Five Ways to Build Your Kid’s College Fund

When you’re a mom, time flies. One day, your little one is taking his first steps. The next, he’s learning to ride a two-wheeler. Before you know it, it’ll be time for SATs, college applications, first dorm rooms… oh, and figuring out where the money is going to come from. It’s never easy, but getting a head start now will spare you some of the financial stress when the tuition bills start coming in. 

1. Open a savings account. You can do this with a fairly small starting balance and it allows the whole family to pitch in. When birthdays and holidays come around, put “college fund contributions” at the top of your kid’s wish list. 

2. Pay off your own debt. If you’re still carrying student loan debt, pay it off as fast as possible while making small contributions to your kid’s college fund. Even if you can only save $20 a week, it will add up. When you’ve paid off your own education, put the same amount of money you were spending on loan payments toward the college fund. 

3. Use direct deposit to your advantage. Nowadays, most workplaces encourage or require their employees to have their paychecks directly deposited into their bank accounts. When you fill out the direct deposit paperwork, you can have your paycheck split between savings and checking accounts. This is a great way to save without even thinking about it, so talk to your employer’s personnel department about updating your direct deposit paperwork. 

4. Sign up for Upromise. The program, owned by Sallie Mae, pays you back for everyday purchases like gas and groceries. When you link your gas, grocery, and drugstore cards, you can earn more money for your kid’s college fund. 

5. Make sure your kid is an outstanding student. Savings will only go so far, and competition for scholarships is fierce. The strongest candidates will be straight-A students whose resumes are filled with extracurricular activities, club leadership positions, and community service. In the long run, a good resume is a better investment than flipping burgers after school. College might feel like a distant worry when your kid still thinks girls have cooties, but let’s face it: college isn’t going to get any cheaper. If you start saving now, you and your kid will be in a better position to avoid getting crushed by student loan debt. 

About the Author 
Carly Lance thinks of herself as a personal finance junkie and loves to blog about saving money, frugal living and getting out of debt whenever she can. She believes a happy life = happy finances. Carly is also employed as a blog manager by Personal Bankruptcy Canada, a company dedicated to helping “good people with bad debt,” with whom she also blogs about finances for.


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