I Promise, Do You?

Have you heard about upromise? It’s a college savings program that basically a rewards program that sets money into a college savings program based on a percentage of what you spend when you shop. It sounds simple, right?

All you do is register any of your credit cards and the system automatically tracks your “qualified” purchases. Qualified purchases are those that are made with the retailers that they work with.

But here’s the trouble: I don’t regularly shop at any of these places. And sometimes the purchases must be made online.

I signed up with upromise almost exactly a year ago. In atypical behavior, for me, I didn’t check the list of retailers before I signed up. But in typical behavior I only registered one card. I chose the one I used the most (my credit union debit card) and left off the AmEx (my only other card).

To date I have earned my children ZERO dollars and ZERO pennies. Again, I just don’t shop at the places upromise contracts with. But, I’m not pulling the plug on upromise. Part of the reason I haven’t earned anything is because I need to spend a little more time with it. I need to register my grocery store cards (not credit cards, the other club cards) and possibly add the AmEx. Though I’m not convinced it’s worth the time. I probably save more money just by shopping for deals than I would with upromise.

To my kids: I promise I’ll help you out with college, just don’t count on upromise to fund it.

Click the comment below to read how upromise pays off for a reader.

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One Comment

  1. Kevin
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hey Celeste – I joined Upromise back in 2001 and didn’t pay attention to it for about 2 years. I can’t even remember why I went back, but when I did I had $3 in it. I was actually surprised I had money in my account. When I checked it was for eating out at one of their restaurants, a couple of retailers I made purchases at and some other things. That’s when I started to pay attention to it. Two kids coming along at the time can also help. My wife also joined.Since 2003, we have managed to save nearly $1,600. I got the Upromise credit card and use that about 50% of the time. The other purchases go on Amex and another card. Those other cards are registered in my Upromise account too just in case I purchase somewhere but forget they are in the Upromise program. We both shop online from the Upromise web site and have put at least $300 in our account from that. We also have some family and a couple of friends with no kids linked as family and friends and they have helped save almost half of what we have. Just the other day we needed to do some work on our house and found that ServiceMagic is there so we did a quote through the site and got $4. We also hired one of the contractors. You can also now get money for taking surveys and that is starting to add up too.Overall, I don’t see this paying for tuition, but I use it like I use Amex Rewards and put some money away and have it transfered into a 529. If this pays for books, fees or whatever when my kids are going to college, then I think it works out just fine.My advice is look around and try some things out and see what you start to save. It actually made us start a 529 accounts so we could put the money to better use. Heck, some of the things we are both doing anyway and some things we have done because we saw them on the site. Good luck to you with it!Kevin

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