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

  • Choose to move

    5 ways to help manage osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and affects over 32.5 million U.S. adults. OA is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and stiffness and can lead to limited function. read more »
  • Make these 10 doctor-recommended health resolutions in the new year

    Tips to help you get started

    The New Year is the perfect time to hit the reset button on your health and wellness. Not sure where to start? Doctors say you can make the biggest impact with small, incremental tweaks to your routine. read more »
  • The Bear Mountain Ice Rink is opening for the season

    Join them on November 4th for the first skate

    The Palisades Interstate Park Commission is pleased to announce the opening of the Bear Mountain Ice Rink for the 2023/24 season. Join us on November 4th for the first skate at the rink that was voted Best of the Hudson Valley three years running! read more »
  • Kingston Eats Veggies Campaign builds interest in local produce

    Kingston’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC) is piloting “Kingston Eats Veggies,” a vegetable of the month campaign. read more »
  • ASHA announces new developmental milestones for children ages birth to 5

    Checklists will help parents track their child's development

    The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) announces today the free, online availability of new checklists that detail communication (speech, language, and hearing) milestones for children ages birth to 5 years as well as feeding and swallowing milestones for children ages birth to 3 years. These milestones provide parents and caregivers with a roadmap of what to expect during their child's early years of life—and can alert them to the early signs of a potential developmental delay or disorder. read more »
  • How to make higher-quality choices at the grocery store

    Arm yourself with a plan and info

    Grocery shopping can be stressful when there are so many options, especially if you’re making a conscious effort to make high-quality food choices while you shop. Arming yourself with a plan and plenty of information can help you make smarter choices and feel good about the meals you prepare for your family. read more »
  • Self-care for sick days

    Navigate cough, cold and flu season like a pro

    Cooler weather inevitably means cough, cold and flu season isn’t far behind. Now is the time to take precautions and set yourself up with healthy habits. read more »
  • Simplify holiday hosting from start to finish

    It's all in the planning

    Hosting a major holiday event is no small effort. It requires close attention to detail from planning, cooking and cleaning to entertaining guests on the big day. Fortunately, just like any good recipe, approaching your hosting duties one step at a time can allow you to create a magnificent final product. read more »
  • Elevate your tailgate with easy-to-make recipes

    Concoct a winning game plan

    Concoct a winning game plan, gather the parking lot games and call the biggest fans you know – it’s tailgating season. This year, before you root on your favorite team, make sure your pregame party matches the intensity of the fourth quarter with recipes that really fire up the crowd. read more »
  • Holiday gift ideas to promote healthy, happy feet

    Give them some love this season

    Want to show your loved ones you truly care? Treat their feet this holiday season. read more »