8 Essential Things to Do With Your Money if You Went to College After 2010

college student graduate in cap and gown
Sidekick/Getty Images
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

1. Let This Company Help You Get Rid of Your Student Loans

For some, a lower interest rate could be one of the best steps to paying off student loans.

Try getting a lower interest rate on your federal and private loans by refinancing with a company like Credible. Other companies offer similar services, but we like that the average Credible user saves about two interest points on their current federal loans.

Refinancing will generally mean replacing your laundry list of loans with one (or a few) loans that bring all of your student debt under one umbrella.

This could simplify your life with one monthly payment, instead of several. It may also lower your monthly payment, improve your interest rate and/or give you more time to pay.

It might seem like a small difference, but a lower interest rate can mean a lot of savings over time. It’s helping grad Ashley Williams save more than $18,000 in interest over the life of her loan!

Take two minutes and fill out a quick application with Credible here.

2. Find out If You’re Paying Too Much for Car Insurance

valentinrussanov/Getty Images

You’re probably overpaying for car insurance. And how would you know, really?

Have you shopped around lately? Have you compared rates from the 20 largest auto insurers that do business in your area? That sounds kind of difficult and time-consuming, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.

Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:

  • Scan your existing insurance plan.
  • Analyze what coverage you have.
  • Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
  • Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Gabi says it finds an average savings of $720 per year for its customers.

It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.

3. Invest in Good Causes, and Get a $50 Bonus

 Savannah Holley organizes money she got from the drive through banking counter at Mount McKinley Bank in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Investing can be a great way to grow your money, but have you carefully considered which companies you’re willing to back? Their morals and values? You probably wouldn’t want to invest in a company that’s destroying our oceans or cheating the system.

With Swell Investing you can invest in companies that are committed to clean water, zero waste, renewable energy or disease eradication, to name a few.

Plus, when you invest $50 in one of these companies, Swell Investing will match you with a $50 bonus! Just use the code PENNY after making your initial investment.

Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($3.75) per year if you invest $500.

Get started with Swell by signing up with your email address here.

Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

4. Earn Extra Cash Delivering Groceries This Weekend

Need a reliable side gig? Try delivering groceries, takeout and even retail purchases with  Postmates.

The amount you can earn varies, but the median earnings per hour during peak times is $19*, CEO Bastian Lehmann said at a 2015 TechCrunch event.

Unlike other apps, you’ll take home 100% of your earnings when you make a delivery — no service fees, booking fees or transaction fees.

You can deliver through Postmates by car, bicycle or foot. Just create an account, then you’ll receive a welcome kit in the mail within a week (a free delivery bag and a prepaid card to make your purchases). Link the card to the Postmates Fleet app, and you’re off to earning extra money.

*Actual amount earned will vary, depending on a number of factors. You’ll see how much you earned after each delivery and exactly how your earnings were calculated.

5. Enjoy a No-Spend Day

Farmers market? Museum? Nature? It’s easy to get sucked into spending money on weekend outings, but there are plenty of free activities you can do today, instead.

You can search your local newspaper, magazines or websites for plenty of ideas. Here are a few to help you get started:

  • Go on a penny date. The rules are simple: Have your date or a family member pick a number between one and 30, pick a street corner and have them flip the penny. If it’s heads up, turn right. If it’s tails up, turn left. Do this at each intersection for whatever number they chose. Wherever you end up is where you’ll spend the day.
  • If the weather’s nice and you live near a body of water, head to the beach for the day! The beach offers a full day of entertainment and relaxation at potentially no cost.
  • Not near a beach? Plan a day of hiking. You can find a ton of free tails. (If you live near a national park, take advantage of the free admission days.)
  • The library is a treasure trove of freebies, including free museum passes. Maybe you’ll even check out a book or two.

6. Give Your Credit Score a Boost — Add up to 300 Points

cash back apps
anyaberkut/Getty Images

A really easy way to do this is to get a “credit report card” from Credit Sesame.

Credit Sesame is like your favorite teacher from high school — without the pop quizzes.

It gives you a free credit score, plus lays out your credit history so you can see exactly how much money you owe and to whom. It even tells you your monthly payments and interest rate, as well as which debts (if any) are in collections.

And you don’t have to stay home to do it. The Credit Sesame app lets you keep track of your credit score and ways to improve it — on the go!

To keep a closer eye on your credit, you can also get a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how you might address it.

James Cooper, a motivational speaker, raised his credit score 277 points using Credit Sesame. Now he talks to high school students about the importance of having good credit and uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons.

“We want to touch the Z Generation,” Cooper says “We’re not in the business of fixing credit. We want to get to you before you have to fix your credit.”

7. Get Paid Every Time You Swipe Your Debit Card

Those cash-back credit cards are wicked cool, aren’t they? Unfortunately, it can be hard to qualify for these cards. The Credit Card Gods are awfully picky when it comes to handing them out.

One of our favorites is Aspiration’s Spend and Save account. This online account comes with a debit card that gets you 0.5% cash back on purchases. It basically turns your debit card into a cash-back card.

Plus, you’ll pay no monthly fees, and you’ll earn up to 2.00% APY on your savings.

8. Trade Your Grocery Receipts for Cash

Blue selective focus image of till receipts.

peepo/Getty Images

Yes, cash-back apps are an awesome way to make money and pocket free gift cards, but it can take time claiming those offers, uploading photos of your receipts and scanning barcodes.

If you don’t have time for that, then you’ll want to download the Fetch Rewards app.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Once you download the app and create an account, enter the code PENNY to earn 2,000 free points.
  2. Now, take a photo of any of your grocery receipts (must be from the past 14 days) to start earning rewards. It’s that simple.

Every time you scan a receipt that includes one of more than 250 participating brands, you’ll earn points — without worrying about matching specific product offers.

If the Fetch app does find a match, you’ll earn even more. For example, we recently saw an offer of 2,000 points when you purchase a Suave female hair product. And another for 2,000 points for a 12-pack of Blue Moon.

Once you collect enough points, cash out for a gift card to any of a number of retailers. For example, 10,000 points will get you a $10 Sephora gift card. Or 3,000 points will get you a $3 Panera Bread card.