In this new post, I'd like to address how to save money for college (or pay off your existing loans) while shopping for Christmas, eating at restaurants, or even buying everyday essentials such as groceries and toilet paper.
I was told about a website years ago called Upromise.com. It is an absolutely amazing way to save money. The premise is simple enough; sign your child up for a college savings plan or attach your current student loans to the plan. Register your store shopping and loyalty cards as well as your debit cards and credit cards on your Upromise account. (yes, this might seem a bit scary, but I have been using this sight for almost 10 years, and I have never had a single issue or had any information stolen or sold.) After your cards are registered, you can save money three basic ways:
1. Shop at your local stores and eat at your local restaurants as normal. When you are at the store, look for a little blue and yellow Upromise sticker below the items. When you purchase these items, a set amount of money is automatically transferred into your account by the store or company. It is really that easy! Want to know what products are eligible to help you plan your shopping trip? Visit the www.Upromise.com and find out! And guess what! For all you coupon-aholics, there are online clipable coupons on the site that immediately register to your account and offer "extra" savings on the items you are already purchasing (with or without coupons) in the store. This is savings that will be transferred to your Upromise account. Have grandparents or parents that want to help? You can send an evite to them through the site and they can register their cards to your account as well, (privately, you never see their card information, but you are informed of the amounts you receive through them)...effectively helping you save more money for college OR pay off your student loans! Many restaurants and other retail/service establishments also participate. (You can find a detailed list by area on their site, or you can search by retailer.) In fact, one of my favorite local restaurants, Azteca, participates! I usually get a rebate of about $2 every time we eat there, just for using one of my registered cards (my check card).
2. Use the Upromise.com website as a launching board when you do any and ALL of your online shopping. Upromise has thousands of corporate sponsors and businesses that offer huge discounts and rebates to your upromise account for purchasing through their links on the Upromise site. Sound complicated? It's really not! Visit www.Upromise.com and register. Then look up your favorite stores. Click on their link to launch to their website. Buy as you normally do, and receive money back in your account from those stores! For instance, Tuesdays are 10% Tuesdays. Shop as you normally do, and receive 10% back from your purchase from participating online stores on those days! Check our a recent list here. http://shop.upromise.com/mall/shopping-deals?olmsrc=E&afsrc=1&olmpos=Email|mcE6679_2&ax=mcE6679_2&cm_mmc=mc-_-email-_-OLM-_-mcE6679_2&CS_003=7914158.
3. Stack your savings! ToysRUS is an amazing participator in this program. I often get 10% back from them and free shipping by buying online. (Target too!) And what's even better about these two retailers is that I can actually stack my savings! How? Well, about 8 years ago I applied for and received a ToysRUs Upromise Master Card. I get additional money back into my Upromise account for using this card, and an even higher percentage back for using it at ToysRUs. So last year, I used my Upromise ToysRUs MasterCard, linked through the Upromise site to shop at ToysRUs.com, got free shipping, and ended up receiving over 15% back on all my purchases after I stacked all the amounts (again, by doing nothing but registering, going through the Upromise site, and using a registered card to purchase). I also paid attention to the ToysRUs adds and noted that some HUGE savings and sales on the things I wanted were happening the day BEFORE Thanksgiving and others Thanksgiving day! So I made a list, used the link, used my card, purchased with free shipping, and got WAY better sales than I found the entire year, plus received my cash back into my Upromise account! Now this ONLY works if you pay the credit card off when it comes in so that you don't waste savings on interest! Target also has a credit and a debit card that give you an immediate 5% off of EVERY purchase, so you can register and use that card, too!
It may seem confusing, but I would be happy to meet personally with you and explain it in better detail. You will find there are a lot of other ways to save money using this site that I haven't even explored here, so definitely check it out! Since this was a little more detailed post, I will be doing a separate one on how I actually organize my shopping/purchasing chart next!