Saving for college can feel like a daunting task, especially when January rolls around. It’s the time of the year when you’re filing your taxes for last year and balancing your budget for the upcoming year.

Yes, looking at tuition rates for even the most affordable college can make saving for college feel overwhelming.

The trick is to start small, and start early.

If your budget is tight for any number of reasons, consider this: Saving just $25 from each regular paycheck will make a difference.

For most families, $25 is a pretty reasonable ask. That’s just one or two meals out, a handful of coffees, or maybe one less book or movie purchase every couple of weeks.

You may be thinking, “How much of a difference could $25 per paycheck possibly make?” The truth is, if you start saving early, it can make a tremendous difference.

As you’ll see from our Starting Early page*, $50 a month can help you build funds for college. With an initial investment of $2,500 and monthly contributions of $50, an account can build to an estimated $6,623 at a 5% projected average annual return.

And that’s just for a five-year period. If you decide to start earlier and save for 10 or 15 years, that number can potentially double or triple, respectively. If you start saving right when your child is born, 18 years of saving at 5% rate of return can grow to an estimated $23,670!

Sure, setting aside a certain amount from each paycheck may not always be the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re young parents and/or first-time parents. But when your little ones are grown and moving into their dorm rooms…you’ll be glad you did it.

Start small. Start today. Start investing in your child’s future.

* As you’ll see from the diagram on our Starting Early page, this hypothetical example illustrates the accumulation potential with a $2,500 initial investment and a monthly contribution plan at a 5% projected average annual return. The above example is based on projections and does not reflect your actual investment in the CollegeCounts 529 Fund. If fees were included, the returns would be lower. Your actual results may be more or less.