Costs for education, especially college, represent a major challenge for most Americans. Finding the extra money to put away for a child’s college fund or for adult continuing education is particularly difficult in the current economic environment. One organization, Upromise, provides a free service that enables consumers to generate cash back rewards that can be saved and spent for a variety of educational needs.

Accessible through their website,, Upromise helps more than 9.5 million members earn cash back rewards ranging from 1% up to 25% on eligible purchases of products and services from thousands of leading American companies:

  • 1% to 3% cash back from purchases at over 21,000 grocery and drug stores nationwide
  • 1% to 25% cash back from eligible purchases at over 600 online stores
  • Up to 8% cash back on meals at over 8000 participating restaurants throughout the U.S.

Generating these rewards for yourself is easy: 1) register at; 2) register your participating grocery store and drug store shopping cards with Upromise and then use the cards whenever you shop; 3) use the website as your gateway for online shopping; and 4) sign up as a preferred diner, register a debit or credit card you use for eating out, and then dine at participating restaurants. The cash rewards from each eligible purchase are credited to your secure Upromise savings account within 30 to 90 days after the purchase.

Three additional features worth noting:

  • Friends and family members can sign up to contribute cash back rewards from their purchases to your Upromise account
  • Your Upromise account funds have no “use it or lose it” expiration date
  • Upromise also offers eCoupons that can be loaded onto your shopping cards to generate as much as $30 in college savings funds each month when you purchase the select grocery and household items, such as Charmin toilet paper. Coupons are “clipped” online and added directly to your store card, but the savings are deposited into your uPromise account. To learn more about Upromise eCoupons, go to Upromise eCoupons, or view the demo video at Upromise eCoupons video.

Once you have an account and are accumulating cash rewards, you have a number of options for redeeming your savings. If you are pursuing adult education opportunities to upgrade skills or support a career change, you can request a check to pay for ongoing education expenses. If you are carrying a Sallie Mae student loan, you can use the funds to pay down the balance of the debt. If you are saving for the future education of your children, you can invest your Upromise account funds in a 529 Plan managed by Upromise Investments, Inc. You have a choice of direct, advisor and prepaid plans sponsored in 11 states, and, overall, Upromise Investments has over 1 million accounts and total assets exceeding $19 billion dollars.

If education costs are a budget issue for you and your family, take a serious look at It’s straightforward, costs you nothing to participate, and can produce immediate or long term benefits. In the realm of investing in the future, you can’t do much better than that.

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