Need more incentive to save for college? How about these 529 college savings plan rewards? Find out about a referral bonus and ways to save even more money while funding your 529 account.
I’ve noticed that more and more incentives are cropping up to get parents started on their college savings programs. When I first started saving for college for my children, this was around 8 years ago, while I was pregnant with my first child. Back then, 529 accounts were a fairly new thing, it was the end of the dot com era and Upromise had just launched. But I quickly joined the bandwagon after researching the advantages of a 529 account — mostly to receive those tax breaks and benefits.
These days, you’ll get even more encouragement to save for college beyond those tax breaks, such as spending rewards to add to your 529 college fund, getting cash back, receiving gift cards, and so forth Here are some details of such incentives:
529 College Savings Plan Rewards: Incentives To Save For College
I’ve had Upromise for a while and even carry a couple of Upromise credit cards. In particular, the card I have is the one issued by BofA — the Bank of America Upromise World card.
Over the years, I’ve received small rewards on a regular basis and since 2001, we’ve saved $4,000 which went and funded 529 accounts that were linked to our Upromise account. Sure, $4,000 seems *really* small when you consider all the years that have elapsed, but it was no skin off our backs. We spend as we normally do without thinking about it, and voila! We get the extra savings.
Also, we never really optimized our spending to take advantage of these rewards. If we focused on spending more efficiently through the Upromise site, we’d probably generate even greater rewards. So that’s a project for another day! If you’re interested in earning rewards for your 529 account, then open a Upromise account here.
I haven’t yet tried BabyMint, but I’m definitely ogling it for its rebates. The question is whether you’d prefer to spend your bucks here or in Upromise (my vote is still for Upromise ). I’ll explore it for a more in-depth review in the future but for now, here’s the summary: if you shop through BabyMint’s merchant network, you’ll earn cash rebates via BabyMint Bucks (that are eventually converted to dollars). The rebates can be received via check, can be deposited into your 529 account or used to pay down your student loans. Or you can direct your rewards to another BabyMint member’s account.
3. Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan
I’ve decided to open an account with the Ohio CollegeSavings 529 to take advantage of their “Refer-A-Friend” program. The minimum amount you need to fund your savings account is $25 and with that, you’ll receive $25 upon account open if you use a reference code I provide below. By referring others like your family and friends (or in my case, readers ) to this savings plan, you’ll receive $25 for every referral and they will too, if they provide your reference code. But wait! You won’t have to refer anyone to receive the bonus, provided that you have several kids. Read on below for more details…
Why I Like It
The 529 accounts are invested in Vanguard funds primarily, which are my favorite mutual funds. Also, if you’ve got several kids, it’s easy to make extra money by signing up your kids with new accounts using your own reference codes. Your spouse can do the same. So in effect, if you have 3 kids, you can open up to 6 accounts (between you and your spouse) for all 3 kids, and here’s what you’ll get:
For each account holder: a minimum investment of $75 for 3 children will yield $100 in bonuses (each account referenced gets $25 while each new account also gets $25). Great returns right there! So the total minimum investment will be $150 with bonuses of $200 just for your family.
How It Works
- Open a 529 college savings account with Ohio CollegeSavings 529.
- Enter this reference code 2445926 so that you and I can receive the $25 bonus. If you miss out on providing the referral code, you may not get the bonus.
- Spread the word to your friends and family so that you (and they) can receive additional bonuses as well before May 31, 2009! Each new account will give you (and the account holder) an extra $25.
This 529 account is through the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority. I’d strongly suggest that you do your research and first check the type of tax deductions or benefits you receive from various 529 college programs as not all plans are created equal. If you’re going with the Ohio 529 college plan, open your account before May 31, 2009 to receive the referral, which will be applied to your account.
4. Scholarshare College Savings Plan
If you’re a California resident, then you may be interested in reviewing the Scholarshare College Savings Plan managed by Fidelity Investments. If you’re eligible to open an account, then you can register to receive a $50 Target gift card. You’ll need to open the account and sign up to automatically invest at least $50 a month into your account in order to get your gift card. That’s some work to get a free gift card, but the forced savings will pay off when your kids head off to university.
Any more rewards programs you know about that are associated with saving for college?
More articles on college savings:
- Save For College Using These Tools and Strategies
- Upromise Survey: Saving For College, Getting Tougher?
- Open a 529 College Savings Account
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