Upromise is a way to help you save for college using your everyday purchases. You earn a percentage of cash for certain purchases made with the Upromise affiliates. These purchases can be made on a wide variety of in store items as well as on specific purchases made online or in restaurants.
How it works
Your money accumulates in your Upromise account and can be used pay down your/your childrens student loans, fund a 529, or be issued as a check for educational expenses.
There are three primary ways to save with Upromise shopping online, eating at member restaurants, and shopping for groceries.
To make money shopping online you have to start out at the Upromise website and use their links to get to the affiliated vendors. There is a large array of affiliate sites you can earn money from including BestBuy.com (3%), 1800Flowers, Target (2%), Kohls(3%), and JCPenny(3%). I am writing this post on my brand new Netbook that I bought from Compusa.com where I earned 2% cashback on my purchase through Upromise. The key here is to remember to shop through the Upromise site, if you don’t start there you aren’t going to get any rewards.
Eating at Restaurants
Earning money by eating at member restaurants requires a little more trust from you the consumer. Upromise requires you register your credit card(s) with them so they can monitor for purchases at the specific restaurants. I have gone ahead and done this and it worked out well for me because I made a little money by eating at a restaurant I wasn’t aware was on the list. You can find the restaurants in your area by visiting Upromise.com. So Join Upromise and earn up to 8% of your bill in college savings rewards when you dine out at any of over 8,000 participating restaurants.
To earn rewards by grocery shopping you have to register your shopping cards with Upromise and they will credit your account any time you make a qualifying purchase. Items are usually marked with the Upromise logo, like Florida’s Natural Orange Juice. Upromise allows registration of Kroger, Ingles, Food City, Food Lion, Bi-Lo, CVS, and Netgrocer. This list seems regional to me so it may change based on the logged on user. My biggest problem is I do most of my shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart so I miss out on the rewards for this part.
Other Reward Opportunities
There are multiple other opportunities which do not fit into the main Upromise categories. Your registered credit cards can earn you 1% for purchases at Exxon Mobil, 2% on purchases at Lumber Liquidators, or even earn rewards for just completing insurance quotes. One of the current offers in place for registered members is 15% back on in store Tax preperation at H&R Block and 8% cashback for online filings.
Ways to Maximize your Savings
The easiest, and best, way to maximize your savings is by begging your friends and family to sign up and assign the rewards they earn to your children. Once they sign up they can assign a percentage of their earnings to you, that way if they have multiple grandchildren they can split their pennies up evenly. The next best thing you can do is to install the “TurboSave Toolbar,” essentially the toolbar ensures you are 1.) signed into Upromise before you shop online and 2.) that you are shopping “through” Upromise when you are at a member site. I have already missed out on at least $20 in savings by failing to start out at the Upromise site, this toolbar ensures that doesn’t happen.
Overall you need to just keep things in perspective. You are not going to be able to fund your child’s college with the money you make in your Upromise account but it is going to be real cash. Upromise itself costs you nothing other than the added time to register your shopping and credit cards and to start your shopping at Upromise.com when shopping. It is free money and the last time I checked no one could give me a reason why not to take free money.
Let me know what kind of experience you have had with Upromise. Good, bad, or ugly leave a comment.