{TuitionBites} Service That Pays Down Your Student Loans

Update: Tution Bites is no longer in business

In the quest toward financial freedom, I have tried some pretty crazy things.  Some worked out well and others…well, let’s just say there is a reason I didn’t write about them.  This week, I clicked the twitter handle @tuitionbites because I thought the name was catchy.  Little did I know, I would be introduced to a new(ish) concept that combines e-commerce and crowd-funding.  The service from TuitonBites claims to help people pay off student loans by shaving years off of a student loan repayment term and saving thousands in interest over the life of the loan.  The original tweet boasted about one person’s ability to get $100.00 per month paid to the principle of their loan… I was intrigued. 

Starbucks = Big Bucks?

Is it too good to be true? Being the researcher that I am, I decided to sign up five days ago.  My plan is to give it the good ole college try for about 6 months so I can report back to you, the readers of SMC, on whether I believe it is a smart financial move or a waste of time. Apparently, it works by sharing a personalized URL  with friends and family and a portion of every order, 25-30% depending on the item, gets direct deposited into your student loan account.  Buyers can even donate additional funds toward your student loan balance to help you reach your financial goals faster, so if you know a someone who may want to help you out (hello Uncle Moneybags), you might want to let them know asap since interest accrues daily.  When  I signed up a few days ago, the item of the month was chocolate cookies for $20.00.  TWENTY DOLLARS for chocolate cookie…during Girl Scout season?!! I thought that the price was steep and I worried that every item sold on this site would have an inflated cost or would be a product that people wouldn’t really want to buy.  Yesterday, however, I was so excited to see that this month’s item is a $25.00 eGift card from Starbucks for only $22.50, that’s 10% off to anyone who purchases from your store (insert angels singing here).  Once received, you can print out the card to give to the cashier, use it right from your smartphone or transfer the balance to a registered Starbucks card.  I see it like this, if it features affordable products that people like or want to try, something that saves money of things you regularly buy and helps pay down massive student loan debt, then it could be a win-win.  Only time will tell, so stay tuned as I keep you updated on whether this is a smart financial move or a waste of time.  If you want coffee in the meantime, I’m sure I can help you with that!

Does TuitionBites really make an impact? 100extra She Makes Cents

Do you think a service like this is worth the effort?

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{Invest In Your Future} 3 Smart Ways to Save for Your Education Without Going Broke!

Education Is Not A Debt Sentence!

sdfThe opening date for FASFA is just around the corner and a reminder that it’s time to cough up some money for next year’s tuition.  Gosh, I have been out of college for almost seven years and I am still paying for my education.  I respectfully declined a full music scholarship and a full academic scholarship from a well-known school once I got an accepted to the number one HBCU in the country, Spelman College.  Although my premium education came at a hefty price tag, I still believe it was one of the best life decisions I have made thus far.  No matter how you look at it, college is expensive and the inflation for tuition fees is increasing at an alarming rate.  As an result of the yearly increase,  parents and students alike are  getting creative in how they pay for higher education.  According to the US Department of Education, the average annual cost of public school increased 6.5 percent each year over the last decade. That means that by 2030, annual public tuition will be $44,047 and the total cost for a four-year degree will be more than $205,000.  I don’t even have children and that number makes my head hurt…especially when I hope that my hypothetical future daughter will continue the Spelman College legacy.  If the price of a four-year degree from a public institution is projected to cost almost a quarter of a million dollars, then I can only image how much a private college will be.  You need to get an education to make more money, but you can afford to pay for the education; hence the newest  Debt Crisis No One Is Talking AboutGrants and scholarships are the best ways, in my opinion, to pay for your education because you don’t have to pay them back.  If grants and scholarships aren’t an option for you, your child, or any student you know who is struggling to fund their education, maybe one of these options will work!

529 Plans & Registered Education Savings Plan

imagesJP7KGLQRA 529 plan is a college savings plan sponsored by a state or state agency for anyone with a Social Security number or a Tax ID.  Money saved under a 529 Plan can be used for education-related expenses like tuition, books and room and board for most US schools and select schools abroad.  According to Clark Howard, another one of my favorite money gurus, “529 plans must be sponsored by a state even though residents of most states can put their money in any state plan. Just because you invest in the plan of a state where you don’t live, that doesn’t mean your child will have to eventually go to school in that state.”  While you can get access to the money at any time, doing so for any non-education related reason will result in you paying a penalty fee.  Otherwise, you pay no federal taxes on the account’s earnings and you may qualify for state tax benefits as well.    The earlier you start contributing to a 529 Plan the more your money will compound over time.   529 Plans offer tax incentives, are tax tax-deferred, and allow multiple people to contribute.  Seriously, there is nothing better than FREE money!

Passport to an Affordable  College Education

This may sound extreme, but lower tuition costs in other countries are luring American students to top-rated British and Canadian colleges.  According to NBC News, “The total amount of student loans owed went over a trillion-dollar mark late last year, surpassing total credit card debt in this country for the first time. More and more American families are finding a solution to the high cost of higher [education] by looking to our north [Canada]”.  The number of Americans attending Canadian universities has risen 50 percent in the past decade, and the reason is obvious: cost.  Study abroad programs are a very popular option for students so I don’t think that actually attending school outside of the US would be far-fetched for some… especially if your choice is between attending a school that you can afford or not attending school at all.

Start a Website

Go Fund Me to College She Makes CentsI have a childhood friend, Amber, that I lost touch after moving to a new neighborhood at nine years old.  It wasn’t until Facebook became the go-to source of information that we were able to “find” each other again and reconnect.  Earlier this year, a link popped up in my Facebook timeline about Amber and her dream to attend Harvard.  I clicked the link and was more than impressed with what I saw.  Amber created not one but two websites to get the word out about her financial goals to fund her dream school.  Amber created her own website “Get Amber To Harvard” to tell the story of her educational journey and her financial goals and  an online donation website on the site, Go Fund Me.  On her GoFundMe site, Amber has already raised $22,480.00 of the $70,000.00 goal.  Check we say Cha-Ching!!

Would You Go to College Abroad to Save Money?

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