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All kids should go to college or trade school, but it can be outrageously expensive. Nowadays, college is upwards of $35,000 dollars a year. Yikes! I recommend setting up a savings account for your child and depositing five dollars a week their whole life. This adds up very quickly without taking a tremendous toll on your financial situation. Give the money to your kid to use "only for college" when they are old enough. It might not cover it completely, or you could have extra, but it's a great way to help them out financially. Student loans can haunt you your whole life, and we don't want that happening to our kids!
I suggest buying savings bonds for an easy way to double your money. I also suggest either saving all your spare change or just a specific coin of your choosing (like saving all quarters). We saved coins for one year and just put $651.62 in the bank. I would also encourage you to look up free colleges - there are some out there. Scholarships and grants are abundant, too.
I never thought my family could afford to send me and my brother to college, but we both received grants and scholarships and he got a track scholarship. If my child's grades don't improve soon, I won't have to worry about college for him, unless he can get a sport or music scholarship. They don't care so much about his grades.
By Sandy G from WI
When looking for scholarships, first start with your own company and start early. Even as a part-time worker, I was able to apply for a company-sponsored scholarship for my son. However, since it was based on their PSAT scores - a test given in Junior year - you had apply while they're in 11th grade. Many employees did not realize this and lost out. Yes, he did win $4,000!
By SFUNSUE from MD
I registered just the other day. I expected to be asked a myriad of questions and to be typing for an hour. In all, it took fifteen minutes, and I spent most of that time looking through our wallets for our credit and debit cards. To register go to http://www.upromise.com and fill in basic information such as your name, contact info, and child's name. I never gave my social security number or bank account information. From there I needed to register my credit/debit cards in order for my spending to log in UPromise credits, which is done automatically. Here is where I would have cancelled registration had I not be pointed there by a reputable company. UPromise as well as The Vanguard Group assured me that all was safe. I held my breath and took the leap.
After registering my cards I opted out of e-mail and phone updates to avoid solicitations, and I went on with my usual spending.
There also is advertising throughout registration for its supporting companies. While I noted a few as interesting, I didn't bother to look at most of them. I figure if I shop at a participating company and earn credits then that's a few extra dollars towards college. If not, no harm done. Don't fall for the trap of shopping at these stores (mostly on-line) just to earn UPromise points. You're better off putting the extra dollars in a bank account and start a traditional college fund.
I can now officially say I have opened a college fund for my son. I still plan to open a traditional savings plan, but for now I'll take any free credits I can. Now if I process my debit card as a credit at Giant grocery stores I not only earn VISA reward points but also UPromise credits. All for doing nothing more than what I've always been doing.