Saving Money for College

College is continually getting more expensive. Students are graduating with massive loans to be paid back. If parents plan early they can help alleviate some of the burden on their children. This is a page about saving money for college.


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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!

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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 Gerber from WI

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
June 9, 2008

Click Here to go to U Promise's website

Click Here to go to U Promise's website

Whenever I hear the words 'college fund' I nervously change the subject. It's one of those things that I've put off until my mortgage is paid off. By that time my son will be ten, and I may not have enough time to tuck away enough savings to pay for ever-increasing tuition fees. Unless he earns a scholarship, his road to community college may already be paved. That is, unless UPromise holds up its end of the bargain.

What Is UPromise?

UPromise is a way to save for college by spending money. Think of it like earning points for using your credit card. Each time you purchase something at a participating company with one of your credit or debit cards you earn credits in your UPromise account. These credits are then accumulated towards future college tuitions or book expenses, at which point the money is tax-free if used towards education. The credits reflect anywhere from 1-25% of your purchase, but most are between 1-3%.

How Does It Work, Really?

I had heard about UPromise two years ago, but I was a bit wary of it. I still wonder if this program will really be around fourteen years from now when I look to cash out my son's earned credits. However, after reading about it in a newsletter sent from my husband's retirement investment company, I assumed it was a legitimate and safe plan.

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 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.

What Should I Beware Of?

While the entire process seemed pretty fool proof, there were a few pieces of bait thrown at me during registration. The first piece came in the first phase of registration when I was asked to open a credit card. Look to the bottom right of the page and click on the 'No, thanks' option to continue registration without the card. There is no need for it, and declining the offer does not affect your UPromise account.

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.

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July 13, 2011

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

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Parenting General Parenting Family FinancesJuly 7, 2011
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