Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Twins College Fund Project

 At the beginning of this blog, I discussed how much it costs to send one child through college today, let alone twins 16 years from now. So we started Maryland Savings Plans for each of our kids--and here's the trick--by each parent (each kid has two college funds; each can max out at $321,000). The maximum tax benefit is reached once you deposit $2500 per year into the individual's plan.

So here's the challenge I've set myself: Accrue $5,000 by December 31, 2012 (the deadline). I've got FOUR months*, and here are the rules:

I do this all from home, by selling off overage, old toys and kids' clothes, stuff we never used, old books, and (hopefully) a little freelance writing. (Because someone has to watch the twins.)

I have to deduct expenses for newly purchased supplies, but not for items we already own (boxes, envelopes, pack tape, etc.).
Listing/selling the item cannot involve additional fees, but may involve a percentage cut once the item sells (no listing fees allowed, commissions ok.)
If someone wants to buy something I've listed, I MUST sell it, even for the minimum price. (No reserve pricing.)
If a previously listed item doesn't sell, it must be donated before we file our taxes. The total refund added on as a result of donations cannot be counted toward this FY, but can be counted toward next year's FY. So if I donate $100 worth of items, I get ~$30 toward next year's effort.
Option: Items purchased for resale must cost less than $5 each, and no more than $50 invested at once (items must sell before I purchase more). Again, all listed items not sold by year's end have to be recycled. I can keep unsold articles for publication.

Here's the plan:

Bookholders: My year-to-date total is $44.47. Whoo-hoo! Gotta run some more books over there.

Craig's list: I sold most of our moving boxes for about $50.

Ebay: This is a fun one. Ebay recently (don't ask me when) began offering 50 FREE listings (no insertion fee) per month. This means that I can only list 50 times (relisting once counts again), and can't use any upgrades like gallery photos.
Check out my eBay auctions

Freelance some parenting stories.

MOM Groups' Consignment sales: We net an average of $300 per sale, so two annual sales should account for $600 of the money, but I think I can do better.

Selling off precious metals. I'll keep you posted on the price of copper.....

My running total for this FY? $364.57. 
Only $4635.43 to go!

I think it's a good plan, especially as I'm at risk of becoming a hoarder.

*Author's Note: I amended this information because I erroneously thought the deadline was the same for 529 plans as for IRAs (Tax day of the following year, so 4/15/13). Not so! The deadline is the end of the calendar year. Instead of 8 months, I have 4. Yikes.

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