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Reduce the Cost of College, Part V: Upromise

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Welcome to the part 5 of my series on ways to reduce the cost of college.  It’s been a while since we have had an update, so this one is quite overdue, I’m afraid. Just to remind you, so far, I’ve spotlighted four suggestions:

1. Graduate from college in three years rather than four

2. Go to a local community college for up to two years before transferring to a four-year university

3. Volunteer for AmeriCorps and earn nearly $5,000 toward college

4. Take advantage of education tax credits and deductions to save up to $2,000 per year.

Today I am focusing on a super easy way to save some money for college — by buying the food and other consumable goods your family already purchases. The program is called Upromise, and it was launched a decade ago. Today, there are 10 million members who direct their spending to partners of Upromise, thereby earning ‘cash back’, which gets directed to college savings.

Here’s how it works:

Go here and register your debit/credit cards and shopper cards. Once registered, you can earn in one of three ways:

  1. Shop online through upromise.com and earn 1%-25% back from eligible purchases at partner retailers, when paying with a registered credit or debit card.
  2. Earn 8% back from over 8,000 partner restaurants, when paying with a registered credit or debit card.
  3. Buy eligible items at the grocery or drug store with a registered grocery/drug store card.

Upromise also recently rolled out an ecoupons program, where you upload coupons to your shopper cards. Then, when you “redeem” the coupon, a credit for the coupon value is applied to your college savings account.

Plus, you can ask your friends and relatives to apply their cards to your savings account. Will you earn enough to pay for four years of an Ivy League degree? No, probably not. But a little bit can go along way — especially if you have a number of years to save up those small funds. If you are anyway going to purchase a particular item or eat at a particular restaurant, why not get a few dollars for your kids’ college education, too.

Are you a Upromise member? What do you think so far?

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