My kids have everything and anything they could want — from train sets to dolls to Pokemon cards and tons of clothes. So, when their birthdays roll around, it’s hard for me to offer gift advice to family and loved ones because, simply put, they don’t really need anything.
What they do need is an investment in their futures. And that’s just what they get with their 529 college savings plan with the Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP).
If you’re like me, and you want to encourage family to contribute to your children’s MESP accounts instead of adding to the toy clutter and piles of laundry at your home, read on for some tips.
Don’t be afraid to bring up college savings
For the longest time, I felt weird asking people to contribute to my kids’ college savings programs instead of buying them new clothes and toys. But truthfully, I wish I would have brought it up sooner. Don’t be afraid to mention MESP contributions are a first choice in the gift department. The impact of that contribution is far greater than another new pair of Nikes.
Use a shareable link
Sending out an evite for your child’s next party? Instead of an Amazon gift list, include your child’s unique Ugift code, which can be found on their MESP account. Contributions can be made anytime at Ugift529.com.
If grandma and grandpa aren’t so tech savvy, that’s OK. They can write a check or give cash to deposit in your child’s account.
Take the half and half approach
Have a family member who insists on purchasing a gift for your child to open? Suggest using half on the gift and half to contribute to their MESP account. Let’s say your loved one usually spends $50 on a gift. They can take $25 to purchase a toy and contribute $25 to your child’s MESP account.
Show your appreciation
Your kid might have “present face” when they realize they didn’t get a new toy or outfit, so that’s where you come in. Make a big deal out of the gift of a MESP contribution. After all, everyone wants to feel good about the gifts they give to the people they love.
Get the kids involved
Want to keep family and loved ones contributing to your child’s MESP account year after year? Have your child draw a picture of what they want to be when they grow up as a spin on the traditional thank you note. You could even include a message that says, “Thanks to your MESP gift, I am a step closer to being a veterinarian,” and have your kids sign it. Because kids tend to change their minds when it comes to their careers, that picture could be different every year. Either way, it’s a cute keepsake and thank you from your child to anyone who contributed to their account.
Don’t have an MESP college savings account yet? Set one up for as little as $25. Head to the MESP Open Account page to get started.