I have recently heard that by the time our children are ready to go to college, it will cost us approximately $200,000.00 per child for a 4-year education. Considering we'll have three kids going at approximately the same time, with a fourth child going two years later ... Charlie and I are planning that between 2022 and 2028, we'll be out $800,000.00.
That is ... in the off-chance all four of our children aren't valedictorians and outstanding athletes, with full-ride athletic and academic scholarships. In which case the money that we would have spent on our children's education, will be used to support Charlie and I in our early retirement as we jet-set around the world, first class. (I better start working harder on our colors.)
Charlie and I are pretty good about saving money for our children's education. Although, we're constantly on the look out for opportunities to boost our contributions ... especially since there's a slight chance we'll need to come up with $800,000.00 in the next 15 to 20 years.
Which leads me to my first tip of the week: upromise.
Upromise is one of those things that everyone should know about ... but very few actually do. In a nutshell - it's a college savings program. Once you set up a upromise account, you link your credit and debit cards to your account number. Anytime you buy a product that is sponsored by upromise, that vendor will put a certain percentage of the sale in to your upromise account.
For example: if I were to go to the grocery store and ... hypothetically ... purchase Nestle Toll House Cookie dough (a participant in the upromise program), and use my credit or debit card that is linked to upromise ... Nestle will put 3% of the purchase price in to my upromise account. And then, on the way home from the grocery store, I swung by an Exxon or Mobil gas station and filled up my car, using a debit card that is linked to upromise, ExxonMobil will put 1 cent for every gallon in to my upromise account.
And that's just the beginning.
There are thousands ... tens of thousands ... of participants in the upromise program that are standing by and ready to put money in to your upromise account.
As much as possible, I try to do our shopping online. Today, for example, as we are continuing to spend every last dime on this out-of-control nesting craze ... we purchased several area rugs through the Pottery Barn and a new stereo receiver through Best Buy. These are items we were planning to purchase, anyway. But because we bought them through the upromise website, we collected $75.00 in our children's college account.
Just like that.
So, if you have children ... or grandchildren ... or want children ... or know children, and if you think that it would be a good thing for those children to go to college one day - you should be capitalizing on this opportunity. Friends, family, grandparents ... you name it ... anyone can link their credit cards and funnel their contributions in to your child's account. Or, they can set up their own account and have the amount dispersed by whatever percentage they want.
Before our children were even born, I started a upromise account. And I can say that this program has got to be one of the absolute best and easiest ways to collect money for college ... and greatest of all, it's entirely free.
My other tips for the week aren't nearly as critical, but important nonetheless.
Tip number two: when your toddler sticks their finger out and says something that you think sounds like "booey" make sure that there is an actual "boo-boo" on said finger, before you give it a big kiss and realize that they were actually saying "boogie."
Tip number three: when you are preparing to fork out a small fortune on maternity clothes (that you can purchase through upromise), buy sizes that are much larger than anything you think you will ever need. Because there is an excellent chance that at some point - when you reach the dimensions of a hippopotamus - shirts will ride up to your arm pits and the drawstring from elastic waistbands will completely disappear.