I will never forget what it was like to complete my final semester of college. All I could think about (literally) was getting a job so I could pay off my student loans. It was such an anxious time for me—and for every graduating friend I knew. Today, tuition and expense costs are skyrocketing. If I was in school today, I would love to use a tool like Smarter Bucks to help pay off debt faster. If you are struggling to repay student loan debt, I hope this tool will help you!

The state of student debt today

According to a 2012 Consumer Finance Protection Bureau survey, today's student debt burden nationwide has topped $1 trillion dollars (that is such a big number I can't even fathom how much it is)! Last year (2011), aspiring graduates took out federal student loans to the tune of $117 billion (and countless additional private bank loans). Worst of all, there are many folks who are productively engaged in the workforce, but are still carrying around unpaid student debt. All that to say: if you struggle with student debt, you are not alone. 

Here, learn everything you need to know to decide if SmarterBucks is the right tool to help you pay down your own or a child’s debt.

1. What is SmarterBucks?

SmarterBucks is the brainchild of SimpleTuition, a free online tool to help students find the lowest price combination of financing to help them afford higher education.

2. How do I earn?

SmarterBucks offers you the chance to earn funds to pay down your student debt more rapidly.

4 Ways to earn on SmarterBucks:

  • Shop on the Marketplace: Get up to 10% back in rewards you can use like cash to pay down student loans. LEARN MORE
  • Take surveys: Take free surveys online at SmarterBucks to earn rewards ($1-$5 for most surveys) you can use like cash to pay down student loans. LEARN MORE
  • Enlist "gifters": Enlist the aid of loved ones to shop in the SmarterBucks Marketplace on your behalf and earmark their earned rewards towards your student debt. They can contribute as little as $15 and as much as $250. LEARN MORE
  • Sell back used books and electronics: If you sell back your used books and electronics through the Marketplace, you get paid in cash (check or PayPal) and can use those earned funds to pay down your debt. LEARN MORE

3. Will using SmarterBucks really help me pay off my student debt?

This, of course, is the million-dollar question. Like any tool, it can only work well if you decide to dig in and use it!

An example of how it works: https://www.smarterbucks.com/how/loan_dashboard

How you pay off debt:

  • Every time you save $1 worth of SmarterBucks rewards, that represents $1 in repaid loan principle, plus future interest you will never have to pay.
  • Your SmarterBucks rewards will never expire.
  • Your rewards are automatic—no waiting to redeem them to repay your loan.
  • SmarterBucks is also available for parents paying student loans on behalf of children.

4. Okay, how do I get started?

It’s easy and free to get started with SmarterBucks as a student, graduate, family member or gifter.

5. What do others say about SmarterBucks?

The tool has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, American Banker, Katie Couric's show, U.S. News, NetBanker and many other respected media outlets.

Positive user reviews:

  • CheapScholar.org (2013): "This rewards program is different…. The point here: if you're already spending money, why not get rewarded for it? But don't settle for rewards that are difficult to earn and even more difficult to redeem. SmarterBucks makes earning rewards easy, redemption is automatic, and the payoff is a future with less debt—which is definitely a plan I can get behind."
  • DebtRoundup.com (2013): “…you can accelerate your debt repayment and become debt free sooner. By harnessing the power of your regular daily purchases to not create more debt, but tear down your debt balloon. If you are in student loan debt, then I would recommend that you sign up for SmarterBucks."
  • EnemyofDebt.com (2013): "SmarterBucks is a program that will give back to you as much as you are willing to give. The more effort you give, and the more friends and family you can get to participate, the greater impact it will have on your student loan balance. If you're serious about getting rid of that student loan debt, you could reduce the time it takes to repay your loans by months or even years. If that sounds good to you, SmarterBucks is definitely worth a look."


SmarterBucks: the Smarter Way to Pay off Student Loans While You Shop