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Support a worthy cause with everyday purchases: Your Childrens' College Fund!

April 15th, 2009 · No Comments · Education
We highlight a lot of worthy causes on this blog, but here’s one that you’ll definitely be able to get behind if you have a family, because the beneficiary is–you!

If you haven’t heard of it. Upromise is a completely FREE program where through every day spending, both online purchases and offline purchases such as filling up your gas tank, going to McDonalds, or going to the supermarket, you can save money, a few cents at a time, for your children’s college fund.

Here’s how it works. You start off by registering your credit cards (it’s 100% safe) and your supermarket and drugstore cards. Then, you can earn points in different ways:

  1. If you shop online at stores such as eBay or the Gap or, you’ll be credited with anywhere from 1% to 15% on any purchase. The percentage varies by store, most are in the 1% to 5% range, and they’re on TOP of whatever coupons or discounts you enjoy at their site already.
  2. If you go to the supermarket or a drugstore and purchase anything from a list of hundreds of products they have, ranging from Florida’s Natural orange juice to Charmin toilet tissue to Hefty storage bags to Beech-Nut baby food, you’ll be credited with anywhere from 1% to 5% of the price. To be honest, most of the time I don’t even think about it–I check my statement and see a few dollars from purchases I would have made anyway.
  3. One cool new feature is called “eCoupons”. They’re coupons which you don’t have to clip or print–you just click a button on their Web site, buy that item in the supermarket, and you get money credited to your account.
  4. If you fill up your gas at Exxon or Mobil, you get a percentage of your purchase price back.
  5. You can earn points by dining out at over 8000 restaurants.
  6. There are also special offers of cashback for banking, insurance, mortgages, travel and more services which can net you thousands of dollars.

Sure, given the price of college you wouldn’t think a dollar here or there is going to help. But because you can put all the money you collect into a 529 plan which is completely free of federal or state tax forever, provided you use it for college expenses (Upromise even provides recommendations on all the major 529 plans). As I write this, the stock market is at a low point, which means there’s no better time to start putting money in to a 529. And with the magic of compounded interest, even a few dollars today can turn into thousands of dollars by the time your children go to college.

The sooner you Join Upromise, the sooner you can turn your everyday spending into college savings. And while this isn’t a typical charitable cause, bottom line is, getting your kids a decent education so they can be successful, make great contributions to this country and get this country moving again, that’s a great cause.


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