Maybe it’s something about the seasons changing as the summer comes to an end. Maybe it’s something about the holiday season and year’s end fast approaching. Or maybe it’s just convenient scheduling for organizations like us.

If you look at your calendar, now is a great time to start saving for college with a CollegeCounts 529 plan: September was College Savings Month, and October is Financial Planning Month!

We want to help you along your college savings journey, whether you’re just getting started or you’re trying to improve your savings portfolio. Here are a few suggestions for both stages.

If you’re just getting started, or you haven’t started yet…

1. Learn what your funds can be used for. When your child goes off to college, they will need more than just tuition assistance. Thankfully, their CollegeCounts 529 dollars can be spent on all kinds of expenses—textbooks, computers, room and board, and lots more1.

2. See the benefits of starting early. If your children are young, you may think that the decision to start saving for college is still a few years away. But if you really want to make the most of your college savings fund, you should start early to take advantage of the potential growth an account can offer.

3. Open an account and start saving. If you’ve been on the fence, go ahead and open an account! The set-up is quite easy and can be done all online. Once you’re set up, don’t get overwhelmed and think you have to invest thousands right away—even just $25 per paycheck is a great way to get started.

If you’re already saving, but you want to save better…

1. Review your investment options. CollegeCounts offers a variety of different investment options to meet the needs of many types of investors. If you’re not sure which option may be right for you, our Risk Tolerance Questionnaire is designed to help investors understand how comfortable they may be with risk by answering a few simple questions.

2. Apply for a CollegeCounts 529 Rewards Visa® Card. If you’re looking for a way to increase your contributions, the CollegeCounts 529 Rewards Visa® Card can help! If you’re approved for the card, you’ll earn 1.529% back on your everyday purchases, which will be invested directly into your CollegeCounts 529 account. That could mean extra dollars every year toward your saving goal!

3. Encourage friends and family to make gift donations. With the holiday season coming up and birthdays happening all the time, there are plenty of occasions where friends and family will be buying gifts for your little ones. Instead of another toy, encourage them to donate to your child’s CollegeCounts 529 account; it’s a gift that will mean the world to your beneficiary years from now.

Hope you have all had a productive College Savings Month, and we hope CollegeCounts 529 will be part of your Financial Planning Month agenda!

1 Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for enrollment or attendance; certain room and board expenses incurred by students who are enrolled at least half-time; the purchase of computer or peripheral equipment, computer software, or Internet access and related services, if used primarily by the beneficiary during any of the years the beneficiary is enrolled at an eligible educational institution; and certain expenses for special needs services needed by a special needs beneficiary.