Saving up for my little sis' college...but how!?

Hey guys,

I would like to know ways where I could help save up for my sis’ (she’s 14 and a freshman) college. She is like the shining star of my family and I know if pushed to the right direction, she can go places. My dad’s a stupid bum (whole dif. thread) and while my mom works her ass off, there is no way she can support the family and save for my sister’s college.

I’m not asking to save enough to last her the whole college life but something that she can take with her to help her out adjust to life away from home. I know she will be able to get both academic (she was top20 in jr. high) and maybe even some sports (she was named student athlete of the year for tennis) scholarships.

I do have a well paying job and not too many deductions (still paying off student loan), I can part with a $100-$150 per month…I know the obvious “put it in the bank and let it accumulate interest” but I was wondering if there are other ways to help…only hoping for the best for her since if she becomes someone important, she can always support my ass in the future…if you guys need any other info that I did not mention, please ask and I will try to respond asap…thanks for you help!!


My step-brother has a college savings plan going for my niece, but she’s only a toddler, so it wouldn’t really compare. I think he has some kind of mutual fund that he’s investing in, but I don’t know much about it.

If you are able to save $100-$150 a month, for four years, that’s a nice little chunk to give to your sister after graduation. The way tuition is going, by the time your sister gets to college it might only pay for a semester at the State U., but at least it’s something. If your sister’s and the family’s financial situation is less than ideal, then she can probably get need based help as well. A friend of mine’s younger brother is getting financial assitance partly because neither of his parents went to college. (There could be more to the situation, but that’s at least part of it.) If she’s a good student that only helps.

I don’t know you or your family, so don’t take this the wrong way, but a lot can happen in four years, especially when those four years are high school. (i.e. don’t bank on an athletic scholarship!) It’s good that you’re going to save for her, and there are lots of scholarships out there. If she uses the guidance counselor at her HS, they should be able to help her with that. An odd example of a scholarship I remember was of a school offering scholarships to identical twins. That doesn’t help you out, I know, but it just shows that there are all kinds of things out there.

What a lovely sibling you are. I have no advice I just wanted to say you are very cool. :slight_smile:

Most states have a college savings plan. Here is Wisconsin’s


Check out Upromise. I’ve put hundreds of dollars into a college fund for my niece through Upromise – at no cost to me. I do a lot of shopping on line, and I try to use the merchants that contribute. Also, I have the Upromise credit card – 1% of everything I charge goes into the account; I charge everything (groceries, vet, car repair, travel, etc) and always pay it off every month. Email me if you’d like more information.

This is something you’d need to do alot more research on before you do it but you could try to find an inexpensive multi-bedroom house near where your sister is going to college and make a 5% down payment on it. Then have her rent out as many rooms as she can while she lives in one. If you do that then you will hopefully give your sister free rent (assuming she can rent out a room or two to cover the cost of mortgage, taxes, maintenance & insurance). But like i said you’d need to do research on where she is going to college, renting situations in that town, etc. If it worked however she’d pay little to no rent, which is about 25% of the total cost of college.

Thats about all I can think of at the moment.

I’m trying to do the same thing for my sisters kids but it’ll be another 15 years before they see any cash :slight_smile:

I searched for ‘trust funds’ in google to get the information you need and even some banks had ‘collage trust funds’.

You can invest in an educational IRA for your sister. Here is a high level view of what they are:

It’s only $500 a year, but since you won’t have to pay taxes on the earnings, I would recommend doing this. Any savings you can muster beyond $500 a year just invest outside of the IRA.

Since you are looking at a short timeframe for needing the money (about 4 years), I would recommend staying away from stocks. They are better for long term investing. I’d buy some bond funds. Good luck!

Babymint offers the same thing. I don’t know if its the same stores but if not then you can double the number of retailers that offer 3%+ rebates.

Here’s a link to a good web site,
I am not a financial expert, but I believe that 529 plans are considered to be superior to Educational IRAs for various reasons (more flexible, higher allowable contributions).

I think that’s a really good thing you’re doing. Hopefully she’ll be able to get a scholarship of some kind and she can also do some type of work-study to make money while going to school. With your support, financially and otherwise, I’m sure she’ll do well.

Can you consolidate your student loans to get a lower payment or extend the months you have to repay it? If so then maybe you can add another $50-100 you’d save in paying lower loan payments to add to your sister’s payments. Then when she graduates (if you want) she can help you pay off your student loans if she is making a good income.

Have you talked to your mom about putting aside $50 a month or more to add to the money you are saving? $50 a month may not sound like alot but over 8 years it is 5k.

What about things like PLUS loans. Do you or your mom want to take these out for your sister?

My parents started investing in a mutual fund when I was five or so. It paid for college, (living expenses, books, tuition and everything else like beer) for four years, and is still supporting me in hard times. I bought a car with some of the money, and I’ve been able to avoid credit card debt. However, I went to college during the Clinton years, so the stock market was amazing, unlike now.

Start with a savings account (interest bearing) and research different mutual funds.

Do both.

Why thank you calm kiwi…I know I’m a sucker for my little sis…

Sorry for the late reply but I’ve been busy with work and I totally understand what some of you said about not totally depending on scholarships (educational and sports) so all the suggestions like the website and probably just saving up at the bank all sounds pretty reasonable to me!

Knowing that we are qualified for Pell Grant because of our families’ income, that should help a lot too. I will be reading up on the 529 plan and the IRAs as well as looking for that book from the guy I heard on the motly fool show about how he went through college with only scholarships from all over the US…worth looking at right?

Anyways, thanks for your help and I always know I can depend on you guys to help me when I’m in doubt or questioning something!!