Hot Topics     Home and Family    

September is College Savings Month

Taking small steps can add up over time

Creative ways to save for college

A little creativity can go a long way when it comes to saving for college. Unused gift cards, a weekend yard sale, and daycare tuition savings can help grow the college nest egg.

Taking small steps can add up over time, advises the college savings experts at MEFA. September is College Savings Month, a great time for MEFA to host a seminar on how to make a plan to save for college and remind families of clever and unconventional ways to find extra funds.

MEFA has videos that can help you get started with your planning. See them here.

READ MORE: Weighing college costs

The online resources at include two blog posts revealing novel ways to save. Tips include the following:

  1. Use daycare money. Did you transition a child from daycare to kindergarten this year? Or reduce daycare costs for other children? Before you get used to those extra funds in your budget, allocate them for college savings. It's an easy way to move money from one commitment to another, and your college savings account will benefit.

  2. Have a yard sale. What's an easier way to earn some extra money than selling those unnecessary things taking up space in your house? Pull the family together to empty closets, drawers, and shelves of items you no longer use, and sell them all at a weekend yard sale. Fall's the perfect season for families to be shopping outside. Give a shout to your neighbors to see if anyone else wants to join in. Set aside every penny you earn for college.

  3. Sell gift cards. Most of us have unused gift cards we've forgotten about, sitting ignored in our junk drawer, at the bottom of our purse, or somewhere in our desk. As you find those gift cards during preparation for your fall yard sale (see #2), gather them up and sell them online. Plenty of sites, including, will give you cash for those unused cards. Funnel those earnings right into your college savings account.

  4. Sell Halloween costumes. Halloween is on the way, and many families are on the hunt for discounted costumes. Search your closets and play room for gently used costumes that your children have outgrown, and sell them on a neighborhood list, Facebook Marketplace, or elsewhere. Deposit the earnings right into your college savings account.

  5. Encourage college gifting. Though the holidays are still months away, everyone has at least one relative who gets a jump on shopping. Cover your bases by sending a note to all loved ones that what your child really wants for the holidays this year is a contribution to the college savings account. If you have a U.Fund 529 plan, you can easily set up a gifting page where family members and friends can contribute. Sit back and watch your college savings grow.

For more ideas on college savings, visit the blog and saving for college pages on

MEFA is a not-for-profit state authority, not reliant on state or federal appropriations, established under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 15C. MEFA's mission, since its founding in 1982, has been to help Massachusetts students and families access and afford higher education and reach financial goals through education programs, tax-advantaged savings plans, low-cost loans, and expert guidance. All of MEFA's work aligns with the ever-present goal to support the independence, growth, and success of Massachusetts students and families. Visit to learn more or follow MEFA on FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter and YouTube.

Other articles by HVP News Reporters

  • Residential refresh

    Personalized touches for your home

    Your home is an expression of you, your personality, and your lifestyle. When it comes to personalizing your home’s aesthetic, try leaning into your senses to inspire change within your space. read more »
  • An elevated sandwich for any occasion

    Your family is going to love this

    They might not be the fanciest of foods, but when you eat a filling, protein-packed sandwich, you are usually left satisfied and full of energy. From ham and turkey to mayo and mustard, the possibilities are nearly endless when sandwiches are on the menu. read more »
  • Graduation party planning

    5 tips to make yours awesome

    Graduation marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, a significant milestone worth celebrating. However, planning a graduation party can be overwhelming. read more »
  • Know as they grow

    How birth defects affect each stage of life

    Birth defects, structural changes that affect one or more parts of the body, are the leading cause of infant mortality. A baby is born with a birth defect every 4.5 minutes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). read more »
  • Almost two-thirds of home fires are due to human error

    Here's how to prepare

    The threat of a home fire is greater than most people think. 40% of people believe they are more likely to win the lottery or get struck by lightning than experience a home fire, yet residential fires are the most common disaster people face in the United States, according to the American Red Cross. read more »
  • How to erase negative self-talk and feel better

    Writing can help

    It’s been four years since the collective trauma of the pandemic created widespread grief, anxiety, and isolation, but the psychological wounds of this period have not fully healed. read more »
  • 7 ways to reduce energy bills during summer heat

    Don't let your budget get smoked during a heat wave

    With temperatures forecasted to run at least 2 degrees higher than historical averages across more than half the country, according to projections from AccuWeather, heat waves may lead to soaring air-conditioning bills this summer. read more »
  • Celebrate Father's Day with exciting outdoor activities

    5 ideas for a day of fun for the special guy in your life

    A thoughtful card or personalized gift can go a long way on Father’s Day, but what many dads (and grandpas) want on their special day is time spent with loved ones. read more »
  • Preparing for your first pet

    5 tips for new pet owners

    Welcoming a new pet into your family can be an exciting addition, but preparation is required to provide a loving home and enjoy the unconditional love of a four-legged family member. read more »
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 101

    What every student-athlete should know

    Heart conditions may be more often associated with older individuals, but you might be surprised to learn hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common condition responsible for sudden cardiac death in young athletes. In fact, it’s the cause of 40% of sudden cardiac death cases. read more »