Author Topic: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?  (Read 12290 times)

Alex in Virginia

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 52
Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« on: April 09, 2013, 05:36:14 AM »
I just did  a search on this forum site and got no hits for u-promise.  Joshua Kennon literally raves about how much money that program saves/makes him.  Anyone here have any experience with the program?

I went to the u-promise website and signed myself up in about 2 minutes flat.  Then I was offered a chance to apply for a u-promise mastercard that boosts the discounts up even more.  Got that process done in about another minute, got approved for the card in 15 seconds and it is now on its way.

So... any comments on U-Promise?

Alex in Virginia

justchristine

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2013, 06:29:17 AM »
I've used it for a few years and I earned about $50 back...total.  I don't have their Mastercard so that might increase your savings but if you're at a Mustachian level of spending, you probably won't be earning alot. 

I just took a quick look at their credit card deal and I get more cash back with my American Express Blue card.

TLV

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 492
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Bellevue, WA
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2013, 10:23:11 AM »
I signed up for it a while back - after reading one of Kennon's posts about it, actually. I don't think we've gotten a penny. It gives you money back if you go to certain restaurants (we don't eat out), buy certain foods (all processed junk) at the grocery store, and go through their website before shopping at certain online retailers (none that we shop at regularly).

Edit: I just checked, looks like I've actually gotten 24 cents despite myself.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 01:45:35 PM by TLV »

Blazin

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2013, 01:29:00 PM »
We have gotten several hundred dollars back.  I think most of the money we have received is from relatives that also registered on behalf of my children.   We don't go out to eat much, but have been surprised when we do that we often get a couple of dollars in our u-promise account. 

tuyop

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2013, 01:49:31 PM »
We have gotten several hundred dollars back.  I think most of the money we have received is from relatives that also registered on behalf of my children.   We don't go out to eat much, but have been surprised when we do that we often get a couple of dollars in our u-promise account.

So it's kind of a pyramid scheme?

jenstill

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: Vermont
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2013, 02:13:50 PM »
I signed up about 11 years ago, hoping to contribute towards my oldest kid's college. She's finishing up her first year of college now. Just got my statement today. In all that time, I've earned $54. So, while I never had a problem from them (no hacked accounts, sales pitches, etc) and I don't believe it's a pyramid scheme, I don't think it's profitable unless you eat out a lot, buy a lot of name-brand packaged foods, shop online a lot (and remember to launch from their site), or travel a great deal. I rarely do any of those things. So, it's $54 I got in 11 years of normal spending that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Nothing to write home about, but I'm not going to knock 54 free dollars, either.

rugorak

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 382
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2013, 03:49:22 PM »
I signed up when I was in college. After years of having it and ended up paying off all my loans I had a total of $20 in there. Basically it is like manufacturer coupons. If you buy that stuff you save money. But most mustachians probably won't buy much (if any) of that stuff so probably won't see anything huge. If you have kids who will be going to college and unmustachian relatives it might be good to get them to join you. Otherwise probably not worth the effort.

Blazin

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2013, 04:29:01 PM »
Not really a pyramid scheme, but we had sent our family the information after having our first child 10 years ago and several people registered for us.   We have relatives who go out to eat a lot! 

A440

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 03:06:28 PM »
I checked and I've gotten $336 back.  It looks like most of that is from the credit card, which in general gets 1% back, but they do have offers from time to time for 5% on various stores or extra $ back using it for paying for cable (which we didn't have, but our internet comes from the cable people).  Most of online shopping would probably not be very mustachian, but I did get some things through lowes.com, so I could get 10% back and then just pick up at the store. 




grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4815
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 03:34:07 PM »
Is it still worth it after you give up the much higher rewards from a non-Upromise credit card?

superheropunk

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • former credit addict
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2013, 03:38:50 PM »
I have also had Upromise for a number of years but you really have to work at it to make any real money as part of a college fund...

Just registing a credit card and eating out isn't going to earn you a lot of money. For one thing, not every restaurant is a member so you can only eat at certian places if you want to earn money back.

It probably makes sense to give it a try but don't expect any significant dollars. In the end, you still have to spend a lot of money to get some of the money back...


