college savings for your kids

Submitted by goodnatured on Sat, 11/10/2007 - 21:54

With the rising cost of education I thought this would be a good topic to kick around. I seen a post on consolidating student loans. With all the options available with grants and loans, should one start saving when a child is pre teen for college? I know it is always good to be prepared, but is it necessary? Especially if you are on a tight budget. I started doing the Upromise campaign about three years ago, it is pretty cool, you shop, you save, it has been accumulating on my groceries mainly. You can also put friends on it, so when they shop you save for your kid for college too.

Great question!! I have a 14 year old. He's in 9th grade now. I would like to know ( too ) if anyone has any advice on this. Education can get expensive. If you can't get grants, loans,etc..hen where do you turn? I tried Upromise, at one time. They kept saying I wasn't giving them " valid information" ( bank account, etc.), so, I couldn't start anything with them. I just don't get it.

Sat, 11/10/2007 - 22:24 Permalink pose a great question. as a recent college grad, hubby and i were fortunate enough to have assistant ships to pay for tuition and we got a stipend that was pretty nice. additionally I had VA since I was a dependent of a permanent and totally disabled veteran, my dad. Despite this income and lots of college students don't even come close to that, hubby and i had to consolidate our student loans totaling 25k. what on earth di dthat money do? now that i look back i'm not sure...i think for books and such as our assistant ships didn't cover that and any money left over including va and stipends went for food, rent and all other expenses. My point is even with that tremendous financial help, we still owe and continue paying a pretty hefty monthly payment. I think it would be a great idea to start now, sd, talking to your teenager's guidance counselor. Talking with your children and helping them establish goals such as where they want to go for college can help us as parents get more information. Apply early for scholarships (we did around the junior yr of high school), grants, pell grants, all kinds of things. This even included Reader's digests scholarships, Coke scholarships. we had to do some research. Unfortunately it's not easy for many of us to save for our children's college. My parents told me that I had to find my own way and thanks to guidance I did...
Upromise is a great program and will add up over the years. you wouldn't think so but it does. I also believe there's a program where you can put tax deferred money into your child's account that is specifically designed for their schooling. I can't remember now the name and i don't know if it's state specific but that's pretty nice since it's tax sheltered. great topic!

Sun, 11/11/2007 - 02:48 Permalink

I agree it is very expensive even with financial assistance to aid your children in reaching their planned goals. There were some options I should have chosen to help aid some of the financial burden of obtaining a degree and / or traveling abroad, my only suggestion and I am sure there are more out there would be to open a savings acct and do not touch what you invest in there. Even if it is only a small amount of money you put in there if you do not touch it it has the potential to accumulate interest. One of my good friends happened to be fortunate in the sense her parents invested for her a savings acct and when she got her own job she put forth some money for the acct also which eventually after two years was a down payment for a vehicle for her to get around in. To make a long story short, for every situation there is a different solution however instead of asking my parents to help me pay college related bills I wish I would have invested some of my meager income at college ( work based program) into a savings account and use that later one when times get tough. As you probably already know, and I know too, every penny counts. If it is not in your personal acct then you are less likely to spend it. Good luck getting those payments under control it all pays off in the end and is well worth the investment. . .

Sun, 11/11/2007 - 03:34 Permalink

I am working on it, I am getting there slowly but surely, I am not worried just don't have the patience to wait for the next pay check to be all gone, LOL.

I will continue with the Upromise program, I have been able to accumulate a little bit anyway, every little bit helps.

I know when I went through I had the whole thing paid for by the veterans administration because of being a disabled veteran.

Sun, 11/11/2007 - 04:27 Permalink

Ok, gotta question...did you say that buying groceries and products under the upromise helps to accumulate money for your child and that others who buy products under the upromise can gain money for your child? i'm not that familiar with that program but should be now that we have a little one...thanks good

Sun, 11/11/2007 - 16:19 Permalink

How it works is you sign up for the program, you register all your cards on a secure site, you send out emails and invite others to join you in saving for your kid also. Every time you or your friends and family use your grocery card, you get money toward your childs account. Some companies like Kraft really put the points out there. Google Upromise with a capital U, it is really easy to sign up for, I think it is a good program and does not cost you a dime. You get statements from them quarterly. I will google it and pm you the link.

