Previously in my How to Make Money Online tutorial, I introduced you to MyLikes and Swagbucks. In part three, I want to introduce you to Upromise. (Upromise is at the top of my mind today because I just submitted a request to receive another check from my account that will help pay for my daughter’s Florida Prepaid College program.)
I was an early joiner of Upromise. It was one of the first online shopping rewards programs, and from the moment I first heard about it I signed up. Having just gotten married (in May 2004), I signed up in June 2004 knowing that someday we planned to have kids. Even with no kids yet, I loved the idea of getting money back on things I was already purchasing to put away for our family someday in the future. When my daughter arrived three years later, I had already accumulated several hundred dollars in my Upromise account.
Nowadays, there are a lot of choices for online shopping rewards, so I don’t use Upromise as often as I once did for shopping, but I still use a number of other ways to earn money via Upromise.
Unlike other shopping rewards programs, Upromise is designed to save money for school. Because of this slant, you don’t automatically get cut checks like some other rewards programs, you will instead find a number of investment options (including 529 plans) that you can link to your account so that money you receive from Upromise is dumped right into a savings plan. Before my daughter was born, we just let the money sit in our Upromise account, and since we opted for Florida Prepaid we chose to withdraw the money (in the form of a check) rather than depositing it into an account affiliated with Upromise. I mention this because it shows that while you are supposed to use the money for school, the check option gives you some flexibility (read – you could really use this money for anything). For us it makes sense to earmark the money for college, but it could just as easily be used to pay for her pre-school tuition.
How to Earn Money
There are a number of ways to earn money in your Upromise account, more than I have even tried. The most obvious is by receiving a percent back from online purchases. This is done like other rewards sites where thousands of shopping websites offer you a percent back on purchases by shopping through a Upromise link (anywhere from 1 – 50%). The percentages fluctuate, and they often vary from rewards site to rewards site, so I typically shop percentages before I shop online. (I will talk about other rewards sites in future posts, but sites I like include Ebates and MyPoints.)
Another way to earn money is by grocery shopping. Have you ever seen a little Upromise logo on some of your fav brands of food? It looks like this:
That logo means that you will earn money for your Upromise account from the purchase of that item. This is done by linking your grocery/drug store rewards cards to your Upromise account. Then when you purchase these items your account is notified of the purchase and a percent of the purchase (1 – 5%) is deposited into your account.
To bump that shopping percent up even more, each month e-coupons are release for the month. When you activate these e-coupons they are also linked to your store cards so that if you purchase an item with an e-coupon you will receive the coupon value back in your account. These are great because they CAN be stacked with manufacturer coupons and store coupons! (Hint, I activate all of the e-coupons each month. While many months I don’t use any, you never know when you are going to happen across a sale that means you will be stocking up on Bounty Paper Towels, and it doesn’t count if you activate your coupons after the purchase. So I just activate them all, and go about my normal shopping.)
If your family likes to eat out, another way to earn money in your Upromise account is by dinning at participating restaurants and paying with a credit card linked to your Upromise account. Any credit card can be linked, and you will still earn your credit card points, but you will also earn a percent back via Upromise too. (Of course, Upromise would love for you to get a Upromise credit card to earn even more, but I just use my regular credit card.) You can also sign up for the preferred dinners program that will send you occasional emails and double your percent reward for each restaurant.
Finally, one of the other unique benefits of Upromise is that you can invite friends and family to help you save. When friends and family sign up to help you save, their money is automatically earmarked for your child (or children). (Don’t worry, none of the links in this post invite you to save for my kid. In fact, Upromise doesn’t have a referral program, so I don’t get any referral money by sharing this info.) Also if you have multiple kids, you can divide your account among your children so you don’t need separate accounts for each kid.
Like other shopping rewards site, you aren’t going to pay off all of your kiddo’s tuition with this program, but I am of the opinion every little bit helps. And for me, I have been able to make payments to my daughter’s Florida Prepaid, which meant bill help for my family as well as saving for my daughter.
If you aren’t already a Upromise member, I encourage you to check it out and sign up. Since it is free, you have nothing to loose. And you will be in good company, Upromise boasts 9 million participants!