By the time my husband and I graduated from college (my husband in 2009 and myself in 2011) we had accumulated nearly $100,000 in student loan debt. Just writing that makes me feel nauseous. Immediately after graduating we started working on a plan to pay off our debt quickly. Our goal is to have these loans paid off by December 2015. Reaching our goal is taking a ton of work. We’ve learned how to live frugally, budget and cut down our expenses. We use coupons and aim to get the best deals possible while shopping. One tool I’ve learned to love is Upromise.
What is Upromise?
Upromise is a United States loyalty program where members earn cash-back savings. The cash back rewards can be used for a variety of purposes including: funding a 529 college savings plan, pay off existing student loans or simply cash back. This program was founded in 2000 by David Fialkow and is owned by Sallie Mae.
You can earn cash back rewards in a few different ways:
- Upromise Online Shopping Portal – This is a cash back rewards program for online shopping. Visit the Shopping portal and use the Upromise affiliate links to shop at your favorite stores and earn cash back.
- Upromise Dining Rewards program – Register your credit card with Upromise Dining Program to earn up to 8% cash back on your meals drinks, tax and tip. The credit card does not have to be the Upromise credit card.
- Upromise Credit Card – This credit card will help you earn additional rewards at the Upromise shopping portal and dining rewards program. You can read my review here.
- Family and Friends Link – You can invite your family and friends to your program. Now they have the ability to send you all of their earnings or just a part they feel like sharing. You can have as many people join your program as you would like.
My experience with Upromise
I personally use the Upromise online shopping portal. I haven’t tried using the dining rewards, credit card or the family and friends link so I can’t speak to these programs. The online shopping portal works great. It’s very similar to the cash-back shopping program, Ebates.
If you aren’t familiar with online cash-back shopping programs, let me explain how it works. The idea is that you earn a percentage of your online shopping back. For example, Best Buy’s Upromise cash back reward is 4%. If you spend $100 at their online website, you will earn $4.
To use Upromise, you need to register for a free account. Next, go to the Upromise shopping portal. Your home page will look something like this:
[lightbox full=”https://www.debtroundup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/upromise-screenshot.jpg” title=”Upromise”]See Full Size Screenshot[/lightbox]
Now find the store you would like to shop at. Upromise offers cash-back at hundreds of stores. You can search for stores by category, name, by product you are shopping for, and even search for stores that offer free shipping. As someone living on a tight budget, free shipping is a must!
Once you find the store you would like to shop at, simply click on the link and Upromise will direct you to the retailer’s website. Make sure to complete your shopping in this window. Once you make your purchase, your account will be credited typically within ten days. Sometimes the cash-back may take up to 45 days to be credited to your account. If you have any concerns, make sure to reach out to customer service.
What I love about Upromise
The best thing about Upromise is their cash-back rates. I had an account with Ebates and use online cash-back shopping as much as possible. When I signed up for a free account with Upromise, I was surprised to see how much cash-back I could earn. Upromise appears to have higher cash-back rates than Ebates. I didn’t compare every single store, but on a general note, the cash back rates seem to be higher.
After seeing how much more I could earn, I started primarily using the Upromise program and I haven’t been disappointed. The program is easy to use and reliable. You won’t get rich, but if you stick with it you can earn a lot of cash back rewards over time.
Upromise offers great tools to help you save money and pay off your student loans. Saving a few dollars here and there adds up over time. I’ll also be signing up for the dining rewards program to earn even more cash-back rewards. Paying off student loans is a marathon, not a sprint. Every dollar I earn in cash-back rewards is a dollar closer to debt freedom. Even if you don’t have student loan debt, this could be a great tool to help you save money for your children’s college funds. You could even help a friend pay off their student loan debt by participating in the family and friends link.
Do you use Upromise or thought about signing up?