Sun, 11/11/2007 - 17:18 Permalink

I pmed you the link, if it don't work, just google it, I am gonna go on and see what I have saved up.

Sun, 11/11/2007 - 17:23 Permalink

if I go back to school, the military will pay for ALOT of it. Just concern about my son, though. He can probably get grants, etc, because of my income...but, I want to try to save for him, too.

Sun, 11/11/2007 - 19:55 Permalink

I think you are probably right sdchargers, how old is he? I know with pell and phea, and then all the scholarships out there from companies and organizations. Should take care of quite a bit.

One thing for you to keep in mind is your veteran organization, the legions, vfw and other organizations like this often have scholarships for $1000 or more. My local legion has 5 seniors write essays on a subject, usually the flag and they award a few of them the scholarship for thier first year. So keep this information so that when he is ready you can have him apply. You can apply at more than one also, the other one in the county next door, simply asks the student to write a need letter and come in and present it to the board, they usually give around $500, the will cover alot of expense. So there are resources out there, just takes some digging to find them. Never hurts to start early and start a file on where and what you need to do.

Sun, 11/11/2007 - 22:18 Permalink

Sd, that's really wonderful that you have a goal of saving for your son's college. believe me if you can do it please do if at all possible. while you may do just a little at a time that will add up AND while it just may help him with books and stuff because often the financial resources don't cover books and other expenses that are associated with college. Good really really really appreciate you pming me that. i haven't gotten it yet but am going to google it and see if i can't sign up.

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 02:34 Permalink

Yep...ANYTHING I save DOES add up..."alittle at a time"......I think that's my motto for just about everything!! LOL Works for me!! LOL

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 06:00 Permalink

sdchargers, your son will have motivation and work ethic that he sees you do everyday. I am sure he will be a very resourceful person when he grows up too. Don't take too much worry on your shoulders just yet, just do what you can.
I see he is 14, is he involved in any sports or clubs that offer scholarships? If this is his goal to go to college, he should start keeping a note book of all the resources and the deadlines to apply. I know some of them require you to start in the 11th grade to apply. He won't want to miss out on those opportunities.

The reason I ask about the sports and clubs is, there are opportunities that business offer for like "future business leaders" club and etc. You have to be a member of the club to even apply. something to watch out for.

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 12:51 Permalink

Plus it looks good on his college apps if he's a part of leadership organizations, additionally if he holds a leadership position within those groups that is an added bonus. I was VP of Future Business Leaders of America...colleges and universities want to see intiative on the students' parts. Sports is a great area to get into! I know it's hard to do everything but if he can be versatile that will not only make him eligible for scholarships, and grants, but some schools will offer individual scholarships only associated with the college too. Like the university I went to and taught at, our football players had all books and accessories paid for through the school's athletic program, a perk for our athletes! good luck sd

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 13:52 Permalink

Sounds like you have a heard start anyway, just putting thought into it is a great start. I would have him do internet searches. Do you know what he is interested in doing, a college or a technical school. That is important to think about too, cost wise there is a big difference. You will also want to check out the labor market trend for what he wants to go into, you can find this information on the department of labor and industry website to see if there is predicted growth in the field.

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 21:04 Permalink

me again, sdchargers, I say look into labor market information because I work in the employment industry and I see alot of college graduates working out of their field. It is sad to put all the time, money and effort into an education and not be able to work in the field that you have a passion for.

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 21:06 Permalink's important to evaluate his goals now because not only will he be investing his time from 2-4 plus years in school, you will be invested as well in many ways. I really like technical schools because they focus on your specialty whereas a 4 year liberal arts school, will make you take about 2 years of electives and such before you can really study your major. Not always but as an undergrad, I studied music and I'm sorry not to completely knock gymn...but jeeez musicians don't really need gymn that much. I mean yeah maybe for increasing your wind purposes but that's about it. we did have a cool program where you had to learn how to swim or you didn't graduate. one of the best things i learned. so it's really a matter of comparing schools, their specialties, and financial abilities to help your student.

Mon, 11/12/2007 - 22:42 Permalink

See, I would have failed, I can doggy paddle, LOL.

