Since the recent economic downturn, nearly every retailer or service provider has a coupon, rewards program or free gift with purchase. Because of this, I find it generally painful and sometimes impossible to buy something without added incentive.
So I don't.
I still owe a substantial sum on my law school loans - a fact which can be attributed to my cavalier attitude toward spending in my twenties as mentioned here. A decade later, I now hold Suze Ormon in higher regard than Holly Golightly, but I remain a superconsumer. Thankfully, there's a way attribute a portion of what I spend to paying off my loans.
U Promise is free program that helps you save for college or pay off student loans you already have. Sign up and link your 529 plan or student loan account. Then shop online, eat out or buy groceries and a percentage of your spend will accumulate in your account. Quarterly, the savings will be applied to either a college savings account or a student loan balance you already have. Family and friends can earn on your behalf, as well. It's decidedly nifty.
Once signed up, you can register credit and debit cards so that the purchases made with those cards are counted toward your savings. When shopping online, you can either start at the U Promise website or download the Turbosaver toolbar that alerts you to participating retailers and the percentage you can earn. The number of companies U Promise has managed to wrangle aboard is impressive.
Many of the online retailers contribute 1% - 8% of the purchase to U Promise. Let's say that 4% is quite common. Retailers routinely run promotions. Interesting. Do tell. For example, you can earn 20% for the next two days at oldnavy.com. WHAT? We agree. That's plain ridiculous.
Between Pottery Barn Kids, Giggle.com, Walgreens, J Crew, Peapod, Diapers.com, Barnes & Noble and dining out, I've earned roughly $495 each year for the past two, which translates into one extra payment to Sallie Mae each year, as well. So I shop ... A LOT. Still, even if you aren't a self-proclaimed superconsumer, every bit helps.
I encourage everyone to give U Promise a shot. It's free, simple to use and a great way to save for your kids future or an education already received.
Do you use U Promise already? Do you love it? How much have you earned? Please leave a comment and share your fuss with us.