A440

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2013, 10:07:01 PM »
Grantmeaname,

I think it was worth it at times for the special offers, which I can't remember exactly, but something like $25 back if you spent $500 or some extra bonus for having a recurring payment like internet.  The card issuer has changed and I don't think there are as many of those.  It wouldn't be one of my top choices now.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8772
  • Registered member
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2013, 11:28:53 PM »
I signed up for it many years ago.  Forgot about it and moved to a different state.  Recently I noticed that the database of unclaimed funds listed my account.  It had like $10 that I could claim, but it wasn't really worth the effort (I'd have to get some certification that I was who I said I was, and have it notorized or some such hassle that would take a few hours of my time).   That said, if I had a significant amount of money, I guess this is one approach to sidestepping the whole "use it for education" thing.

simonsez

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 796
  • Age: 33
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2013, 07:34:13 AM »
Has anyone done U-Promise in conjunction with the Sallie Mae World Mastercard?  I personally haven't but it seems the groceries and gas would significantly contribute ($300/month on groceries/gas would be $180/year alone in possible U-Promise rewards) to building the U-Promise account at 5% cash back.  Just curious.

https://www.salliemae.com/landing/WorldCreditCard/

snellbert

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2013, 12:59:17 PM »
I get the impression that Joshua Kennon spends a lot of money in order to get the UPromise rewards that he gets. I like the guy a lot, but he often mentions the expensive clothes/shoes/colognes that he buys. Since he can afford it and it's worth it to him, carry on, but I think that the typical audience here does a lot less consumer spending in general-- which seems to be the way to make the card work for you.

I actually have a UPromise card, for the $25 bonus I got when signing up. I think I've used it twice. I get far better rewards (1% on everything and up to 5% on the "specials categories" that change monthly) on my Discover card that I've had since college.

chucklesmcgee

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 613
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2013, 06:33:11 PM »
U-Promise program itself just isn't that great. Making any significant amount on UPromise usually requires a pretty significant and dedicated amount of planning prior to making a purchase- which is exactly why merchants sign on in the first place. Most of those merchants are selling junk you don't need in the first place at prices that are much higher than other stores. The restaurant program is probably the best, but I don't think most Mustachians eat out enough to make it worthwhile.

athomeintheworld

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2013, 06:18:57 PM »
Total of $7000 from Upromise over about 6 years.  From the website only, don't have the credit card. 

Increase your $ back by having friends/family using your user/password to log in for their online purchases.  Remember that many large/expensive purchases can be bought online through Upromise and picked up in store (Home Depot, Best Buy etc)

liquidbanana

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2013, 10:29:37 PM »
I use it to buy toilet paper.

If you get on the dollar general email list, they have 20% site wide sales every few months. If you use that combined with 5% cashback (or 10% if you get the credit card), you basically get 25% (or 30%) off. Their toilet paper is already pretty cheap, as far as I can tell, so this makes it uber cheap. And you get free shipping if you spend more than $25. So...I buy a six month supply at a time using that method. lol

And then I get about $2/year from eating out.

I have a Sallie Mae savings account, so the cash back money is deposited there. Then I can transfer it to my other banking account.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 10:33:42 PM by liquidbanana »

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2013, 07:31:43 AM »
Is it still worth it after you give up the much higher rewards from a non-Upromise credit card?
UPromise is more like a buying-club.  You can make the purchases with any credit card, though obviously they'd like you to adopt their card.

Example: 

I think Lands End is on the UPromise website.  Let's say I decide to make a $50 purchase from Lands End.  If I remember to go through the UPromise website, I get a small percentage credited to my UPromise account.  Depending upon whether I use my VISA or my Discover, I also get the rewards points on that credit card.

My husband signed us up for UPromise perhaps ten years ago, and now we have about $120 in our kids' account.  Is it garbage?  No way!  It's $120!  Is it really substantial?  No way!  My kid's college Chemistry book is priced at $360.  Since it costs you nothing, and since it's not asking extended family to spend on wasteful fundraisers like overpriced chocolate and wrapping paper, I don't think it's a bad choice at all, but it's a mistake to think it's going to make a significant difference in the cost of your kids' college.

To "win" at UPromise, you either need to be a big spender OR have a large number of family members signed up to help you. 

Rebecca Stapler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
    • Stapler Confessions
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2013, 07:47:21 AM »
I have an account, but I think I have about $2 to my account from when we dined out at chain restaurants.

I use ebates for cash back on online shopping, which is a better return than the UPromise rewards. (in general -- I stopped looking after it was clear that ebates is better).

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4815
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2013, 10:05:27 AM »
Is it still worth it after you give up the much higher rewards from a non-Upromise credit card?
UPromise is more like a buying-club.  You can make the purchases with any credit card, though obviously they'd like you to adopt their card.
I was referring to the card, but the equivalent question still stands: do you save more money than you would if you were to use coupon codes from retailmenot and a non-education buying club like FatWallet?

athomeintheworld

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2013, 07:41:14 PM »
Thats the thing - you can use coupon codes AND get Upromise money back.  Typically 1-5%, some places more.  When I shop online I will combine a coupon code with Upromise and also get the 1-2% back for my credit card (not Upromise). 