I see this happening all the time to graduates that don't have the skills needed in our immediate job market.

I have a sister who is thinking about moving to North Carolina, alot of young people gravitating to that state for some reason, think it is the beaches, LOL.

I just helped her get a job here, I am hoping she will fall in love with her clients and stay, don't want her to far from home. I would worry about her.

Thu, 11/15/2007 - 02:19 Permalink

North Carolina has a nice job market and alot of young people are drawn there because it is a popular vacation spot, the cost of living will more than likely match or exceed the income though, depending on the area, make sure your sister does her research before she moves, nothing like quitting a job in your field and relocating and working for minimum wage, been there, done that. It is very discouraging, if she does her homework she may decide that North Carolina would be a better place to vacation rather than live if she is used to the lower cost of living in Pennsylvania. I am sure she will make the right decision as long as she has the tools to do it.

Tue, 11/20/2007 - 02:59 Permalink

Know what you mean about the cost of living, when I was in the military the rent off base was crazy, I tried to do all my shopping and living expenses on base.

Dadummy, you just sometimes got to let them live and learn. I am trying to let her figure it out on her own, but she is still determined to go, I will miss her but don't want to hold her back.

Sat, 11/24/2007 - 01:00 Permalink

Debtstinker, did you get signed up of the upromise program? are you ok with it. I answered your pm, but did not get a response or if I did I accidently deleted it, just checking?

Tue, 11/27/2007 - 02:36 Permalink

Could anybody throw more light upon the upromise program? I would love to know. I have Googled the info but would like to know personal experience.

Tue, 11/27/2007 - 03:28 Permalink

I think good mentioned that she is involved in it. Maybe she will come along and shed some light.

Thu, 11/29/2007 - 03:52 Permalink

I am enrolled in the upromised campaign to save four our child for college. I have all my grocery cards registered on the site, everytime I purchase certain items like Kraft and there are other companies to, a few cents goes into an account for our child to use towards college. You can have friends and relatives join you also. It is not only grocery cards though, it can get as big as you wish it too. Mine is small because I only have myself and another friend on it. Did you have other questions about it? You get statements and you can log on and monitor the activity also.

Thu, 11/29/2007 - 11:27 Permalink

That just blows my mind (in a good way) that there is a site devoted like that. that's awesome!

Thu, 11/29/2007 - 16:26 Permalink

So whatever happens is online. No personal interaction?

Fri, 11/30/2007 - 04:40 Permalink

That just blows my mind (in a good way) that there is a site devoted like that. that's awesome!

Perspective: It is a marketing campaign designed to instill brand/product loyalty.

Fri, 11/30/2007 - 18:09 Permalink

True Morningstar. Good, sorry I didn't get your im I don't think. i did sign up with the upromise program and just got confirmation in my email about it too. I look forward to seeing the savings as we go grocery shopping all the time. baby especially is running out of things constantly!

Sat, 12/01/2007 - 00:59 Permalink

It sounds like a good program and what the hey...if you're shopping anyway and buying those products regularly may as well sign up for a program that helps your child's future. I don't have children but am willing to help my sister who does as I have most of the same grocery cards she does and she told me that she could add me to her program.

Sat, 12/01/2007 - 01:10 Permalink

I don't buy the products unless they are on sale anyway and I have coupons, I don't really think it is all that brand oriented anyway, there are sooooooooooooooooo many sponsors on their and you get credit by using your cards, You can shop on ebay and get credit, you can purchase a car and get credit, the sponsors on the site are just amazing, I don't purposely buy because of the program, I buy if I need, I don't even pay attention if it is on the upromise list.

So debt and desi, I think it is a very good program, I have been involved with it for quite sometime and granted it won't in no way pay college off, the way I see it is, I have another 14 years to save up with it, so why not, it would just be dumb not to since I am shopping anyway.

If you have any other questions about the program, let me know, I will see if I can answer, you won't make a mint, but every dime counts and if you can get family members and friends involved, the more they shop the more you save for college.

Sat, 12/01/2007 - 20:41 Permalink

I agree with desi and good, why not enroll in the program and save a few bucks for college in the meantime, sounds like a good incentive program, your child is young you have a long time to save, so best to start now, even if you get enough for books it will be one expense you don't have to worry about. I would definately enroll if I were you, and promote it to your friends and family, sounds like the more the merrier in this case.

