My first born turns 17 this month, and he is a junior in high school right now. Football season is wrapping up, he just got his license, and it seems that everything he needs is so expensive during this stage of life. So, in the middle of all of this it can be overwhelming to start to think about college. I have been tempted to put that off another year, until he is in his final year of High School and I “have” to deal with it. But the truth is, I should have started planning for it long ago, to make it easier now. The stress of saving for it can often sit in the back of my mind. I am in my 40’s and still have student loans from my college years hanging over my head, and I want my kids to be able to graduate college without that kind of debt following them as they start off their adult lives. As a result, we have been looking into many programs that will help us save and pay for college for our kids.
One program that I sure wish I had started using earlier is called Upromise. It is a great way to start saving for your kids college funds, just by doing what many of you are already doing – shopping! As a mom and wife, part of what I do is shop for my family. Upromise helps me to save for my kids’ college fund, all while I am doing things that I have to do anyway.
How Upromise Works:
- Upromiseis a free to join membership service that allows families to earn cash back for college through every day purchases
- Upromise members can earn up to 5% cash back just by shopping with Upromise partners—including more than 850+ online storesand 10,000+ restaurantsgrocery and drugstore locations. Popular online retail partners include Amazon.com, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Staples and more
To date, Upromise members have earned over $850,000,000 and counting, helping families contribute to college tuition, expenses and loans. Members can allocate their cash back earnings in several ways to help plan, save and pay for college.
Upromise members can:
- Transfer earnings to eligible 529 plans or high-yield savings accounts
- Apply earnings to student loan repayment
- Request a check for cash for books and other expenses
- Split up earnings across multiple beneficiaries
They partner with tons of businesses, so chances are you will be able to earn for college simply by continuing your same shopping patterns. We also include information in our weekly grocery store sale and coupon match up lists to alert you when there is a Upromise coupon available to use for each weekly sales cycle, to allow you to save and earn at the same time!
Financial Elephant In the Room Campaign – Share Your Challenges, And Start Saving Now!
Upromise recently launched its “Financial Elephant in the Room Campaign,” aimed at encouraging an open and honest conversation among families to address common financial worries (or, “elephants in the room”), and face them head on. Financial “elephants” can include paying off college debt or neglecting to save for your children’s college education, among other topics.
One of the most common financial “elephants” is that families struggle to save for college. In fact, according to a recent survey by Sallie Mae, only half of all families with children under 18 have saved any money for college. My family falls into the half that has not saved for college (and I have three kids under 18).
I remember when my first son was born just about 17 years ago, and I had so many plans to start saving when he was really young, and then life happened. I was busy just paying our monthly bills, and paying my college loans and never made it past a few hundred dollars added to his “college” fund. Using something like Upromise would have made that process much easier, as I would not have had to take anything out of my monthly budget to get some money put away regularly. I would have just made sure I used this program when I shopped. During our lean years (budgets were tight), Upromise would have been the perfect solution, as it’s free and could have been used with our regular spending habits. I am hoping that by sharing this information with you, you will get a jump start on your kids’ college savings earlier than I did!
That’s my story, now we would love to hear from you! Share your financial “elephants in the room” on Facebook here, or on Twitter @Upromise, using the #MyFinancialElephant hashtag.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Upromise. All opinions are 100% mine. See our disclosure policy for more details.