Trying to get fiscally fit for 2017? Here are some simple steps to take to boost your CollegeAdvantage 529 college savings plan.
1. Build Your Savings With Disappearing Expenses
It may seem overwhelming at first to find money in your budget to add to a 529 plan while your children are young. But Ohio’s 529 Savings Program can help. Using our tools and calculators, you can start by determining your long-term college-savings goals and see the benefits of saving in a tax-advantaged 529 plan. You may also want to review how much of a difference saving early can make by taking advantage of growth through compound interest. After exploring all the options you have in a 529 account, set aside what you can afford now and then focus on the disappearing expenses in your budget as your children grow older.
Disappearing expenses are those costs in your family’s budget for only a limited time span. For example, preschool is a large disappearing expense. Once your child starts kindergarten, consider transforming those former day care or preschool costs into regular contributions to their 529 account. You won’t miss the funds and you are continuing to support your child’s educational needs.
Other disappearing expenses can include paying off a car loan, medical or dental bills, credit card debt, or even your own student loans. Again, these items have been part of your budget so you aren’t losing any additional income by shifting those dollars to a 529 account. As you know from paying off those bills, it’s far cheaper to save now than pay off loans later.
Many account owners will also contribute a portion of an annual raise, bonus, or even their tax return refund towards a 529 plan. You may be surprised how every little amount you place in the 529 account can grow it closer to your college-savings goals.
2. Build Your Savings With Help From Others
It may be after the holiday gift-giving season, but keep in mind that anyone can contribute to a 529 plan at any time for any occasion — birthdays, graduations, even baby showers. Most everyone would prefer to give gifts that retain long-standing value, not the newest toy or clothes that can quickly be forgotten.
Start a conversation your loved ones about giving the gift of college by contributing to your child’s 529 plan. CollegeAdvantage has partnered with Ugift, a company which creates a unique code to give to family and friends so they can make a contribution to your 529 without having the account number. This gift of college is a legacy that will always be treasured and appreciated.
3. Build Your Savings With Automatic Contributions
It’s an oldie but a goodie savings method: Take away the temptation to spend money by automatically depositing it into your 529 savings account. Many 529 plan account owners say the easiest way to save is to routinely transfer the money before there’s a chance to spend it elsewhere. And you can simplify this process by setting up automatic recurring contributions from your bank account or paycheck. You can align your automated 529 plan deposits with your paydays or set a monthly contribution schedule.
4. Build Your Savings While Shopping With Upromise
CollegeAdvantage has partnered with Upromise* to help you save more for college without any extra effort. Upromise is a free loyalty program that offers its members cash back for their purchases from a wide variety of businesses partners. When you connect your debit and/or credit card to your Upromise account, you can start earning rewards with your everyday shopping. You can then link your Upromise account to your CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan account to roll over these rebates.
Participating businesses include over 850 online retail stores and 10,000 restaurants at which Upromise members can earn 5% cash back. Others organizations include over 20,000 grocery and drug stores, where you can not only earn money back for your everyday purchases but earn additional rebates by using eCoupons as well. You can collect more cash back as you book your travel arrangements, including airfare, hotels, car rentals and more, through Upromise participants.
Would you like to see how others used Upromise? Read this Saving Story from a CollegeAdvantage family who used it to add to their 529 savings.
Interested in joining? Visit Upromise to sign up for free. Already an Upromise member? Log in to your account and link it to your CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan and watch your account grow with automatic transfers of your rewards. Every dollar you spend with Upromise can get you closer to your college savings goal.
CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way. We have the tools for you to shape your 529 plan to best fit your family’s needs. If you are ready to start with Ohio’s 529 Savings Program, it’s easy to open an account here. CollegeAdvantage also has pointers on age-based strategies based on in which stage of life your child is. If you already have an account and want to make some changes, log in to your account to update information or do other maintenance.
* Upromise is an optional service offered by Upromise, Inc., as an added value to CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan Account Owners. Upromise is separate from the CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan and is not affiliated with the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority of the State of Ohio. Participation in Upromise is optional and voluntary. Specific terms and conditions apply. Participating companies, contribution levels, terms, and conditions are subject to change without notice. Upromise and the Upromise logo are registered service marks of Upromise, Inc.