April 5, 2017

Swagbucks: April sign-up bonus

This month, if you sign up using my link and earn 300 total SB before 5/1/17, you get a 300 SB bonus.

If you spend at least $25 in Shop and receive your shop credit before 6/1/2017, you get an additional 200 SB bonus. That deadline means it’s better if you shop early in the month than later since some credits take a few weeks to credit. I’ve not yet had a problem with them crediting in time but who needs to worry about it?

Usually I point you to Mr.Rebates or Ebates for good cashback, and it’s always worth checking them first in case they have double or more cashbank. With the extra bonuses, this might net you more money back.

Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join Swagbucks and earn. I track my earnings here.

March 29, 2017

How to Refinance Your Student Loans

This guest post is from Amanda Ellison, a financial advisor from San Diego specializing in working with Millennials.

Student loan debt is at an all-time high, and it continues to rise. In 2016, the average graduate had over $37,000 in debt, a six percent increase from 2105.  With a large number of college graduates facing mounting debt, it is little wonder that many are struggling to make their monthly student loan payments.

Much like a mortgage, student loans can be refinanced with a lower interest rate; in fact, student loan refinancing has become a hot topic among borrowers as a way to potentially lower payments and reduce interest rates.

Refinancing student loans is a form of consolidation for borrowers with private student loans.  It works by replacing multiple student loans — which can be private loans, federal loans, or both — with one new private loan.  The primary benefit of refinancing your student loans is that you may be able to obtain a lower interest rate, and save money over the life of your loan. In some cases, student loan refinancing can result in lower monthly payments.  You may also be able to extend or shorten the repayment time period, but as a general rule, you should pick the shortest possible time that you can to repay your loan. It may also be beneficial to make a single monthly payment rather than multiple payments each month to various loan servicing companies.

In December 2016, the Federal Reserve announced a rate increase for the interest rate. This will likely have an impact on the interest rate for student loans, which are tied to rates that tend to follow the Fed.  This increase — and several additional proposed increases over the course of 2017 — may be another reason to refinance your student loans. This is particularly true if you have a variable rate private student loan.  A variable rate student loan has the potential to rise as the interest rate rises.  A refinanced loan with a lower fixed interest rate may give you stability and ultimately lower your monthly payments and the total cost of your student loans.

Before making the decision to refinance your student loans, you first need to understand what kind of loans you have and what their terms are. If you do not have a copy of your loan documents, you can view them via the government’s online database for federal loans, the Federal Student Aid portal or the National Student Loan Data System.  For private student loans, you can obtain a copy of your credit report to determine if you have any private student loans.  You can then contact your loan servicing company to obtain a copy of the loan terms and conditions.

If you have federal student loans, carefully consider whether you want to refinance these loans along with your private loans.  Federal student loans have certain protections that private student loans do not, such as loan forgiveness and income-based repayment plans. You should also look at your current interest rate on your private student loans.  If the interest rate on your current loans is low and fixed, refinancing your student loans may not save you money.  There are a number of online refinance calculators that will allow you to input information from your current loans to determine if you will save money by refinancing your private student loans.

If you decide to refinance your student loans, you can compare lenders through a number of online marketplaces, such as LendEDU, Student Loan Hero, and Credible.  Each site will offer rates from a number of different banks, student loan companies and other lenders, along with information about each lender.  You can then determine which rate and lender would be the best choice for your student loans.  The rate that you ultimately receive will be based on a number of factors, including your credit score, job history, educational background, and income.  As a general rule, your credit score must be no lower than the mid-600’s in order to qualify for a student loan refinance. Rates for student loan refinancing range from as low as 2 percent to as high as 9 percent.

Refinancing student loans does not cost money, and there are typically not any fees associated with refinancing private student loans.  Be wary of calls, emails or letters that you may receive offering deals on refinancing or consolidating your student loans.  These are often scams, or they may charge you money for something that you can do yourself for free or for very low cost.

Once you have been approved for a student loan refinancing, your new loan servicing company will pay off all of your old loans.  You will then start to receive statements from the new lender each month.  If you have automatic payments set up, remember to change the payments to reflect the lender, and work towards paying off your student loans with one easy monthly payment.

Refinancing student loans isn’t the best choice for everyone, but if your student loans have a high interest rate, a variable interest rate, or if you have many different student loans, it may be a good choice for you.  With some advance planning and preparation, the process of applying for refinancing is relatively simple, allowing you to make a substantial step towards paying down your debt in a few simple steps.

February 13, 2017

Swagbucks: Chocolate Dipped Team Challenge

Here’s a delicious Swagbucks activity for Valentine’s Day – the Chocolate Dipped Team Challenge!

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. You can pre-register now. If you haven’t joined yet, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting February 13th at 8am PT, in addition to earning SB, you’ll contribute points to your team’s total as you complete activities.

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card.

If you earn 300 SB before March 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus if you joined the team using my link.

The 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be available on Friday, February 17th and expires on Tuesday, February 28th 11:59p m PT.

February 9, 2017

Swagbucks: Valentine’s Day Shop

If you’re still planning to get someone a Valentine’s Day gift, take a quick look at Swagbucks Shopping first to see if you can get double cash back – sometimes their special double cash back is better than the usual over at Mr. Rebates and ebates.

If you’re not on Swagbucks yet, sign up using my link, spend at least $25 in shop, and you’ll get a 200 SB bonus!

Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join Swagbucks and earn. I track my earnings here.

 

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