A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Top 5 Sites for Online Holiday Deals. Since then, I realized I left out a sixth deal that’s perfect for holiday savings—but also can help you save throughout the year. It’s Upromise.
If you haven’t heard of this, let me sum it up for you: Save money for your children’s education (or your own) by making purchases through Upromise vendors and partners. You sign up online for free, registering your grocery store shopper cards and credit/debit cards. You also can register other people’s cards, if they’ll let you. I have both my Kroger and Bigg’s shopper cards registered, plus my husband’s and my debit cards.
Then, you start shopping. For grocery items, you can earn 1% to 5% of your purchase of participating brands (e.g., Tylenol, Coca-Cola, One A Day, Enfamil, Huggies, Tide, and Lysol). If you buy a $20 bottle of detergent, for instance, you earn 60 cents toward college savings. I haven’t saved a ton through grocery purchases, because many of my favorite brands don’t happen to be Upromise ones. (Pampers, ThermaCare, and Coke Zero, why can’t you be on the list?!)
But I’ve done quite well with my online shopping, earning anywhere from 1% to 25% per purchase, through their partners. For example, I just ordered some flowers through FTD.com and saved $5.50. The trick is to use the website as your shopping hub. You have to click through that to any of the retailers’ sites in order to make your purchase count. Or make it easy on yourself and get their toolbar, which alerts you if you’re on a participating site and automatically assigns savings to your account.
All the big online retailers participate: Wal-Mart, Target, JCPenney, Best Buy, Hallmark, L.L. Bean, and lots more. Plus, many partners offer additional deals for members, such as free shipping or an extra discount. During the holidays, you can find even more online deals than usual. All the while, you’re plunking more dollars and cents into your kids’ virtual piggy bank.
Other ways to save include getting a Citi Upromise credit card; eating at certain restaurants; and participating in their school fundraising program.
All these savings are automatically deposited into a non-interest-bearing account, which can be linked to a 529 college savings account. (What’s a 529, you ask? Find out from the Motley Fool, my favorite financial website.) Periodically, Upromise transfers the funds into your 529, and voila—you get a nice, easy boost to your educational funding.
Happy last-minute holiday shopping—and, I hope, saving for the future.