I have a doctorate. Yup. One of those super fancy degrees hanging on my wall. That was, of course, after going to a private college for four years. Which leads me to two words:
It was dang expensive paying all of that money back. I would have loved to have found little ways to pay it faster, and I’m frantically saving for my kids’ education now so they don’t have to eat as many Rumen Noodles like I did. (No offense to Ramen).
How I helped save some extra each month was to clip coupons. Then I used the money I saved during that shopping trip and applied the savings to my monthly tuition repayment. It was an old fashioned method and I’m totally dating myself, but they didn’t have cool things like what I am about to share with you.
One site I use now for college savings for my children (that I even mentioned in a previous post here) is Upromise. It is a free to join membership service that allows families to earn cash back for college through every day purchases. You can earn up to 5% cash back just by shopping with Upromise partners like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Staples, and even Amazon.com. There are over 850+ online stores and 10,000+ restaurants, grocery and drugstores from which to choose!
I shop all the time on Amazon.com for things like Diapers, wipes, and baby formula. When I had to buy these ‘necessities’ I was saving for the time when my kids will be out of diapers!!
As a Upromise member, you can allocate your cash back earnings in several ways by:
o Transfer earnings to eligible 529 plans or high-yield savings accounts
o Apply earnings to student loan repayment
o Request a check for cash for books and other expenses
o Spliting up earnings across multiple beneficiaries
I love the flexibility on what you can do with the money you save and earn! But more importantly for me, is the number of places I can earn it.
The Elephant in the Room
Upromise recently launched its “Elephant in the Room Campaign,” aimed at encouraging an open and honest conversation among families to address common financial worries (or, “elephants in the room”). You can’t get ideas, and you can’t get help, if you aren’t talking about what you need and what are your savings struggles.
One of the most common financial “elephants” is how to save for later when it is so expensive to live right now! The save vs. expense thing is like a mouse to an elephant! Especially when you hear what college is going to cost. According to a recent survey by Sallie Mae, only half of all families with children under 18 have saved any money for college, and according to an online calculator at CollegeSavings.org, a four year education (with room and board) at an in-state school in 14 years will be about $192,000!
College Cost Saving Tips
Upromise wants those families to know that even when budgets are tight, taking advantage of programs like Upromise help to jumpstart the savings process—without drastically changing spending habits.
Share your thoughts in the comments below about saving for college. Are you doing it? What is your biggest struggle in saving? Do share! #MyFinancialElephant
Great tips – it’s a great idea to start saving as early as possible and if I can do it while I’m shopping for stuff my family needs anyway, even better!