Eight years ago, I went nuts and signed up for everything I could that would make me even a little more money. For example, I got credit cards that paid good rewards and made sure never to carry a balance on them. I signed up for frequent flier programs on every airline and hotel even though I rarely travel.
I also signed up for the topic of today’s post, Upromise, to save money for college. It didn’t matter that I didn’t intend to go back to college or that I wasn’t even close to thinking about fathering kids. (It was more than 6 years before I became a father.) The point was to pick up as much free money as I could.
I forgot about my account and let it sit, year after year. Recently my 529 plan said that it was partnering with Upromise and suggested that I connect accounts. This got me thinking about that Upromise account again. After retrieving my password and signing in, I found that I had a $6.40 waiting for me. By the time my son hits college (year 2030… BAM… I’M OLD!), it will probably buy him a taco or two. Suffice to say, I wasn’t that impressed with Upromise.
I didn’t expect there to be that much money in the account. However, I had figured that using my credit cards that were attached to the account to add up to a little more. It was around this time that I realized that I don’t use most of the credit cards that I used in 2006. I wasn’t making any money for years. I tried to add my current cards, but Upromise seemed to try push me to sign up for its own credit card. I get better rewards elsewhere, so that’s not going to work for me. I gave up, closed my Firefox tab, and moved on.
Fast-forward one week. I was comparing financial notes with a friend as we do from time to time. Coincidentally she brought up Upromise and how their account was around $8000. Whoa! That’s like thousands of tacos! She’s ten years older than me (almost to the day) and their children are older too. Suddenly uPromise was very interesting.
I gave Upromise another chance and found the hidden place to add my current credit cards (I believe I had to sign up for Upromise Local, which triggered the menu). Then I looked around to see where I can shop to earn points. This is when I became sad again.
I happen to do almost all of my shopping at Amazon.com because they have competitive prices and, as a Prime member, I get the product in 2 days much of the time. Of course Amazon isn’t one of the hundreds (thousands?) of merchants listed. In going through them, the only one that caught my eye is 1-800-Pet-Meds, a company that we use for my dog’s flea and tick medicine. There was also a local restaurant that we go to a few times a year. Overall, I didn’t see a lot of ways to earn money with my frugal spending habits.
So this is where you come in. Are you using Upromise? If so, what are you doing to earn back rewards? Most importantly, are you getting significant money from it?
Basically I’ve had the same results. Frugality doesn’t seem to add up in the Spending rewards situations. On the plus side, we are keeping more of our money in the first place. If we have to eat at a restaurant and pay $50 to get $2 in our account (just an example, I have no idea) then we are keeping the whole $52.