Planning for the Future—How do you do it?

  • With 5 children, it is easy to get caught up in the "now" and forget to plan for the future. Do you plan for the future—such as college funds and braces? How do you do it? Any tips and tricks to help other moms out there? --Bonnie, StrongMoms Facilitator

  • I have so much respect for others who do it... right now I have a hard time getting through next week financially! Our kids' college funds might consist of buying books. When I look at the cost of higher education today, it sickens me that my children will have to go $200K or more into debt for a four-year degree. It would be much cheaper for the country to pay for two years of head start than four years in college! If I didn't have to pay for preschool, I could maybe start saving something monthly, but pre-tax retirement savings seems like the wiser investment for us.

  • I'm a total planner... We only have one child as of now though so i can imagine that makes it much easier to plan ahead. We don't make a ton of money with my fiance being the only one working, but we aren't struggling to get by. We have talked several times about starting a Gerber grow up plan for Hazel. When she hits 18 or 21 i think the benefits double. I have to do some more looking into it though. I would hate to spend all that money over the years for the company to go under and my daughter not benefit from it. Otherwise until we get out of debt (credit cards and car payments) all of our loose change goes into per piggy bank and on her birthday every year we'll take her and deposit it into an interest drawing savings account. When she goes off to school then she can have access to it. Loose change adds up. especially if you make it a point to manage your money by using cash instead of your debit card. 

  • It's very difficult to put aside money because something always comes up.  My husband and I used to eat take out a lot.  We decided to take the money and put it in an envelope instead of ordering food.  We now clip coupons and shop together to keep each other from wasting money on unnecessary items.



  • Oh gosh, I read this post and just groaned.  How does one save for anything in this day and age-it seems like just when I get ahead something happens.  Can anyone relate? The one thing I was thinking about though, as I read this, is that program that Bank of America used to have where for any change up to a dollar on your debit purchases they would then throw that in your savings account.  So if you spent 3.54$, they would then put 46 cents in your savings.  It used to add up pretty fast.  So, in thinking about piggy banks-maybe going through and putting aside that spare change, and then not using it (lol), it will add up in time.  I think it's easier to save for loved ones than ourselves -atleast it is for me. I don't know that I've been of any help, but those are my wise Friday night words. lol.Big Smile


  • I agree Jess. I have found that if i use my debit card it is much more difficult to budget what i am spending so that i can put a little into savings, but when i use cash suddenly spending becomes a bit more painful because you can physically see how much is leaving your pocket. As of now all change goes to hazel and if there are more children in the future then the change will either be divided among them or they will take turns on who gets it. I can definitely relate with things going awry just when you think you've finally gotten caught up. February seems to be my hardest month every year. I spend all year planning and budgeting so that we don't get behind and can put a little aside, then something always goes wrong... the car needs brakes, the AC went out in the dead of summer, someone gets sick, one of the dogs gets hurt... the list goes on and on. The next thing i know it's February and the car needs plates, hazels birthday is coming up, taxes need to be done (and we always pay a lot since my fiance is a business owner).. Usually if i can just get through February the rest of the year doesn't seem to be as bad. Anyhow now that we've gotten a bit off topic... There will always be something that puts a hitch in your plans, all you can do is move past it and continue on. I figure as long as we have what we need and a little of what we want and an occasional brake from every day life then EVERYTHING WILL BE OK....

  • We have started to add a little bit from each pay check to a college fund for our kids - it's call GET in Washington State. You can pay for college at today's rate and it will apply towards college when they are 18! We started it with gifts to our kids for their birthdays, etc from family and friends. It's worth checking out to see if they have it in your state. The money you set aside is invested and continues to grow in the fund as well. Very worth it. 

  • I know that there are plenty of 529 plans out there for College. It is wise to look into them, but it can be hard to put money aside for all your children so be sure that the plan you get is transferable in case one of your children doesn't go to college or gets a scholarship!!!

  • We also do the planning of our family future most especially the education a lot more.


  • Our plan for our new daughter is to meet with someone at our local bank.  We are going this Saturday and I hope they have some good ideas. 

    I also have done some research so I am prepared with questions. 

    I started to read up on the Gerber Plan.  It appears to be a term life insurance policy.  We haven't decided is this is the right option for us just yet.  We already pay a monthly amount for our own life insurance to protect her in case anything happens. 

    Next, I was reading up on the 529 plans.  This seems like a good option but what I heard is that if you have this then it could limit financial aid you might receive for college tuition if you need it.  Its also not available in all 50 states so I am unsure if say she decides to go to college in Hawaii and we have paid into a NJ plan...

    The last thing I have been thinking about (not researched) was having a separate savings account in my daughter's name.  I know when I was growing up I had one and it was actually very fun to go to the bank to deposit money that I earned as allowance.  I know that is something very far out in the future since my daughter is just 1 month old but I figure why not start now with all the monetary gifts we have received for her birth. 

    If the bank gives me other ideas I will share them.

    It will be hard to prepare and be ready to pay for college but its great to see that other moms and dads are thinking about it early like us!

  • We started our first son's 529 college plan 1 week after he was born. We intend to do the same with our second son in a few weeks. It's tough to put it aside, but the alternative is to have larger debt than necessary in the future. Remember - Every penny that you put into an account now is a penny that your child won't have to borrow.

  • That is so true! Even a little bit now will add up to something bigger by the time these guys are in college.