Passive Savings Programs
Tips for using passive savings programs to fund autism treatment, a college education and other expenses.

Passive savings programs are programs that allow you to save money with minimal effort. With passive savings programs, you earn cash rebates, rewards or credits for purchasing items you need or want. Shopping rewards, rebate programs, loyalty programs and affinity programs are types of passive savings programs.

Web sites that offer rebates for making purchases can be excellent passive savings programs. The best thing about passive savings programs is they are an easy way to save money by doing things you normally do anyway—like shopping online, shopping in retail stores, buying groceries, filling prescriptions, eating out, traveling, and more.

How Loyalty Rebate Programs Work

Loyalty rebate programs are simple. You simply make a purchase through a passive savings program Web site or by using a grocery card, pharmacy card, credit card or debit card you’ve registered through the site. After you’ve made a purchase through the program, a percentage of your purchase is placed in your user account.

Once your funds are available, you can use them to pay for autism interventions such as ABA, speech therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technology or augmentative communication devices.  The funds can also be used to pay for a college education as well as other expenses of your choice.

Choosing a Good Passive Savings Program

The best passive savings programs are free to participate in, have a wide variety of merchants to choose from and credit rebates to your account when they say they will. Here are some features to look for when you are selecting a shopping rewards program:

• No fees to join or participate
• Wide variety of online merchants, retailers and service providers to choose from
• Credits funds to accounts on time
• Coupons and special offers such as free shipping
• Bonuses
• Flexible payment options

Recommended Programs

The following shopping rewards rebates programs are recommended because they meet the aforementioned criteria. The publishers of this Web site consider them to be among the best and most reliable passive savings programs available.

Ebates features over 900 merchant partners, tons of coupons and specials, deals of the week and daily doubles. Ebates offers up to 25% cash back on purchases.

To earn cash back through Ebates, register on the site, log in to check out offers, and click on the merchants you want to shop with. You’ll receive a Big Fat Check every three months that you earn at least $5.01 in savings. You can elect to receive payment via Paypal. You can even donate the cash back you earn to a charity, organization or family member.

If you join Ebates through one of the links on this site, you will receive a $5 bonus credited to your account.

Mr. Rebates
Mr. Rebates features over 1,000 merchant partners. Mr. Rebates offers cash back rebates of up to 30% and flat-rate rebates of up to $75 for some special offers.  The site also offers coupons and specials.

To earn cash back rebates through Mr. Rebates, register on the site, log in and click on the merchants you want to shop with. You will be eligible to receive payment via check or Paypal after you have earned $10 in rebates.

Click on one of the links to Mr. Rebates on this site to receive a $5 bonus for joining.

UPromise.commembers can earn college savings rebates of up 25% on purchases as well as lump sum college savings rewards of up to $3,000 on purchases of big ticket items.  Upromise has an extensive network of partners, including online stores, retail stores, drug stores, grocery stores, restaurants, catalog companies and specialty service providers. Upromise members can earn money for college by shopping, dining out and traveling. They can also earn college savings rewards for buying, selling, refinancing or decorating a home. Money for college can also be earned by buying, renting, and financing, insuring or filling up a car. offers numerous options for earning college savings rewards, including online shopping, in-store shopping, catalog shopping, shopping in grocery and drug stores, dining out and taking advantage of travel, personal, financial and educational services. Upromise also offers its members the opportunity to save money for college by registering and using grocery, drug store, debit and credit cards—including the Citi Upromise Card. frequently offers coupons, discounts, specials, bonuses, special prices, sweepstakes and promotions. Currently, Upromise is offering its $100,000 College Dream Sweepstakes. Every eligible Upromise transaction through September 30, 2008, will earn members the opportunity to win one of ten $10,000 college scholarships. Sweepstakes entrants are also eligible to win a $1,000 gift card from selected Upromise partners. Now through September 30, 2008, members will receive a $2 bonus for each dining survey they complete. offers its members the opportunity to have friends and relatives sign-up to have to purchases used to contribute to your college savings account. Members have an opportunity to grow their college savings tax-free with the Upromise College Fund, the program’s own low-cost 529 plan. The Upromise Schools Program allows members to raise funds for their children’s K-12 schools while saving for their college education. also offers articles, blogs and message boards that provide information and advice about college planning, preparation, saving and financing.


 Tips for Getting the Most from Passive Savings Programs

Here are some tips and strategies for maximizing your rebates and rewards from passive savings programs:

• Compare rebates among programs. Compare rebate offers among the programs you participate in. For example, if you want to make a purchase at Sears, compare the rebate percentages Ebates, Mr. Rebates and Upromise offer on purchases made from Sears. Make your purchase through the program that will offer you the most generous rebate.
• Compare rebates within programs. Shop around within programs to get the best rebates. For instance, if you are shopping through Upromise and find that both Personal Creations and Things Remembered offer an item you are interested in purchasing, make the purchase from the merchant that offers the best rebate. 

• Look for deals on shipping. Shop with retailers such as and that routinely offer free and very low cost shipping. Be on the lookout for coupon codes and special offers that provide free shipping.

• Take advantage of freebies, coupons, discounts and special offers. Check out the latest deals and promotions frequently so you won’t miss out on opportunities to save money and maximize your rebates.

• Combine offers to maximize rewards. Multiply your rewards when you make purchases through Ebates, Mr. Rebates and Upromise from merchants that offer their own loyalty and incentive programs. For example, Office Depot, Office Max and Staples all offer rewards programs, coupons, specials and free next day delivery. When you shop through a rewards program, you get to take advantage of the rebate from the rewards program and all of the goodies from the merchant.

• Share the wealth. Help your child’s school raise funds while earning rebates by participating in programs like the Upromise Schools Programs and the Office Depot 5% Back to Schools Program. You can do a good deed for your child and, at the same time, earn money to pay for autism treatment, college or other expenses.