Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How We Save For Our Kids' College

Thank you Upromise for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Upromise, all content and opinions expressed here are my own. #Upromiseit #UpromiseFinFit

When Essley was about six months old, someone asked us if we'd started a college fund for her. I'll admit I was a little thrown off. I mean, that was something that was close to eighteen years away, and surely not anything about which we'd need to be concerned so soon, right? The more we thought about it though, the more we realized that starting to save for her education sooner than later was incredibly important. So we started a 529 fund for her. That said, putting large sums of money in this fund on a regular basis isn't realistic for us, so we've focused instead on adding small amounts when we've been able. We have a change jar (I highly recommend this!) and when it reaches $50, we make a deposit into the 529. On months when I make a little extra with work projects, that money goes into the fund as well. We are also always looking for other ways to save along the way - the most recent of which is a seriously awesome service called Upromise.

I like shopping you guys, and if I can save money (especially for something this important) by spending money, I'm in. That is what makes Upromise by Sallie Mae so great. And it's why I decided to share more about them with you. Upromise is free to join (it took me less than a minute to sign up), and members can earn cash for college (for their kids or for themselves, including student loan pay-offs) by shopping online at hundreds of major retailers, as well as by dining out, booking travel, and shopping with the Upromise MasterCard (which allows you to earn cash back for college on every purchase, on top of what you'll earn from Upromise partners!). Their list of 850+ online partners is stellar too, and includes some of my favorite retailers. When I need to replace my trusty Urban Decay Zero eyeliner, I head over to Upromise, click on the the "shop now" link for my favorite cosmetics store, make my purchase, and 5% cash back is applied to my Upromise account to add to Essley's 529 fund. When we want to enjoy a meal out as a family at our favorite mexican restaurants, we pay with the debit card we registered with Upromise and 5% of that total meal (including drinks, tax, and tip) goes toward Essley's education. We almost always fly Southwest when we travel, and when we book our next vacation through SW and go through our Upromise account, 2% of what we spend will go back to Essley's college fund. See how quickly this can add up just through everyday purchases that you'd be making anyway? It's pretty great. Oh - and right now, when you invite friends and family to join Upromise you can both earn $20! Woot!

When I watch Essley go through a stack of books, carefully pretending to read each page, or hear her sing a new song, or listen to her formulate sentences with a vocabulary she didn't have even just the day before, I realize both how much I love seeing her learn and just how quickly time passes when you have a child. She will be starting school - and going off to college - before we'll even be able to process it. So there is a very positive reassurance in knowing we're doing things to focus on the costs of her future education (and Emmett's as well) now. And let's face it, if there is the added bonus of getting to shop while we do it (thanks Upromise!), I'm especially stoked.

Have those of you with kids started saving for their college educations? Have any of you used Upromise to help raise money for their funds or to pay down your own student loans?



  1. Just sent this to my sister for her kids!

    1. It is always nice when you are in the position to help your children. Every little helps, no matter how small.

  2. That's cool! Some of my friends have started a college fund for their little kids! My brother might be interested in this too. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I love the pictures of Essley reading. =) So sweet. I've never heard of u promise but it sounds really cool.

  4. This sounds like a great way to start saving. Wish they did the same for retirement accounts :)

  5. Beautiful photos of your little girl... I live in Europe, and we have a different system for college for our kids, but saving is always wise...

  6. we are still trying to decide what we wanna do for lachlan. with the 529 it will be taxed if not used for school, and i dont wanna take a gamble. we wanna do something though.

  7. It's off topic but what's the book Essley's holding in the first photo, the one about colors? It looks really cool!


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