College Savings

7 Back to School College Savings Tips

Tips include using daycare money, getting your child involved, selling Halloween costumes, encouraging college gifting, planning meals, having a yard sale, and selling gift cards.
Jar of coins for Back to School College Savings

Think your child might attend college one day? Then it's time to start saving. And if you've already begun, now's a great opportunity to see if you can add even more money to your college savings account. And since we're at the beginning of the school year, we came up with some season-specific savings tips that can help you increase your savings. Read through our list below for more ways to save for college this fall.

1. Use daycare money

Did you transition a child from daycare to kindergarten this year? Or reduce daycare costs for other children? Before you get used to those extra funds in your budget, allocate them for college savings. It's an easy way to move money from one commitment to another, and your college savings account will benefit.

2. Get your child involved

If your child is old enough to work, encourage him or her to use this fall season to earn some money and contribute a percentage to college savings. Even younger children can take part by raking up those autumn leaves, mowing lawns, or babysitting.

3. Sell Halloween costumes

Halloween is on the way, and many families are on the hunt for discounted costumes. Search your closets and play room for gently used costumes that your children have outgrown, and sell them on a neighborhood list, Facebook Marketplace, or elsewhere. Deposit the earnings right into your college savings account.

4. Encourage college gifting

Though the holidays are still months away, everyone has at least one relative who gets a jump on shopping. Cover your bases by sending a note to all loved ones that what your child really wants for the holidays this year is a contribution to the college savings account. If you have a U.Fund 529 plan, you can easily set up a gifting page where family members and friends can contribute. Sit back and watch your college savings grow.

5. Plan for meals

With the beginning of the school year comes sports practices, music lessons, and other evening commitments. It's easy to forgo meal planning and fall into a routine of drive-through and take-out dinners. Plan some time on the weekends to shop and cook ahead for evening mealtime. You'll be surprised how much money you can save by doing so, and can deposit those funds into your college savings account.

6. Have a yard sale

What's an easier way to earn some extra money than selling those unnecessary things taking up space in your house? Pull the family together to empty closets, drawers, and shelves of items you no longer use, and sell them all at a weekend yard sale. Fall's the perfect season for families to be shopping outside. Give a shout to your neighbors to see if anyone else wants to join in. Set aside every penny you earn for college.

7. Sell gift cards

Most of us have unused gift cards we've forgotten about, sitting ignored in our junk drawer, at the bottom of our purse, or somewhere in our desk. As you find those gift cards during preparation for your fall yard sale (see #6), gather them up and sell them online. Plenty of sites, including Raise, will give you cash for those unused cards. Funnel those earnings right into your college savings account.

Do you have other tips for saving for college this fall? We'd love to hear them. Share them with us and other families on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Let's work together to boost our savings for college this season.

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