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It is possible to earn college savings by shopping online and dining out!
My daughter is 9 years old, and I have over $7,000 in college savings that I got without pulling money from my bank account. And of course, she’s not yet old enough for grants or loans. How did I get this money? By shopping! No joke. My method for saving for college is legit, and it’s quite fun! So, what is my hack to get free college money?
Upromise is a college savings rewards program. If you shop online, you can get a percentage of your purchase back. Similar to other cash back websites, they are affiliated with hundreds of companies. They sometimes offer bonus percentages, which means more money back. Before I shop online, I go to Upromise.com, choose “shop online,” input the store where I plan to shop (ie. Macy’s), and shop on the store’s website as I normally would. After the store confirms with Upromise that my purchase went through, a percentage of the purchase will be applied to my Upromise account.
Cash back can also be earned by linking your credit or debit card to Upromise, and using that card when I dine at affiliated restaurants. So, eating out actually saves money for college! Upromise also offers a credit card that provides cash back too.
How to get the money from Upromise
The money in your Upromise account can be transferred to a bank account, a 529 savings account, or a check can be sent. I choose to get the money sent to the 529 account. Read on to learn how I grow my money using the 529 plan.
A 529 plan is a is a tax-advantaged college savings investment account used for saving for higher education expenses. In other words, you get a tax-deduction for saving for college. This plan is free. And they have options for guaranteed savings, or a higher-risk savings (stocks). I live in Pennsylvania, so I have my 529 plan through my state. I believe all states have a 529 plan option. Just do a quick online search for your local 529 plan options.
I choose to fund the 529 account with money from shopping. Money can also be added from a bank account transfer or direct deposit.
So, not only can my money grow in the 529 account, but it’s tax deductible!
How I use the 529 plan to grow college money
When my Upromise account is credited, I get the money transferred to my daughter’s 529 account. Upromise can do that automatically. I also get a portion of the money added to my daughter’s Smarty Pig account. I feel more comfortable having the money in different types of savings plans since the stocks in the 529 plan can fluctuate.
Some might think that it’s enough to have the money in the 529 account, but not me! There is an even BIGGER college money-maker that I use. Read on…
SAGE SCHOLARS TUITION REWARDS
I found out about the Sage Scholars Tuition Rewards from the Pennsylvania 529 Plan website. Sage Scholars is a point system to reward you for saving for college. In other words, the money that is added to my 529 account (despite it coming from my shopping), gains points. Those points from Sage Scholars can be used at an affiliated college or university of our choosing. Sage Scholars is affiliated with hundreds of colleges throughout the U.S. See the list here.
How Sage Scholars Tuition Rewards Points work
The Sage Scholars Tuition Rewards program gives you points for adding money to a connected 529 plan. The points that are earned from Sage Scholars are equal to AT LEAST one point per dollar. I have over 6800 points in my daughter’s account. That means, if she has at least $6,800 for school if she goes to one of the affiliated colleges. And depending on the school, the points my be worth 2 or 3 times that amount! I learned about this program through the Pennsylvania 529 website, and I’m so glad I signed up.
And so you know, this program is free, as well. Plus, you can get 500 points just for signing up. That’s an automatic $500 to use at an affiliated school! They also give a minimum of 50 points per year, per account.
Not only does it give me peace of mind knowing that my daughter has money for school, but I must admit, shopping while earning that money is fun!
Check out my YouTube video to get more details: