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In the midst of economic recovery, gift givers plan to stretch holiday shopping budgets for loved ones


Upromise by Sallie Mae survey reveals majority won’t cut back on spending; will instead rely on savvy shopping to secure savings

Newton, Mass., While many retailers anticipate an uncertain holiday shopping season, a national survey conducted by Upromise by Sallie Mae reveals that 63 percent of Americans plan to spend the same amount, or more, as last year. Shoppers also plan to allocate their dollars wisely. In fact, two-thirds plan to search online for deals, coupons or free shipping and one-third anticipate using a rewards program that offers incentives.

“This holiday season, households are searching for ways to make their budget go further,” said David Rochon, president of Upromise. “To help, we have brought together thousands of online deals, coupons and free shipping offers to help members save on gift purchases and earn money back for college education.”

The survey also reveals:

* Roughly 33 percent plan to scale back on holiday parties but only 16 percent contemplate cutting back on tips for individuals who provide valuable services throughout the year.
* One-third of those who set a budget say they typically overspend during the holiday season. More than 70 percent attribute this habit to a feeling of generosity as opposed to guilt, high prices or competition.
* Of the 36 percent who say they will spend less compared to last year, 70 percent plan to use the money to pay down debt.
* The three most popular items on wish lists of parents of children under 18 are also a reflection of the times. When asked what they hoped their children will receive as gifts, parents cited clothing (47 percent) gift certificates (38 percent) or contributions to a college savings account (35 percent).

“My husband and I plan to do the majority of our shopping through so that we can save time and money this holiday season,” said Lisa Roll, Upromise member and mother of two from Glen Gardner, N.J. “It’s important to us that our children experience the spirit of the season as well as the value of saving for the future.”

Upromise is a free service from the nation’s leading saving, planning and paying for college company that helps its 11 million members earn money for college or student loans during key shopping seasons like the holidays. At hundreds of popular online retailers, including,,,, and, members can earn 1 to 25 percent back on their purchases. Special holiday saving opportunities include:

* Daily Deals are one-day deeply discounted exclusive offers for Upromise shoppers. Each day, different products are offered with a significant savings on the purchase price and Upromise rewards on each purchase.
* Online coupons and free shipping offers are offered every day throughout the entire holiday season.
* Each day a new Daily Double provides double college savings from a Upromise participating merchant.
* Never miss an online savings opportunity by downloading TurboSaver®, a free online savings reminder that alerts members of Upromise savings opportunities, as well as coupons and deals when they book travel or shop online.
* Upromise® World MasterCard® enable members to earn 1 percent for college savings on all purchases and extra college savings on eligible grocery, gas, and restaurant purchases.
* UgiftSM enables family and friends to contribute to a 529 college savings account for a loved one (for a list of eligible plans, visit In addition, the Guest Shopping tool allows members to enlist others to help them save for college. By sharing a unique “Guest Shopping” link, members can accumulate additional rewards as friends and family make eligible purchases.

The survey was conducted by Upromise in October among 500 US respondents ages 18 and over. Survey services and sampling were provided by e-Rewards. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


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