With the price tag of college tuition going up every year, parents of young children today can feel overwhelmed by how they will one day be able to afford to send their child to college. This is especially true for low-income families or families that live paycheck to paycheck, as a lot of Americans do.
My family is one of those families that often live paycheck to paycheck or when we DO get ahead, the transmission in the car goes out and all that extra money is quickly spent. Having three children, I am not disillusioned that when the time comes I will be able to pay for 100% of their college. But my hope is to be able to help them as much as possible and hopefully be able to at least pay for their first year. And since putting aside a certain amount of money each month for each child is just is not possible for my family right now, I have searched for other means of saving for my children’s future.
There are several affordable private science lessons available as well. You can enroll your kid in such tuitions as these private tutors are often looking for brilliant students so that they can promote themselves. Moreover, they also offer free classes to brilliant young minds as well.
My best discovery yet has been Upromise. Upromise is a free service to families that helps them to earn money for education by partnering with hundreds of businesses that will reward their customers for using their products and services. It’s as simple as registering at www.upromise.com, which is free, and then registering your grocery savings cards, debit and credit cards. Upon making purchases with qualifying companies or purchasing products bearing the Upromise logo, the percentage that the individual company has contracted with Upromise to pay back to you is then deposited into your account. These savings can be used for college, grad school or even paying down an existing student loan. You can even get your family and friends to register THEIR grocery cards, debit or credit cards to your account so that you can earn even MORE when they purchase qualifying items or shop through select companies. You can earn money back by doing what you’re already doing in your everyday life…grocery shopping, shopping, filling your car up with gas, dining, and even when you purchase airline tickets, purchase or refinance your house! During the 2007 Christmas season, my family earned back a little over $40 from purchasing Christmas gifts alone.
E-Rewards is also a company that has partnered up with Upromise and has provided us with free college savings simply by taking quick surveys. After registering at www.e-rewards.com you should fill out your personal profile so that you will receive invitations to surveys that are customized to your family, lifestyle and habits. You then earn “E-rewards money” for participating in surveys that is redeemable for Upromise cash. The surveys are usually very quick and even if you end up not qualifying or the company has reached their quota already, you still receive credit for clicking on the link. Right now, I am averaging $20 a month in college savings by taking these quick surveys and I’ve even received free beauty products from companies that I already use, wanting my input on a new product. The last interactive survey I completed paid me $18 in “E-rewards.”
Contact your bank to see if they have any special college savings programs. Our bank has what is called “College Bound Savings Accounts” that we opened for each child when they were born. There are no charges for these accounts and they earn slightly higher interest rates than a regular savings account. The money cannot be withdrawn (without penalty) until our children graduate high school or turn 21, whichever comes first. As I stated earlier, we are not able to put aside a set amount of money each payday for college savings so we have found other ways to help save up money to put into these accounts. My husband and I do not spend any of our change. Even if the total of a bill comes to $5.01, we will pay $6.00 and then that change then goes into a jar when we get home. Pocket change adds up very quickly and you’ll be amazed at not only how fast that jar fills but how steadily your child’s account climbs. We also save and recycle all of our aluminum cans every few months and stop at the bank on the way home and deposit our earnings into the children’s accounts. We are already buying and drinking the sodas so, it feels like free money.
Everyone wants better for their children and most parents feel that college will guarantee that dream. Another guarantee is that college tuition is only going to continue to climb and climb. So, I suggest that you start early and be as savvy about saving as you can. And if you find any more great ideas for saving for college, be sure you share your secrets with me!