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Upromise / College savings rewards credit card?

April 3rd, 2016 at 08:29 am

Our financial lives have been on pause for the last five years. Our No.1 goal was paying off the house. Now that's done, so it's time to catch up on all the other things we should have been doing.

Honestly, I'm elated to be done with mortgage payments, but at the same time I'm a little overwhelmed wondering what to do first and next.

Our other big goals are to ...
-get the EF up by $20k
-save way way more money for each kid for college
-fully fund our retirement, and roth IRAs
-Save for cool vacations
-fix all our broken stuff and make the house more awesome

Gah. Always so much to do!!

Now, onto the college savings, which is the point of this post.

Today, I took one small step. I bumped up our monthly college savings auto deposit from $200/kid, to $300/kid. It won't be enough to fully fund college, but it'll help. (an extra $1200/kid/year, for the next 10 years = $12,000 more per kid!)


I also briefly considered the UPromise credit card to boost college savings. I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble? Basically, you get 1 percent into your 529 for all purchases, but with bonuses and careful spending, can get up to 5 percent.

Seems like it's work to get the 5 percent. On the other hand, any money that is a bonus could boost college savings and it could really add up over time.

Right now, we have an amazon card. We've been pretty happy with it. I usually redeem rewards for a statement credit. We get 1 percent base, 2 percent for restaurants and gas stations, and 3 percent for amazon purchases.

So what do you think? Is it worth a try with a new credit card? There might also be a $50 sign up bonus.

Upromise also has the option to register your regular credit card to possibly get credit for purchases. Have any of you tried that? Does it work?

I usually try to keep our financial lives simple so I can stay on top of everything. I don't know. Maybe it's worth it to try the card for a year and see how it goes?

OR, I could link our current Amazon card to our checking account, deposit the rewards as cash, and transfer them to the 529.

OR, I could do the bonus credit card thing, and find cards with big cash back bonuses and use those to put extra in the 529. Only thing is finding a card that will send a check rather than giving me statement credit or points to spend on gift cards.

Any thoughts?

6 Responses to “Upromise / College savings rewards credit card?”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    I really like the citi card that pays 2% on everything. 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay. (I pay my credit cards off in full each month) They send a check directly to you. In Jan., I got a check for $123, in Feb. $140 and in March, $115. It raelly adds up!

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    If the 5% is too much work, I'd shop around credit cards that give you bigger bonuses for what you spend more money on.

    Citi Double cash gives you 2% cash back on everything. So I definitely recommend that card. Does it matter if the reward is a statement credit? I don't recall off the top of my head if that is the only option (you can google it and see - I think you can request checks), but I just take the statement credit and then transfer the same sum to our investments when they post to our credit card accounts. It's all the same in the end and is frankly easier than dealing with checks. {The initial credit limits on these cards are really low for whatever reason, but you can just ask them to bump up the credit limit to something more reasonable}.

    American Express Blue Cash Preferred is 6% back on groceries and 3% back on gas. Since grocery is like our biggest spending category, I find this one to be very useful. Some people don't like it because it has an annual fee. (Personally we get way more back than we would from any other credit card, even when factoring the fee).

    If there is any other category you spend a large amount of, is worth looking into what credit card rewards are out there. Or if you just want to keep it simple and get 2% back on everything, that works too.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    Oh yeah, and to clarify the Citi is 1% when you charge and 1% when you pay. Basically 2% if you pay your cards off every month. Is the one Ima Saver mentioned and I guess she confirms you can get a check for that one.

  4. snafu Says:

    Adding my Congratulations on attaining Mortgage Free status. I hope you'll emphasis retirement contribution allowables and specific investment as the next prominent goal. I noticed your sidebar indicates you have not yet completed your Wills and Advanced Directives. I sincerely hope those capture your attention for completion as quickly as possible. College funds are nice but we can;t begin to imagine how education will be delivered that far into the future.

  5. ThriftoRama Says:

    Snafu, yes, those are on the top of my list. I have a few more bits of paper and account info to scrounge up before we go to the lawyer about the wills.

    As for retirement, we max out hubby's 401k every year ($18,000) and my IRA every year ($5,500). Now that the house is paid for, the goal is to add maxing out his Roth IRA to the list ($5,500).

    We are in decent shape for retirement. When we bought the house, we cut back on college savings so we could preserve retirement savings while still making the mortgage payment. Now I'm only trying to ratchet it back up.

  6. Jenn Says:

    On the college savings, I think you're doing great unless you have your eye on expensive private schools. Remember that you can cash flow some of the college expenses and use savings to supplement when the time comes. Also remember that it all doesn't need to be in place on day 1 of college - you'll still be accumulating. I get the names of the two tax breaks mixed up, but the best one refunds $2500 for $4000 spent on college each year, as long as that funding did not come from an already tax-advantaged account like a 529. Without a mortgage payment, I think you'll be in a strong position.

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