(( This post was copied from the MyBlueCrayon blog ))

I signed up for Upromise over a year ago. The savings came slowly at first. – I rarely shop at participating grocery stores and restaurants and I keep forgetting to start my online purchases from the Upromise website. … But with a little retraining of my ways, I am starting to see some nice results. For those of you that are curious about Upromise but not eager to read the terms, I will sum up my experience:

What you get:

Have you ever heard of affiliate programs? Basically, companies (such as walmart) pay others (such as Upromise) to help bring in customers. In the case of Upromise and WalMart.com , if you use a Upromise link or the Upromise toolbar to shop at Walmart.com , Upromise gets between 1% and 4% of the money you spent. In return, Upromise puts 1% of the money you spent to the accounts you told them to. … In my case, if I spend $100 at WalMart.com, Upromise will pay 95 cents to Sallie Mae for my student loans and put 5 cents in my daughter’s college savings fund.

That may not sound like much. And they don’t actually pay out until you reach $25. But it adds up and takes very little effort on your part. Here are some more specific examples:

Ways I have saved:

Shop in stores as usual

Do you shop in a store that has a loyalty or reward card program? (Some popular ones are Kroger, Tom Thumb, Albertsons, and CVS) When you register your store card and credit card with Upromise and use them to buy certain items, you will get cash back in your Upromise account! Last year, when my daughter had a fever, I used my Brookshires ThankYou card to purchase a bottle of Children’s Motrin for about $6. Upromise put about 35 cents of it into my account.

Use eCoupons to buy special items in stores

For extra in-store savings, I check out Upromise’s monthly eCoupon offers. I browse through what is available and click to activate the coupons I am interested in using. Once they are activated, I just shop as usual with my rewards card. This month I will get back $3.25 on items that we would have purchased anyhow. All it took was about 5 minutes to log on, browse the offers, select what I want, and write their conditions on my shopping list.  (Conditions meaning I have to buy 2 boxes of post brand cereal in the same shopping trip instead of 1 per week … no biggie.)

Use a gift card at McDonalds instead of cash

I get another 1% back when I use a registered gift card for our monthly McDonalds trip instead of paying in cash. (Some restaurants offer bigger savings. – Especially when you use the Upromise credit card mentioned below. But I live in a small town where there isn’t much to choose from.)

Shop online

Save even more when you start your online shopping at the Upromise website or download the Upromise toolbar. I got $11 back for a single ebay transaction. If I had remembered to start at Upromise or installed my toolbar beforehand, I would have gotten another $12 when I joined Netflix.

Don’t want to waste your savings by paying shipping fees? Sites such as WalMart.com offer free delivery to your local store.

Get the Upromise credit card

I haven’t applied for the Upromise credit card yet. – But I will once I get cashback from my other credit card and improve my overall credit a little. (Hoping to get away from 20% interest soon!) … Once I do get my Upromise credit card, I will receive at least 1% on every transaction I make through it! That should make a nice dent in my student loan debt.

2020 Update

Upromise has changed over the years, but it is still good. They got rid of the sharable shopping link that let friends and family help me save without signing up for their own Upromise account. But I can still log in to their website to start my online purchases. I have saved almost $1,075 over the years through Upromise! They used to put the money straight on my student loans. Now they direct-deposit it ot my checking account where I can use it to make my payments.

The Upromise credit card gave me a lower limit than my other cards. I keep it tucked away for emergencies.

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