Sat, 12/01/2007 - 22:46 Permalink

I agree with desi and good, why not enroll in the program and save a few bucks for college in the meantime, sounds like a good incentive program, your child is young you have a long time to save, so best to start now, even if you get enough for books it will be one expense you don't have to worry about. I would definately enroll if I were you, and promote it to your friends and family, sounds like the more the merrier in this case.

Sat, 12/01/2007 - 22:47 Permalink

I think it is a good idea if you have a child, doesn't cost you anymore because you have to grocery shop anyway.

Sun, 12/02/2007 - 14:11 Permalink

do you guys do the boxtops for education. You can't get anything for your child but most schools will use them to purchase computer equipment and other educational material. It is a nice program, box tops come on a variety of products, I just pulled one off Hamburger helper tonite. Even if you don't have any kids in school you can mail them or drop them off at your local school and let them purchase something for the kids to learn with.

Mon, 12/03/2007 - 02:10 Permalink

I save them and give them to my sister, she is part of the PTA and does alot with the school district that she is in. this is a pet project of hers.

Tue, 12/04/2007 - 02:56 Permalink

Box Tops for Education has helped America's schools earn over $200 million since 1996. Your school can earn up to $60,000 every year through Box Tops- that's as much as $20,000 from each of these three easy ways to earn, so if you are buying the products anyway, why not help out your local school.

Sat, 12/08/2007 - 22:28 Permalink

I have four and in no way shape or form can I afford college for one of them, let alone all four. I don't think two of them will venture the college route, I hope that grants and jobs will help them get through college with little or no debt. I will help with what I can but that will not be much.

Fri, 12/21/2007 - 20:53 Permalink

So if you cannot afford education yourself...let them do it themselves. If they are interested in higher studies let them take it on themselves. Doing a part time will help. teaching kids can help as well. But they will have to understand their responsibility.

Sat, 12/22/2007 - 06:28 Permalink

That is what I am thinking that I will have to do Carol, I really have no choice in the matter.

My daughter wants to go into nursing, she is still too young to make that decision but I am trying to encourage good conversation about career goals with her, when we are not arguing over something, she is a teenager, so it comes with the territory. I see alot of nursing programs out there that will actually do the training at medical facilities but you have to give them a few years when you are finished in return, I don't think that is a bad deal, in fact, I think it is a pretty fair trade off and who knows you may actually like working there and continue on after your commitment.

I see other fields that will use the incumbant monies that the federal government has put out there to keep people in the field that they are already in, and the medical field is full of this money, so even if she had to start out as a nurses aid and the facility applied for this money they could help her move on there. Of course this is the long way around, but if you want it bad enough, you will do what it takes.

Sun, 12/23/2007 - 02:27 Permalink

When I went to a Junior College ( a zillion years ago..LOL) the Tution was free!! However....I also went to a University, in Kentucky and the Military paid for quite a bit. My son and I were talking.he's not sure if he wants to go to College or go into the military ( like his mom!!LOL). The choice, of course, is his. He's intersted in SOO much, though. I don't think he's made up his mind about anything yet. LOL

Wed, 12/26/2007 - 16:45 Permalink

Its great cracker that she has thought about something. But she has to be certain about her decision. In that case you have to give her full moral support making her understand the financial condition of her family.

Let your son decide what he wants to do. Let him free so that he can grow and understand his needs and desires. Hope to see all the kids succeed in life.

Thu, 12/27/2007 - 04:58 Permalink's important to evaluate his goals now because not only will he be investing his time from 2-4 plus years in school, you will be invested as well in many ways. I really like technical schools because they focus on your specialty whereas a 4 year liberal arts school, will make you take about 2 years of electives and such before you can really study your major.

I agee debtstinker, many of the technical schools are giving the major university a run for their money, as they should, they offer many good programs and eliminate a ton of the cost by eliminating all the stuff that you won't use like the liberal arts. They tend to stay specialized in the field of study.

