With school back in session for the kids, our children’s education has no doubt been on all of our minds even more lately. Our calendars are already filling up with school events and project due dates and all of the things we moms juggle during the school year. But here’s one more thing to add — September is College Savings Month, and Future Scholar, South Carolina’s 529 college savings plan, makes saving for your child’s education one of the easiest things to accomplish this month.
Here are five things you can do this month to get started saving or to grow what you’ve already saved!
1. Open an Account With Any Amount
Future Scholar does not require a minimum contribution to set up an account. That means you can easily start saving for your child’s higher education (and even their K-12 education) at whatever amount you’re able. Timing is so important in saving for education, so every dollar you save now helps you reach your investment goals, and reduces the amount your child may have to borrow later.
What makes starting now even easier? Setting up an account with Future Scholar only takes about 30 minutes. Just visit the Future Scholar enrollment page to get started!
2. Check Your Progress
I started accounts with Future Scholar several years ago for each of my daughters, and I’ve easily been able to track the progress of the accounts over the years. Future Scholar even offers free tools to help you plan!
Want to know how much more you need to save? Check out the College Savings Projector.
How much will your state tax deduction be? Use the 529 Tax Calculator.
What will college cost when your child is ready to go? Use this calculator to find out.
3. Save a Little More
Already saving with Future Scholar? Now is a great time to start saving a little more. With the monthly early child tax credits being paid to parents, you can deposit part or all of it into your account with Future Scholar. This gives your savings a significant boost! You can also auto-draft savings contributions each month, so it’s even easier to add a little more to your Future Scholar account and get back to all of the other things keeping you busy!
4. Learn About the Benefits
Beyond the initial benefits of saving for education expenses, 529 college savings plans with Future Scholar offer tax benefits as well. You can deduct contributions to your Future Scholar account from your South Carolina state income tax, and withdrawals from your account are tax-free as long as you use the money to pay for qualified expenses.
5. Make a Gift List
Who thinks their kid doesn’t need more “stuff?” Yep. Mine either. But what I do put on their gift wish list every year (okay, and mine really) is contributions to their college savings. Our family members are able to contribute gifts to our children’s Future Scholar accounts for holidays and birthdays. Simply send an eGift invitation to friends and family and make it easy for them to contribute. The gift contributions don’t have to be large, because eGifts start at $25, and gifts by check can be written for any amount.
Even better — friends and family can deduct their contributions to a Future Scholar account from their state income taxes, so they get a gift as well!
Get Started This Month!!
Need some inspiration? See how families are facing the real-world challenges of saving for college and how Future Scholar is working for them.