Author: Kitty Boone
On today’s blog, we are delighted to feature Kitty Boone, a mom of two and NEST 529 Account Owner. Her and her husband’s blog, Kitty & Kevin, focuses on finances, parenting, budget travel and more, offering useful advice and inspiring stories for young families. In today’s post, read Kitty’s top tricks for saving with NEST 529!
When our first child was born, we sat down to discuss what we wanted for our child. We decided to look into ways to start saving for her college. When she was just a few months old, we opened up a NEST 529 College Savings Plan account, and did the same when our second child was born last year.
Why did we make this a priority? When my husband and I were first married, we owed $100,000 in student loan debt. That debt was crushing. We made the decision at that time that we would do everything we could to pay it off as fast as possible. Then when we had kids, we would help fund their college endeavors.
What I love about these accounts, is it earmarks a certain fund for our children. It tells us that we made a commitment to help with college, and we get to see the progress we are making towards helping their future. We chose a NEST 529 account as the way to save towards their future college expenses.
Now opening up an account to save for your child’s college may sound like a hassle, but I promise you, it isn’t! You can open up the account as soon as your child has a social security card. We actually found that enrolling during my maternity leave, when the social security card came in the mail, was the best time for me to remember to open an account!
Once your account is open, you can spend as much or as little time managing the account. I spend less than 5 minutes a month thinking about the girl’s NEST 529 account, and you know what? Every time I log in, I’m surprised how quickly the account has grown!
I’m a firm believer in automatic savings…keeping that money out of sight and out of mind. We aren’t tempted to spend the money or stop funding the account, because we have it completely automated.
Here are a few tips we have for painlessly saving for your child’s college.
Automate the Contributions. Each paycheck, decide on an amount you want to contribute to your child’s college. Have it automated to go into each child’s account every paycheck before it even hits your account.
Start Small. If you’re struggling to make this a priority, start with $10 as an automatic contribution for each child. Any little bit will make it easier to save in the future.
Increase Annually. At least once a year, increase the amount you are putting in the accounts. Can you contribute at least $5 more each paycheck? Probably! I find the best time to do this for me is in December, so I start off the new year in a great way.
Increase with Raises. If you get a raise, take that amount and use at least a portion of it to increase the amount of your savings contributions. If you get a $100/paycheck raise, consider contributing an extra $20 of that towards your child’s college fund. You’ll still see the raise in your bank account, but you’ve skimmed a little off the top to make your child’s future a little brighter!
One-Time Contributions. You don’t have to do everything by automation, give yourself a little boost by making extra one-time contributions. If you get a bonus, tax refund, or perhaps a monetary gift from someone, take a set portion of that (for example, agree to 15%) and put that towards their savings account. It’s always easier to put money aside when you have excess!
If you try these tricks, and start early, the money you have set aside for your child’s college will grow before you know it!
Want to really boost the account? We encourage family members to contribute towards our children’s college fund as an alternative to extra toys and stuffed animals that don’t last. NEST 529 makes it easy for grandparents to contribute to their accounts.
The opinions expressed in this blog are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the NEST 529 College Savings Plan. NEST 529 encourages Account Owners to explore all tools available to make the choice that is right for them.