Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spend Money AND Pay Your Student Loans with UPromise Loan Link

Unless you live in a bubble you've probably heard of UPromise - the funky program that lets parents earn money towards their child's education by shopping. I don't think my parents ever joined it because I went to college like a decade ago (damn I'm getting old) and it may not have been around back then. To be honest, I thought it was a conspiracy created by the grocery stores so that people will buy name brand cereal.

But when I was digging through my email looking for my password to I found this letter from Aunt Sallie (she writes me ALL the time). Here's what she had to say:

Dear Niece:

As a college graduate with a Sallie Mae® loan, you may want to know about an easy way to help pay down your eligible* student loans. It's called Upromise Loan LinkSM.

And it's a free service from Sallie Mae.

With Upromise®, you can earn money for college when you shop, go out to eat, travel, fill your gas tank, and more. In fact, there are thousands of restaurants, hotels, services, and online stores that will contribute to your Upromise account.

Then, using Upromise Loan Link, link your Upromise account to your Sallie Mae loan account to help pay down your eligible Sallie Mae-serviced student loans. Join Upromise now.

Look at an example of what your spending could get you**

Upromise members know that if they're going to spend money, they may be able to receive something back.... namely, money that pays for college.

Look at it this way: Based on $19,000 in Stafford loans, if you earn $50/year and apply it to your Sallie Mae loan account, you would reduce your loan balance by $1,006; earn $100/year, and reduce the same loan balance by $1,976; earn $176/year, reduce the loan balance by $3,377.***

Enroll in Upromise today. Then use Upromise Loan Link to help pay down your eligible Sallie Mae-serviced student loans†. Join now.

Aunt Sallie
(By the way payment is due soon so start donating plasma)

Anyway, so when I got this email I thought " Aunt Sallie, I don't have any money to sign up for netflix or send people flowers, go away." But luckily I never deleted it and when the time came for me to do some spending, I was reminded of the opportunity.

And, okay, it still might be a conspiracy to buy name-brand cereal, but I just earned $5 towards my student loans by buying my plane ticket to the out of town wedding!

$5 down, $130,000 to go!!!

(Note that this was not a sponsored post but if the good folks at UPromise Loan Link want to send some money my way, I would not complain).

By the way, my plane ticket cost $505 so I now have $15 left over from the amount budgeted.


Jim ~ said...

I'm not sure if I like the Upromise system. Seems interesting that it's retroactive in paying down your current loans. I see these systems as a way for parents to save for the future. To me it would be better to put a consistent amount into a mutual fund from the time they're born until age 18. I've done projections on college cost and figure it will cost around $150k for a 4 year state school 18 years from now. Depending on the timing of everything, I would start with small contributions and as they get older and the numbers become more clear, adjusting things accordingly. Good luck with your student loan debt though, we're in the same situation.

I would save that $15 left over for the check bag fee you'll probably get hit with later. These airlines are finding ways to get more money out of people all the time.

Sallie's Niece said...

Oh very true but now I just realized I forgot to budget $15 for my prescriptions so poof it's now taken care of. Bummer.

Shtinkykat said...

Funny you should blog about Upromise. I was about to write about my account too. I haven't really purchased stuff through the Upromise site but I've registered my supermarket cards and my cc's in the Upromise diner program. Over the past 4.5 years, I've only been able to accrue $36. Sigh, so it's not going to make a significant dent in my student loan payments. As long as you don't buy stuff that you don't need to accrue Upromise dollars, I think it's still a good program, though.

Daizy said...

That was my first thought too...shouldn't you be paying your loan payment instead of buying shoes, magazines, flowers and Netflicks? But if you have to buy a plane ticket anyway I guess you might as well get $5.

How are you going to survive another wedding without money? Uh-oh...are you using the rent money again?

Sallie's Niece said...

Daizy - no not using rent money I promise! A few posts back I explained the only reason I'm able to go to this wedding is because of my "extra paycheck" in October. I also plan on using it to pay back my boyfriend and pay off my credit card.

And I agree that Upromise shouldn't be an excuse to buy stuff but I will keep it in mind during Christmas time.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about what shtinkykat was thinking about: I've registered all my "loyalty" cards and credit cards with Upromise, on the off-chance that I buy something that gives me some money back.
But yeah, since 2003 when I signed up, I've earned a whopping $8.87. It's the kind of thing that I wouldn't work really hard to earn money on, just use it passively (like with credit card rewards).

Oh, and I read somewhere that there's a way to request the money if you don't have a loan with a participating bank...something to think about for the other loans people might have.

Sallie's Niece said...

Just a quick update - I received $5.05 in my Upromise account today from the plane ticket. Not sure if I should transfer it over to Aunt Sallie right now or wait until I have a larger amount. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

I've been a Upromise member since 2001. I had like $30 in my account before having two kids and checking my account again in 2003. What the heck it sounded good so I tried to do some things I was doing anyway and got hooked. We have over $2,000 in savings now. I will say this, I do have the credit card, but still use my miles and other rewards cards too. My family is signed up and they have actually saved about half of what we have. I'm finding outside of those two ways also make sure you shop through their web site if you shop online. I mean every retail company is listed on their site and I seem to be getting every deal and discount at the same time I get free money. Then sign up with eRewards surveys through Upromise. Once you hit $100 in eRewards money you can transfer it to $50 in Upromise. Overall, I guess this service is what you make of it. It's not going to pay for the girls college education, but if it pays for books, fees, etc...then its a no brainer. - Kevin.

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