I know I've written about Upromise before, but I felt that with all the holiday shopping underway, it might be worth a reminder. It's free, it's easy, you just set up an account and for any shopping that you complete, participating vendors will contribute a certain percentage of the sale (between 1-25%) in to your Upromise account.
You can then chose to invest that money in to a high-yield savings account or tax-deferred 529 plan; use it to pay down a student loan; or request a check that can be used for college or other expenses. Best yet, friends and family can participate and a percentage of their purchases can also go in to YOUR account. It's brilliant. And easy. And free!
We just started our Christmas shopping this past weekend and I've done all of it, online, through Upromise. Pottery Barn Kids is there, as is LL Bean, Lands End, Target, Walmart, Sears and Ghiradelli chocolate.
You can also search for particular items (i.e. Automoblox and Magna Tiles. Done!)
Sometimes you can find better prices on the internet than what you can find through Upromise, but sometimes you can't. For example, ShoeMall.com is currently offering 20% off all purchases. AND, if you access that site through Upromise, they will contribute an additional 10% of your sales price to your Upromise account.
In the course of buying things that we would be purchasing anyway, I have added almost $70.00 to our children's college fund in the past two days. While this might not seem like much, over time, it adds up and seeing as we'll have four children going to college at approximately the same time, every penny helps. Especially since in the past two days, I've spent a small fortune on boots. And sweaters. And flannel pajamas. And mittens. And hats. And coats. And snow pants. And snow shovels. And more robust ice scrapers.
(And maybe a little bit of Ghiradelli chocolate to help me get through it all.)
We're hemorrhaging money over here. But thanks to Upromise, it's a tiny bit less painful now that we can see at least a portion of our expenses going back in to the pot.