When people talk about how college was the best time of their life, I, um, yeah. I can’t relate.
I met some great friends, and sure, I met my future husband/father of my kids/guy who builds me just about anything I want. But beyond that, nah. College was really crazy stressful, and not at all because of my coursework.
Okay, a smidge because of my coursework. (Unrelated: Will I EVER stop having nightmares that I’ve missed a class for a whole semester and then I have to take the final?)
I went to college with no financial support, and I don’t resent my parents for one minute for that. Truly. They did amazing things for me, and still do, but saving for college was not something they were ever in the position to do.
Every. Single. Semester. I left my financial aid advisor’s cubicle with tears streaming down my face, wondering how I was ever going to get through years of paperwork, and deadlines, and clerical errors, and scholarship checks not sent, and if I would actually make it to graduation.
I worked, sometimes up to 30 hours a week, and took up to 18 hours of classes a semester just so I could graduate early and get a “real” job.
They are the kind of memories that you can look back and laugh at- the sleeping on an air mattress because I couldn’t afford a real one, charging Ramen to my student account that I then paid interest on for 5 years before I finally paid off, scraping pennies together to pay for gas station fries in Panama City on a spring break trip I knew I couldn’t afford- but I couldn’t pass up because I longed to feel like a carefree college girl just for once.
In reality, though, back then when I was living it, it was… not fun.
So I promise myself and my kids that I’m going to do what I can to help them have a less stressful college experience. I’m not talking about paying for everything, but if I can keep their visits to the financial aid office to a minimum, I’ll be happy.
College isn’t supposed to be easy, but the stress from choosing majors and studying for finals, and maybe from figuring out how you’re going to pay for spring break are good life lessons all by themselves.
All that said? Dude, saving money is hard. And saving money for something’s that’s specifically earmarked for future use, like 11- 16 years from now? Harder. It’s so easy to think, oh, we’ll have more money by the time they get closer to college age. We’ll catch up.
And then I blink and there’s another birthday that’s passed by. It will be here before we know it. ::silent sob::
When Upromise asked me to write about what they had to offer, I first went on and signed up myself. And then I was like, wow, this actually IS something that could add up fast. So I think you all could benefit from this as much as I hope to.
If you’re unfamiliar with Upromise, here are some things you should know:
- Upromise gives you up to 5% cash back from shopping at one of their 850 online retailers, booking travel through partners like Tavelocity or Expedia, or eating and any of the over 10,000 restaurants they work with. This is stuff you’re already spending money on!
- Sign up for and use your Upromise MasterCard and earn up to 10% cash back when you shop through Upromie.com. Again, on stuff you’re already buying. (Just be smart and pay that balance off every month and it’s a true savings.)
- You can sock that money away into 529 college savings plans, savings accounts like the Upromise Goal Saver account, pay down eligible existing student loans, or request a check.
- You can have friends and family sign up for a Upromise account and they can direct their savings your way! Talk about a great way for grandparents to help out.
- Also, it’s FREE to sign up for Upromise. There are no strings. You can start using it right now. Today. Whether your baby is 6 months old or 16.
So if you like spending money (me!) and you know you should save money, but you need some help making it a little easier (also me!), maybe give it a try and sign up for free.
Also! Right now when you invite friends and family to join Upromise, you can both earn $20!