Saturday, January 17

College Costs

College Is Expensive!This post is a bit of a departure from my normal fare. It's not really a review, as I don't even know anyone using this service, and it is a commercial program.

To make a long story short, I'm intrigued about the Upromise* program. From reading their web site it looks like they encourage students to enroll in their program, for free, to earn money for college by using a points style card when spending.

Earned money goes into their Upromise account and can be used to "a) invest in a 529 college savings plan b) pay down student loans or c) receive a check for college expenses."

Additionally, family members can also enroll in the program and the money they earn will also accrue to the student.

It seems that this savings program might be fairly effortless. This is especially true if the greater family gets together to help a student with college costs. If you are a student go check it out -- you have nothing to lose.


* The link above is an affiliate link, feel free to go to Upromise.com directly if you aren't in favor of affiliate programs.

Frugal Guy said...
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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Before signing up, look through the details on the web site to determine how much participation you really want to do.

Reason: my shopper card points at the grocery store haven't resulted in much "savings" by themselves.

You have to go to additional efforts such as on-line shopping through the upromise portal or registering your bank cards.

Frugal Guy said...

Anon, thanks a lot for leaving a heads up about this program!

Anonymous said...

The catch is you must buy name brand products instead of generics. You may be able to save more money by buying generics and saving the money you would have spent on pricey brands that you pay for the packaging and advertisements. The best college savings plan is to take Economics 101 and save every penny no matter how small the amount since you are able to. It is never too late and you will have more in the long run. Some people have to have name brands for whatever reason and then the Upromise program works if you get stuff on sale and use coupons. Good luck.

Frugal Guy said...

Anon, it's important to recognize, as you mention, that different things work for different people.

While some of us focus very diligently on saving every penny, the majority of society does not.

A middle class family given the option to generate a significant amount of money for a relative's college costs using a points style program might just find it a great fit with their lifestyle.

Alternately, saving is something that the majority of society seems to have forgotten how to do. Moralizing about what people should or should not do isn't going to help people who can't save, save.

Anonymous said...

There is one person that can help. You are right it depends on the person, if they have time, energy, care or ect.. Some people are just too lazy or ect.. I agree. One person who can help is Clark Howard. His new show is great on CNN. You can also go to Clark Howard at CNN.com for more advice. He just did a show this weekend on this subject. He was able to retire at 31. He admitted he can handle most generics except soda. It is a great idea to use relatives points too. Have a great week. Happy Saving. Just like beauty saving is in the eye of the beholder.

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Frugal Guy said...

Caren, wow, really, it will increase my traffic by linking to you? That's great!

Sign me up. How much does it cost?

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Anonymous said...

Don't forget to apply for scholarships early. They really help and they have some for everyone. The best way to get more is to send thank you notes for the ones you do get.

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Anonymous said...

I have found Upromise to be worthwhile. While I don't actually shop at the grocery stores that participate in their program, I have saved an additional $2670 for my child for college in the last 4 years just by using my linked credit or debit card. That said, I am a responsible credit card user who pays off the card every month. I also do a lot of my shopping on line so it may fit in better with my lifestyle. The fact of the matter is, you whether you buy their brands or not, any additional savings you can get from them, even $5 is more then you had before. I have also found that by booking things like car rentals, etc. through them, they actually got me a much better rate. Like anything else, you need to be an informed consumer before spending money. I would never pay extra just to get the Upromise contribution if I found the item cheaper elsewhere.

Frugal Guy said...

Anon, thanks for relating your experiences.

I know, based on my own family history, that many families are in a position where they have never sent anyone on to college before.

During my college days things were pretty tight and I was working midnights at the local grocery store to help pay my way.

Finding a way to get a good education really opens the door later on to career positions with opportunities for healthy wages.

For those extended family members out there, this is a way for you to help you relatives get their children through college. Heck, I don't care if you use Upromise or not, but I like the idea that you can give without having to be asked, and without having to dig into your pocket directly.

If you have multiple grandchildren, for example, you could probably alternate where your contributing earnings were allotted -- without any direct out of pocket expense.

This all seems pretty cool to me -- especially given my background and the inability for my extended family to offer substantial financial support at that time in my life.

Anonymous said...

This is one area that is tough for many people. Some still cannot find the money or support they need. They just have to do the best they can. Money is not everything and you can't take it with you when you go. My Dad worked Graveyard shifts and went to college during the day. Yes he was sucessful but, it killed him. He was dead at 56. So sad. Just do what you can do dont' kill yourself. You truly cannot take it with you when you go. He even took illegal drugs to do so. We will never see him again. Find what it is worth to you.....

Frugal Guy said...

I think a few people need to start their own blog...

You can do it anonymously. If you don't like the way you write, it will get better as you get used to blogging and reviewing your own work.

Get out there. You have to much to say to squish into comments on the blog of someone else.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend the UPromise program - there really is no downside. Upromise partners have contributed about $1500 for my 2 year old's college tuition (Ok, so I signed up a few years before she was born!) The highest contributions have come from refinancing my mortgage (about $450) and the monthly contributions from using the Upromise credit card (1% of EVERYTHING). I estimate we will add about $350/annually in free money to the 529 plan with little effort on my part (shopping online, using the credit card, eating at participating restaurants.)

click4credit said...

Great post!

I agree with some of the posts that they (those who would like to sign up with Upromise) should check out the detaisl first. But, I would also like yo give Upromise credit for, at least helping people save for college especiall with the current financial crisis.

Survival Knowledge... said...

I have been using uPromise for about 5 years and have been able to save about $2000 with almost no effort on my part. In the first few years of the program you used to be able to sell your American Airlines frequent flyer points... unfortunately they stopped that... but there are still a lot of good opportunities to save.

Cindy said...

Nice post. Thanks for the info.