Buy presents, save cash for college at same time


When super saver Erin Libranda learned she can earn cash back for being a Upromise member, she signed up for the free program. In three years, she has saved about $1,700.

"Basically Upromise is set up to be a college savings account," Libranda said.

Anyone can join -- parents, family, friends and students. Members earn cash back at Upromise partners that include more than 800 online stores, restaurants and thousands of grocery and drug store items.

Libranda says she earns money by linking her Upromise account to her drug store and grocery store loyalty cards. She says she scores even more cash back by shopping with "Upromise" partners and using her Upromise credit cards.

"So any purchase that I make, I automatically use that so it's initially one percent minimum refund back or rebate back," she said.

The range of cash back at retailers is one to 25 percent cash back. At restaurants, it's 8 percent back and at the grocery store, it's up to $40 each month.

Take for example online retailer,; right now, the online retailer will give you 20 percent cash back on your Upromise account just for shopping.

"You get the initial one percent back just by having the card off of anything that you buy but when you go with the partners, then you get more of a refund back," Libranda said.

Libranda says you can also upload Upromise e-coupons to your Upromise account. For example if you buy Charmin toilet paper, you'll get a dollar back.

"It's like an instant rebate, 'cause they will automatically put that in your account," Libranda said.

The cash you earn from your Upromise account can be invested four ways: in a tax-deferred 529 college savings plan, deposited into a Sallie Mae high-yield savings account, used to help pay down an eligible Sallie Mae student loan or requested by check.

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