Kimberly Siderio of Sicklerville, New Jersey, began saving for Emory's college soon after he was born.
"I feel like sometimes, parents don't realize that we have to think ahead," she says.
Siderio has been working with financial advisor Lee Molotsky of SHM Financial Group. He says it's never too early to start saving for college. And the whole family, from the child to the grandparents, should be involved.
Molotsky says, "It's the family budget that you really need to start with, and then develop as to how much money there is available, to put awa and do it on a monthly basis."
In addition to depositing money each month into Emory's college account, Siderio's also developed some pain-free ways of making it grow.
That's where Emory's piggy bank and the family's spare change come in.
She explains, "I let him fill the piggy bank up all the time, every time we have change, and then what we'll do is we'll deposit it. We'll go to TD Bank, and he'll do the change-counter machine, and then we'll deposit it into his account."
She also deposits any money he gets for birthdays or holidays. And if he gets gift cards, she'll deposit their cash equivalent into his account and use the card for things she'd buy anyway.
Plus, she's not shy about asking family members for college money, instead of toys.
"Toys last five minutes for a child, but the money in the long-run will last longer," she says.
Molotsky adds, "You almost have to bring the whole family together to figure out where the money is going to come from. So you need to do a little lump-sum planning and little bit of budgetary planning, meaning a certain number of dollars a month."
Another painless way family members can add money to your child's 529 -- or tax-free college account -- is Upromise. Your whole family can be on a single account, and when they use registered credit cards at participating merchants, reward money, even if it is just a couple pennies at a time, is deposited into the plan.
For more information on UPromise, click here.