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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.

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