st time. Learn more about this awesome promo here:
    • You can earn up to 10% cash back on eligible purchases when you use your . Example: Through, you can earn 5% cash back on travel, but starting next month, if you use your MasterCard, you’ll earn an additional 5% for a total of 10% cash back. Woot Woot!
    • This money can be used to pay down eligible student loans. There’s no limit to how much you can earn back on your purchases.
    • There’s no annual fee.
  • Learn more about the Upromise MasterCard here:
  1. Buy the stuff you normally buy….


 Buy the stuff you normally buy, but through the Upromise site. They have over 850 partners including: Groupon, Sears, Staples, Macy’s etc.

Here’s how:

  1. Join Upromise or login.
  2. Tell Upromise what retailer or product you’re looking for in the search bar. Or browse all of their online shopping partners.
  3. Click on the retailer you’re interested in—you’ll be taken to their website.
  4. Make your purchase as you normally would.
  5. Earn cash back and save for college.

That’s it! Because you logged into Upromise and used their online shopping links, their partners know to reward you with your cash back earnings.

 3. Register your current debit or credit card with Upromise.


Register your current debit or credit card with Upromise and use it at participating locations. Earn up to 5% cash back on stuff you already buy. You can even ask your relatives to register their cards and earn money from their purchases. * insert happy-dance *

Example: Via Upromise’s dining program if you pay at a participating restaurant using a card you’ve registered through the Upromise program, you can earn up to 5% cash back on the total bill. Learn more HERE).

4. on Upromise’s site.


Go to   and activate the coupons you want; they’ll be stored on your discount loyalty cards and be applied when you use them while shopping. Aaaaaaand, you’ll earn cash back when you scan your store discount loyalty card and pay. Yeeeees!

Signing up for Upromise is absolutely free. If you use a credit card, debit card or ever shop online, but haven’t signed-up for a free Upromise account, you’re literally leaving money on the table. Why not earn money for your eligible student loans by doing what you already do anyway?

I was just telling my besty, Dreena,  that just had a baby to sign-up.

Isn’t he the cutest?!

Not only can she use Upromise to pay down her own eligible student loans, she can also start using it toward saving for my new godson’s future education. It’s a win-win!

 I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share them with me in the comments below.

Live richer,


FYI: As a partner, I was compensated by Upromise for the contents in this post. However all the opinions expressed are my own. I’ve been using Upromise years before partnering with them. Any requests for personal information are not associated with Upromise, nor will any information collected be used or maintained by Upromise.

About the Author Tiffany Aliche

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, is an award-winning teacher of financial education, America’s favorite, personal financial educator, and author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Get Good with Money. The Budgetnista is also an Amazon #1 bestselling author of The One Week Budget and the Live Richer Challenge series and most recently, a children's book, Happy Birthday Mali More.

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  1. Great tips! We signed up our current cards and convinced our parents and some friends to sign up their current cards also and have US as the beneficiaries (we have amazing friends!). That helped us buy books for our kid’s college costs.

  2. Hello!! Such a huge admirer! When you link your debit card or credit card with UPromise does it also send a hard inquiry?


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