Zamboni

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2493
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2013, 08:03:07 PM »
One of my friends says he got "tons" of money on Upromise for his son's education.  That said, he's not the most financially sound guy.  He likely didn't use other saving mechanisms so well, so "spend to save" was the best strategy for them since they were going to spend one way or another.

I've not really netted anything from it but a few pennies.  I gave up a few years ago as other rewards seemed more lucrative for my shopping needs.  I don't want to spend time goofing with it.

Hunny156

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2013, 09:15:22 AM »
Well, this post reminded me that I HAVE a upromise account, which I opened up so many years ago.  Gotta go figure out my login, but I do think we had a few hundred in there, earmarked for our nephews college education.  The oldest is 17 now, so good timing, thank you!

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2013, 11:48:04 AM »
Is it still worth it after you give up the much higher rewards from a non-Upromise credit card?
UPromise is more like a buying-club.  You can make the purchases with any credit card, though obviously they'd like you to adopt their card.
I was referring to the card, but the equivalent question still stands: do you save more money than you would if you were to use coupon codes from retailmenot and a non-education buying club like FatWallet?
Thing is, if you plan well, you can get credit towards rewards for your credit card AND use a coupon code AND get points for whichever "buying club" you choose.  I suspect there's no single "this is the best choice" answer.  Rather, just like everything else in the world, it's up to the buyer to comparison shop.

Also, I suspect the whole concept is like many other things:  If you stick to the same reward program, the points will build up and be worth something, whereas if you spread your purchases around among half a dozen sites, you'll have a piddly number of points in multiple places and will not really amount to anything worthwhile. 

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2013, 11:58:02 AM »
One of my friends says he got "tons" of money on Upromise for his son's education.  That said, he's not the most financially sound guy.  He likely didn't use other saving mechanisms so well, so "spend to save" was the best strategy for them since they were going to spend one way or another.

I've not really netted anything from it but a few pennies.  I gave up a few years ago as other rewards seemed more lucrative for my shopping needs.  I don't want to spend time goofing with it.
Wow, that spend-to-save concept really works.  Not on me, and probably not on you, but on the general public.  So many of my friends get really fired up for the Kohl's $10 Bonus Bucks sales.  Kohl's really is the king of this concept. 

I went out shopping at Kohl's for summer clearance items last week, and at the checkout they told me I'd "saved" $136, which is utterly ridiculous.  Since I would not have purchased the items at full price, I "saved" nothing.  I never hesitate to point this out to them, and the poor little clerks are so confused.  They genuinely don't get it.  I spent $80 for a big armload of things, which will be the lion's share of my daughters' and niece's spring birthday gifts next year, and I considered a fair exchange -- but "saving", no.  I didn't do that.   


lr

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 63
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2013, 11:30:37 PM »
The trick I've found is to use it for travel.  Pretty much any trip is big enough to trigger worthwhile rewards and most large travel sites, like Expedia, are in their system. 

If you travel for business, it's even better. I racked up a lot for my kid's college savings that way one year (and saved the company money by skipping their fancy travel agent).

Rebecca Stapler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
    • Stapler Confessions
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2013, 08:02:14 AM »
Thats the thing - you can use coupon codes AND get Upromise money back.  Typically 1-5%, some places more.  When I shop online I will combine a coupon code with Upromise and also get the 1-2% back for my credit card (not Upromise).

That is how ebates and shop@home work, except you get cash back quarterly.

Hunny156

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
Re: Have you anything to say about U-Promise?
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2013, 10:45:10 AM »
Wow, that spend-to-save concept really works.  Not on me, and probably not on you, but on the general public.  So many of my friends get really fired up for the Kohl's $10 Bonus Bucks sales.  Kohl's really is the king of this concept. 

I went out shopping at Kohl's for summer clearance items last week, and at the checkout they told me I'd "saved" $136, which is utterly ridiculous.  Since I would not have purchased the items at full price, I "saved" nothing.  I never hesitate to point this out to them, and the poor little clerks are so confused.  They genuinely don't get it.  I spent $80 for a big armload of things, which will be the lion's share of my daughters' and niece's spring birthday gifts next year, and I considered a fair exchange -- but "saving", no.  I didn't do that.   

Going a little off topic here, but that Kohl's bonus bucks promotion really irks me.  As does the ridiculous line on the bottom of the receipt telling me how much I saved.  I don't shop there at all, except when they send me their $10 off $10 coupons in the mail.  Then I go and get a bath towel or two, spending as close to $10 as I can.  My linen closet is very well stocked as a result of those coupons, so thank you Kohl's for that!
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 10:46:53 AM by Hunny156 »