Smart Ways to Save for College

Surely you know by now: college is expensive! Lucky is the student who can afford to pay for college out of pocket. But you don’t have to be lucky-just smart. With prior planning and smart strategies, it’s possible to save enough money to go to your dream school without having to work three jobs just to do it. Here are just a few of your options.

529 plans offer an attractive option for families. 529 plans are college savings accounts that just about anyone you know can contribute to. Your parents, grandparents, aunts and other mysterious benefactors can give you the gift of college cash in your 529 plan. Even better, they get a nice little gift back in the form of tax savings. 529 plans are excellent when started well ahead of time, but the tax break makes them advantageous even if you want to deposit money that you can use for next semester’s tuition bill.

In the spirit of the 529, college savings gifts are a great way to boost your educational fund. When high school graduation, holidays and birthdays come around, let gift givers know that you’d appreciate college money as a gift. If you receive checks or cash, consider earmarking some or all of it as college savings. 529s are great for this, as well as online registries and even savings bonds.

If you’ve got time on your side, savings bonds are a good option. They’ve been trusted for generations as a low-risk way to earn money for college. Although they boast only a modest return, they’re a great vehicle for savings and guaranteed payoff, assuming you are able to reach the bond’s full maturity.

Rewards programs are an ingeniuous way to find free money for college. Sign up for these programs that will allow you to earn rebates for your purchases, and then use them for college money. These programs can be linked to your college savings account or paid in cash. Some of the most popular college rewards programs are Upromise, BabyMint, Little Grad, and Futuretrust. You may also be able to find 529 rebate programs.

Whatever option or combination of options you choose, it’s essential that you get started right away. It’s never to early, or too late, to save for college. Take the time to research the best option for you today.

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