A Brilliant Clutter-Free Gift For Your Kid’s Future

Clutter-free gifts are my favorite. Indeed, Asha and my latest podcast episode is on crap-free holidays, and I’ve posted before on easy DIY food gifts, gifts kids can make (including clutter-free ones!), and experiential/time-oriented gifts. The stuff overwhelm factor this time of year is real and given how practical I am, I’m a little shocked that I never thought before about 529 college fund contributions as a gift idea.

Because here’s the thing. I’m super lucky to have a large family that loves to dote on my kids. Every year, family members ask me for holiday wish lists and this year -- not too surprisingly -- I just don’t want a ton of stuff. And amazingly, neither do Laurel and Violet. The other weekend I asked the girls to each list 3 things they wanted for Christmas and it took them a while to think of 3 things. (Violet’s first idea was a bow and arrow...that’s subject for a separate blog post!) So when I circulated their rather modest wish lists to my family, I added 529 fund gift contributions as a request.

And here’s something awesome. After I did that, my three siblings who have kids added 529 fund contributions to the circulating wish lists. Yay for brilliant clutter-free gifts for your kid’s future!

Now, I will say that Laurel is in her first year of middle school -- she understands and appreciates this concept. She already knows where she wants to go to college (no joke) and she knows it’s expensive. When I told her I added 529 contributions to her wish list, she was visibly happy, thanked me, and then asked me what are the best things she can do in addition to good grades to earn a scholarship (that kid!). At 4-years-old, Violet doesn’t understand about college and I also realize that from the family/friend perspective, giving a 4-year-old a card with a note about a 529 contribution for the holidays doesn’t result in that satisfying holiday freak out factor. My recommendation? Spend $1-2 dollars on a favorite candy bar, lollipop, or pack of gum and pair it with a 529 gift contribution. Hello freak out factor and investment in a beloved kid’s future!

You’re psyched for less clutter and more meaning this holiday, right? To get your account set up, head over to Fidelity.com/college for more information about saving for college and/or the MEFA U.Fund page for more information about the Massachusetts 529 college savings plan.

Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Fidelity + MEFA. Storytelling is, of course, my own.