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American’s are saving the lowest dollar amount they have for college in the last three years.  This is according to the recent report released by Sallie Mae – How America Saves 2015.

Yet overwhelmingly parents still want kids to go to college and see the value of having a degree.

While we don’t want to put our own retirement ahead of our kids college, there are some things that can help you save more for college so your child can attend college and not take out crazy amounts of student loans.

Below are some ideas on how you can save more money for college.

often we anticipate our kids helping to cover college costs, but we wait till it is too late to actually have that conversation with the kids.  They don’t know they are responsible for some of the college money.The sooner your kids know they have to pitch in, the sooner they can start saving their own money and increasing the money available for college.  You can do this as young as your child understand college.  We started talking about it in second grade, and now our son knows that outside of the 529 he is on his own!He even occasionally asks how much is there so he knows how much to save!

2.  Start an Auto Draft to a Savings Account

Sometimes we don’t save money simply because we forget to! We have so much going on in life that we forget to take the time to make the transfer from our checking into a savings account or a 529 plan. By making this an automatic transaction then you don’t have to even think about it!  Even a small amount of money every month will add up and help!

3.  Upromise

Similar to a frequent flier program you have multiple ways to get “cash back” for college savings.  You can connect your current credit card to your account and get money back when you shop with one of their associated vendors or you can open a Upromise credit card and earn money back. The funds go to a savings account that can then be transferred to a 529 or even applied to an approved existing student loan.  Great alternative to travel credit cards while increasing your child’s college savings (or paying yours down). Just remember to transfer out the money as the account that the cash first goes into does not earn interest.  Great that you saved, not great that it is losing to inflation!

4.  Sound Money Management

Ultimately the biggest reason for not saving for college (or retirement) is that there are just not enough funds left after all the bills are paid.I could go into a whole list on ways to reduce costs so money can be saved, but I am sure you have seen those before.  What will help you more is understanding how all of your money works together to get you to where you want to go.Take the time to learn more about money and you will be surprised at how much easier it is to achieve your financial goals.  Best part?  You can teach your kids along the way what you are learning.

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