Christmas piggy bank

When family and friends ask what to give your children for the holidays, suggest a contribution to their NEST 529 College Savings account. 

As the year dwindles to its final weeks, combined with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I try to not go beyond our budget. Try being the optimal word.

We’re the type of family that takes advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We appreciate a good deal. And the money we save by surviving crowds of other discount connoisseurs, regardless of the amount, is placed in our children’s NEST 529 accounts.

No, I’m not a financial analyst — far from it. However, I’m a mom with children and anyone with children knows the holidays get expensive, and we are going to be bombarded with more stuff. More toys, more gadgets. More, more, more.

So when family and friends ask what to gift our kids, we suggest contributing to their NEST 529 College Savings account. It’s easy, it’s practical and it doesn’t make loud, annoying noises or anything of that nature. It’s those little contributions that bring about big advantages.

How does it work?

The great thing about gift contributions is they can be transferred securely from one’s bank account, eliminating the need to go to a busy store or wait for a package.

Login to your account at NEST529.com. Once there, select Ugift.

You’ll get a unique Ugift code that identifies your child’s specific NEST 529 account and a Ugift evite to share. Write it (or them, if you have more than one child) down for future reference.

Share your Ugift code with friends and family. Then have them visit Ugift529.com, enter the code and set up a Gift Giver profile. Creating a profile allows them to give future gifts more easily.

And a Happy New Year!

Remember how I said we’re the type of family that likes a good deal? Because we have to — children are expensive! We have to be smart about where our money goes.

Every dollar we put into our children’s College Savings Plan, if used for eligible expenses, grows federally and is state tax-deferred. Not only that, but it also has major state income tax benefits. As Nebraskans, contributions we make into our NEST 529 accounts are deductible on our state income tax, up to $10,000 annually.

“Saving for higher education is a commitment — and one that people should not have to face on their own. At NEST 529, we are your dedicated partner in the savings journey and are here for you every step of the way. With many offerings, including easy-to-open accounts, automatic payment plans, frequent scholarship opportunities and numerous gifting options, a NEST 529 account makes saving for higher education an attainable reality,” says Deborah Goodkin, managing director of savings plans at First National Bank of Omaha.

In short, while this holiday season can be crazy and, well, crazy expensive, being smart about where each dollar goes can help in the long game.

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