Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Recruit Friends and Family to Help Build Up your 529 College Savings Account

Did you know that as a friend or extended family member, you can link up and donate to a child's Upromise 529 college savings account? Well, my brother and I didn't until one of my friends asked me to link to her account.

Once you set up an account, you can easily send an email to family and friends to ask them to link to your account. Like any rewards program, you simply create a login id and password. Then you register your credit cards and/or grocery store cards, and every time you use one of them at a participating company a percentage of your spending is deposited back into the linked Upromise account.

Some of the participating companies are ones that I already frequent (e.g., ExxonMobil and Bed Bath & Beyond). Others, not so much. But there's also a handy remindU software tool that you can download onto your computer, so you can automatically get credit for purchases at an online retailer's site if you forget to click through the Upromise site. Also, you can purchase gift cards online at and get 4% back!

In terms of privacy, there's no need to worry that your friend or family member is tracking your expenditures. All they see on their statement is the aggregate amount contributed from all of their friends and family members.

Also, you don't need a Citi Upromise credit card to create an account, although it definitely makes it easier to build up points, since you can 'double-dip' (i.e., get points from Citi as well as from a participating company).

Anyway, if you have some friends who don't already have children or nieces or nephews of their own, feel free to invite them to link to your account.

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