I joined Upromise a couple of weeks ago to start saving money for little Miss PT’s college education. I had heard of Upromise before, but didn’t bother signing up…because I’m a dork.
I’m going to give you the full review below. But if you want to make better use of your time, just sign up with Upromise and get started. This is really one of those things you and I both should have started a long time ago.
Upromise is a free, set-it-once-and-forget-it type program that will earn you free money towards a college education. The savings aren’t lucrative. But it’s extremely easy to set up and then you’re free to just go about your business.
Who is Upromise?
Upromise was founded by Michael Bronner, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Digitas, a leading marketing services firm. In August 2006, SLM Corporation, commonly known as Sallie Mae and the nation’s leading paying-for-college company, acquired Upromise, Inc.
Upromise has given away over $500M in tuition assistance since 2001.
How Upromise Works
In short, you get a kickback from Upromise just by buying from their partners. They cut you in on the commission.
You simply sign up and enter your credit card, debit card, or store loyalty card information. Upromise handles the rest. They track your spending and provide a % payout to you when you buy from one of their partners. Upromise’s partners include ExxonMobil Corporation, JCPenney.com, LandsEnd.com, Sears.com, and hundreds of others.
What makes this so great is that you don’t even have to be conscious of where you’re spending your money. Upromise is partnered with most of the places you will go anyway. There are some ways to optimize your savings with Upromise (see below), but those things aren’t necessary to get the base level of savings.
What’s the Catch?
There really is no catch. Upromise is a completely free service. They make their money from the Upromise partners, who pay to participate and for marketing opportunities.
How Much Can You Really Save?
I’m just getting started with Upromise. So I can’t exactly boast about my huge savings from the program. I think I have around 21 cents saved since I started a couple of weeks ago. Ha! But, others have gone before me. And they have some significant dollars to show:
- Paul at FiscalGeek.com saved over $700!
- Sun from SunFinancialDiary.com saved over $400 (as of 2007).
- ThrifyFloridaMama.com saved over $500 (as of 2007).
- I’ve also seen blog comments from people who have claimed to have earned in the thousands by fully utilizing what Upromise has to offer.
Those numbers are by no means going to cover your kid for their 4 years at Harvard, but they will provide some assistance. And if you can earn that amount without really doing anything extra then you’ve succeeded. Free money!
How to Optimize Your Upromise Savings
Want to make the most of the Upromise system? You should look into their extra services:
- TurboSaver Internet Browser Toolbar
- Upromise Credit Card ($25 Bonus After 1st Purchase)
- Invite Family Members to Sign Up
- Shop Online Using Upromise.com
- Open a Sallie Mae Online Savings Account (10% Annual Savings Match)
As I warn with any savings system like this, don’t let the opportunity to save affect your buying decisions. For instance, don’t just browse the Upromise list of merchants to find something to buy so you can save for college. But if you’re already planning to buy, check out their list of merchants and consider using their link.
Also, be conscious of how Upromise might affect your decisions to use your credit or debit card more than you normally would. Bottom line, as long as you can set this up for yourself and don’t really change your spending, it’s going to be a plus for you. Visit www.upromise.com to get started.