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How to Use Upromise for College Savings

Thank you Upromise for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Upromise, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.   And I’ve had my own Upromise account since 2001, so that’s pretty darn legit.

Recently, I wrote about how we’re planning to help our kids avoid/minimize college loans, and today, I wanted to share about Upromise, a free-to-join program that helps you add to your college savings while you grocery shop, shop online, travel, and more.

(I mentioned using Upromise in my last Five Frugal Things post, actually!)

I signed up with Upromise in 2001,when Joshua and Lisey were really small, so we’ve been with Upromise since the early days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Joshua and Lisey, circa 2004, since I was still using film in 2001.

Back then, I mainly used it for the grocery rewards, but Upromise has quite the expanded program these days.

Joshua and Lisey circa 2015

Joshua and Lisey, circa 2015

Before we get to that, you should know that money you earn at Upromise can be added to a 529 account, used to help pay down an eligible student loan, added to a savings account (including the new Upromise GoalSaver account), or sent to you in a check.

fg family

The current crop of future college-attenders. Not counting the parents.

So, Upromise is super flexible and it’s useful even if you don’t have kids because you can use it to help pay down your existing loans.

Alrighty!   Let’s talk about the ways to earn with Upromise.

Grocery Coupons

Upromise partners with a number of grocers to offer you rewards for buying certain products.   You activate the offers before you go to the grocery store, and when you buy the qualifying product, the cash back amount is added to your Upromise account.

Grocery Coupons - Google Chrome 1292016 41956 PM

Because these are electronic coupons, you can combine them with other paper coupons and in-store sales, so if you’re a couponer, this option is especially worth checking out.

Upromise Restaurants

Upromise partners with over 10,000 restaurants to give you 5% back when you eat out.   Most of the participating restaurants are local eateries, not national chains, which is kind of lovely.

It’s not just expensive restaurants either…in writing this post, I realized that one of our $20 date night Tex-Mex places participates. I’ve been missing out on rewards all this time.   Whoops.

I’m definitely going to rectify that next time.

Online Shopping

Upromise has an online shopping portal where you can  earn up to 5% cash back at 850+ online stores.  You click through to your favorite shopping sites through their portal and then get cashback in your Upromise account after you make a purchase.

(This is the feature I mentioned the other day in my Five Frugal Things post.)

Of course, I never recommend shopping just to get the cash back, but if you’re buying an item you budgeted for anyway, you might as well get a few extra college dollars.   It all adds up!

Upromise MasterCard

If you are like me and use a rewards credit card, adding a Upromise Rewards Credit card to your Upromise savings arsenal can be a smart choice.

The no-annual-fee Upromise credit card offers a base 1% rate, which is fairly standard.

Money for College - Upromise

BUT.

If you do most of your shopping online, the cash back rate gets really good.

If you shop at a site through Upromise, you can get up to 5% cashback, PLUS another 5% cashback for using the Upromise credit card, which adds up to a 10% discount.   Plus, you get 5% back at participating restaurants, on top of the 5% back that Upromise already gives you.

And the cashback you get is actual cash, not points.   Yay for simplicity!

Of course, make sure you use the credit card only for purchases that are within your budget, and remember to pay it off completely every month so that your Upromise savings are contributing to your bottom line.

Other Earning Options

Upromise also offers cashback on travel booked thru their site. But for everyday, consistent earnings, I think the grocery coupons, restaurants, online shopping, and Upromise credit card are the most helpful options.

(However, if you’re a globe-trotter, then by all means get some Upromise cashback on your traveling!)


Earn cash back for college on your everyday purchases with Upromise.

That about wraps it up, I think!

Upromise has lots of  quick and easy ways to add to your college savings, and most of the options require only a teensy bit of extra effort (registering a loyalty card or a credit card, for example.), so if you’ve got kids to put through college or loans of your own to pay off, sign up for your free account!

Every little bit helps, and every dollar you save now is a dollar that doesn’t have to be put onto a student loan.

Oh!   And right now, when you invite friends and family to join Upromise through the Upromise Tell-A-Friend program, you can BOTH earn $20.   That’ll add up pretty speedily, so reach out to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, college students, and anyone else that could benefit from Upromise.

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Are any of you already members of Upromise?   If you’ve got tips to share to maximize your savings, please do in the comments!

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Seth

Saturday 3rd of June 2017

I have been a member of Upromise since 2003 and have accrued $9173 in rewards to date. Because this money was transferred to a linked 529 account quarterly, that principal has grown to over $16,000 by itself. To achieve this, I put EVERYTHING on my Upromise CC over the past 14 years (paid off every month). I currently average just over $2 per day in rewards from Upromise just from putting as much as I can through the rewards program. In my mind, Upromise is the best rewards program in existence, given the ability to transfer rewards to a tax-sheltered investment account (529) where those rewards can compound. The only other program I know of out there is a similar one by Fidelity, where rewards from their credit card go into a brokerage account.

Jimmy

Monday 20th of March 2017

We have a new one in the family, and I have been investigating the Upromise program. At first I thought that there must be a drawback, but it looks pretty outstanding from what I can see!

Depending on your spending habits, earnings in the program have been reported from <$100 to over $4000! for an approximate 10 year period. Alas, as a newcomer I might not accumulate much more than an estimated $500 for the next 10 years. BUT I am still debating whether to join, since I always hesitate to give out my information. AND I have seen and read that the benefits of the program are being eroded. Restaurant rebates are down from 5% to 2.5% since just last year, when FG wrote this article. Maybe You, FG could do regular updates on the Upromise plan??? to track their changes. Just an idea.

I love your website Frugal Girl! My heroes are Clark Howard, Dave Ramsey, Jim Cramer in no particular order, :)

Stacy

Thursday 18th of February 2016

I'm pretty sure it's "you" promise.

Thanks for this! I've been a member for about 10 years with little money accumulation, but this reminds me to check it out again for the changes I might be missing out on! It sounds like it's improved. I only remember one local grocery store was connected, but I've moved and may have more options now.

Kristen

Thursday 18th of February 2016

That's how I always pronounce it!

EcoCatLady

Wednesday 17th of February 2016

OK... I realize this has nothing to do with anything, but I'm sitting here musing over the many pronunciation possibilities for Upromise. It could be...

Up-promise - like upscaling a promise. or....

U-Promise - like You Promise. or...

Up-romise - like rhyming with compromise.

Anybody know how they actually pronounce it? Not that it matters... just, you know, things that keep you up at night...

Kay Cee

Tuesday 16th of February 2016

Thanks for this - can you provide a link to the "Grocery coupons" part of the upromise site?

We've been using upromise for years but I was not aware of this feature.

Thanks!

Kristen

Tuesday 16th of February 2016

Sure! https://www.upromise.com/mall/general-grocery/

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