Author: Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha

September is College Savings Month, and our favorite time of year here at NEST 529. As your child heads back to school, there’s no better occasion to plan for their bright academic future. To help families get the most out of their NEST 529 accounts, we suggest these smart savings strategies:

Define your saving goals – and share them with your child.

Are you saving for a 2 or 4-year education? Will your child live at home, or will you pay for room and board? Define your goals to help establish how much you should save, and share your planning and progress with your child. When it’s time for college, they’ll have the support they need – and good savings habits to last a lifetime.

Reward achievements with an investment in the future.

School is back in session, which means you have an opportunity to reward your child’s good grades—or give them an incentive to improve—by offering a NEST 529 contribution. Remind them that their hard work puts them an extra step closer to college, and one day a fulfilling career. Not only will you be motivating your child to succeed, but you will also be making progress towards your own savings goals.

Put disappearing expenses to good use.

Did you send a child off to kindergarten this fall? Contribute the extra money you’re no longer spending on childcare or preschool costs towards your NEST 529 plan. Recently paid off a loan or credit card bill? You now have extra funds to increase your regular contributions.

Take advantage of Upromise.

Upromise is a rewards program that can help you turn everyday purchases—from booking travel to buying groceries—into cash back for college. A percentage of your eligible spending will be deposited into your Upromise account, and you can link your Upromise account to your NEST 529 plan and have your college savings automatically transferred. Best of all? It’s free to join. Learn more here: www.upromise.com/nest529direct

Seek out scholarship opportunities for an added boost.

NEST 529 offers many scholarship drawings throughout the year, giving you the chance to win a NEST 529 contribution that will propel your savings efforts farther ahead. This fall, we’ve launched the first-ever Back to School Photo Drawing (ending September 30th) as well as the annual Dear Grandchild Drawing (ending November 30th). Rules and details are available at www.NEST529.com/scholarships. Be sure to check back often, as new opportunities are presented regularly.

On behalf of the NEST team, wishing you a happy College Savings Month!

Questions or concerns about your NEST 529? Contact our team at clientservice@nest529direct.com or by calling 1-888-993-3746.