Some students don't do well in a classroom environment, they are more hands on. I like that this option is available to these students, technology center sure have come along way and their educational curriculumn can sure compete when it comes to the hands on occupations like carpentry, electrical and plumbing. This is a growing industry and I am happy to see that these trades are being highlighted and taken seriously by these technology schools.

Sun, 12/30/2007 - 00:00 Permalink

Just make sure that you are coming out of the technical school with the proper paperwork, you can go through all the training you want but if it isn't put on the paperwork the proper way, it will get you no where. Some technology schools only offer diploma where a certification will be much better. Also do they offer a required test for the field, for example our technology center will train you on some computer applications but will not do the final testing required by microsoft to actually get the certification.

Sun, 12/30/2007 - 14:32 Permalink

I work with a lady that does not buy gifts for her grand children, she puts money into an educational savings plan for them, she has done this since they were born. Do you think her grandkids look at her differently because she does not buy for them? She spends time with them, but I think you should buy them a little gift anyway, she says that they will realize how important their future was to her when they don't have to borrow money to go to college, she buys them credits at a set amount of money now. I think it is a good idea, but like for christmas, she says that they get enough toys, she may be right. I don't know, guess it is a personal decision.

Sun, 01/06/2008 - 01:39 Permalink

This is a good idea for her grand children, what a wonderful gift for them, the parents of these kids must be thrilled, I would be. What a great gift.

She is giving them a different way to look at holidays and birthdays also, that it is not all about the gifts that you open right now, she is saying I love you enough to invest in your future, I think this is commendable.

Sun, 01/06/2008 - 02:14 Permalink

I think it is great that she is thinking about their future too, kids get enough toys and junk for the holidays, putting away for their future is a good move, good for her, it will help them in the long run.

Sun, 01/06/2008 - 21:30 Permalink

I agree with LT and good. She is doing a commendable job. In today's world when we are moving so fast, we do not even know what is going to happen next. Securing the future and investing for the future is the best gift one can offer. I am sure her children will understand the worth. In fact erb mentioned time spend as well. Thats what we lack these days. Spending quality time with each other. Big deal huh!!!

Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:23 Permalink

I spend as much time as possible with our child, I think it shows when it comes to holidays the most. She only wanted one thing for christmas this year, she is only four but she would rather bake and give to others. She is a sweet girl, hope she stays this way.

Tue, 01/08/2008 - 01:20 Permalink

She is sweet because you are...she will be a great gal once she grows up.

Tue, 01/08/2008 - 10:27 Permalink

So, I come to this forum for many reasons, I would like to address them one at a time, My 18 year old is graduating this year and wants to go to college, she started applying in hopes to get accepted to the bigger four year university that we have near us, we have some smaller ones around us, but I want here to have the best chance of getting the best opportunity the first time around, so I am willing to sacrifice and help her as much as I can.

She has always been a good student, she has great attendance, good grades and is involved in community activities. I have always pushed my children to stay involved and to give back where they can. Explaining to them that their time is worth more than money. Hoping that this will make them good connections and that this will pay off later in life, they will be remembered for what they have left behind in their communities. I want my kids to stay in there communities and work, continue to build on the roots that they have laid down since they were young children.

My daughter wants to go into social work, we have done our homework and know that these are not necessarily the best paying jobs, but the reward of helping people would be a fulfilling part of her career. She is not a child of extravagance, she is not easily influenced by the grand things in life. She is a happy, healthy person.

I read through this thread and got a ton of good information from it, what a wealth of great information. I am really glad that I found this forum, it will help me find more help than I ever expected with her college. I am going to look into the upromise for my younger child, got a long time to go and a long time to save for that one.

I am hoping that her grants and some of the scholarships that she has gotten from local organizations will cover most of her expenses. She will work through a program called work study too while she goes to school. I am sure we will learn more as she gets more involved at the university about opportunities for her to save and earn for credits and tuition.

Thu, 01/10/2008 - 02:31 Permalink

august you seem to be a wonderful human being and a great mother. I'm sure your children will grow up to be amazing individuals. You know what? More than money or your sacrifice, your inspiration will make them achieve what they want to.
I hope i can do the same for my sister. I am working on it and have started taking opinions from all the forum participants.

Thu, 01/10/2008 - 04:21 Permalink