To get started on your microinvesting journey, you simply need to register with a free microinvesting program. Members get rebates on purchases at a wide variety of retailers. Examples of companies that participate in microinvesting programs are Exxon/Mobile, Pizza Hut, Monro Muffler & Brake, Staples, and CVS (to name a few). You can rack up some big bucks if, as a member, you buy or sell a home through a participating real estate brokerage (such as ERA or Coldwell Banker). Additional benefits can be achieved if the member uses a certain credit card to make the purchases or makes purchases from one of many online merchants.
Planning for college expenses when your child is young can mean excellent long-term benefits. Not only will it help your child afford college, it will teach you and your child the rewards of financial planning.
After You Sign Up
After you register with a free program, you can decide which of the participating products you want to buy and at which of the participating businesses you want to shop. In many cases, you don't need to make any changes in your shopping habits at all. These plans are becoming so popular that products and businesses are continually signing up.
These programs also give you the option of rolling your rebates into a Section 529 plan, and you can contribute additional dollars if you want to. Even if you are on a tight budget, you can squeeze out a few dollars a week or month and watch it grow.
Who Likes These Plans?
These plans are especially popular with parents of young children because they have the benefit of compounding interest over a long time. Grandparents can contribute toward a grandchild's educational savings plan without taking any money away from fixed retirement incomes.
With some programs, like the Upromise Plan (described on page 157), current students can also save up money to pay down their existing loans. The really great thing is that more than one person can contribute to a plan, so parents, grandparents, other relatives, generous friends, and the actual student can all register to have their rebates sweep into the same account. Imagine going to a baby shower where everyone registered to have their microinvestment rebates contribute to the lucky little bundle of joy's college fund—not a bad idea!