Wednesday, December 10, 2014

the financial elephant in the room

this is a sponsored post for upromise.com. all thoughts and opinions are my own.

i have five children. that means five mouths to feed, five kids to clothe, five different extracurricular activities and five other little lives to pay for every day of their lives. don't get me wrong. i love my sweet, little people. they make my life what it is. still, it can be challenging to get through one season at a time, let alone plan for the future.

my kids are going to college. that's just the way it is. we don't ever use the word "if" when we speak about their collegiate futures. we simply say "when." a college education opens the door to a world of possibilities for my kiddos and we want them to have every opportunity possible. we are counting on a college education for each one of our five. as the days pass too quickly, we are realizing the approach of that education is coming faster and faster. 

we are doing little things as we can to save for our children's college educations but, let's face it, sometimes bills take priority over saving for the future. we surely cannot be alone in this. there seems to be a giant elephant in the room, a financial hole that many of us have but no one wants to talk about.

it's time to bring the financial elephant out of hiding and address it for what it is.

it is okay. 

many, many of us are in the same boat. my husband managed to pay his way through college. i took out student loans. we survived and we are none the worse for it. if i can save for my kids’ college, that's fantastic. if i can't save enough, that's okay too. they can still get an education and they will survive.

saving a little is better than saving none at all.

we do not have excessive amounts of money to be putting aside for our children's college funds. still, we have to recognize that small beginnings over time can add up. we are going to be thankful that we are able to set money aside, regardless of how much or little.

there are things you can get for free (yes, i said free!)

my kids are going to be gunning for scholarships. i went to college for free for a few years on scholarships. they will be applying for them in droves. 

beyond that, we have been taking advantage of another savings program that costs us *nothing at all* beyond what we’d be spending any way!!! you heard me right. upromise is free to use, and the cash back you get from your everyday spending can be transferred right to your child's college fund. 

when my husband and i were living in South America, we discovered upromise.com. this amazing company gives you a certain percentage of every dollar you spend while online shopping at participating partner stores. before clicking to buy from certain stores, first sign into upromise.com and then click through that site to do your online shopping. stores will give you a percentage of your purchase into an online upromise account that can be transferred into a college savings account. how great is that? i love to online shop! i love anthropologie.com, jcrew.com, 6pm online for shoes, amazon for almost everything, travelocity and hotels.com for travel... dozens of stores where i already shop are willing to give me cash back for my kid's college fund through upromise. amazing, right? 

there is also a way to earn more for your upromise account. if you are purchasing a house and use a century 21 realtor that you find through upromise.com, that realtor will give you half of their commission back into your upromise account, up to one and a half percent of your home price. can you say "gold mine?" seriously, it's crazy not to be doing this. so far with our upromise account we have gotten thousands in cash back towards college. little bits add up to big college savings! 

address the elephant

so, what are you waiting for? ignoring your financial “elephant in the room” won't make it go away. it's time to take a baby step toward planning. if you haven't begun, start by opening a upromise account. if you want to save more, make a baby step today. an education is always worthwhile. we are doing what we can to prepare and we are believing our five kids will walk across a podium one day with their college diplomas. how about you?


upromise by sallie mae is looking to start financial “elephant in the room” conversations among families, and have created a #myfinancialelephant facebook tab. you can also share your financial elephants on twitter @upromise with the #myfinancialelephant hashtag. join the conversation!