TiVitz College Savings Game-a-thon: A New Way to Save for College with Online Gaming | missfrugalfancypants.com

This post is a little outside of my typical home décor and entertaining ideas but I’m so excited to share it with you because it hits the frugal nail on the head! This is primarily for those of you with kids (ages 6-18), but is also for anyone who may benefit from learning new ways to save money for college.

I was recently introduced to the TiVitz College Savings Game-a-thon and couldn’t wait to get my 11-year old playing and saving! Full disclosure, I was so excited to learn about this program, I jumped at the chance to do this sponsored post for them. As usual, all words and opinions are my own.

In case this post is wordy for you, I broke it into three parts: my description and experience with the game itself, how the college savings aspect works and what I (and later we) have done to save for college and how TiVitz College Savings falls right in line with our method.

The Rundown on TiVitz: The Game

TiVitz is a strategy-based math game for kids. It’s available as a board game, online or apps on Google Play or the Apple Store. <<NERD ALERT>> (Seriously though, if my little description of the object of the game confuses you, just keep reading. I was totally confused, too until I watched my daughter play and read their directions. This part is really up to your kids anyway, so keep reading to learn what you really need to know). Players move their numbered game pieces across the board to land on numbered score goals in a way that kind of reminds me of Chinese Checkers. But moving the pieces is only part of the game. The numbered game pieces must be moved to the numbered score goals (which also contain various operators depending on the skill level) in order to produce the highest possible answer. Strategy, folks. I’m lovin’ it.

TiVitz College Savings Game-a-thon | Online Math Game to Build Strategy Skills | missfrugalfancypants.com

Once the game is over, the players still have to solve the equations correctly in order to earn the points. And no joke, I played to test out the game and totally killed my chances of winning by not carrying a zero. {Forehead slap} And math was my best subject… There are other little tricks and rules involved in a typical TiVitz game but I absolutely love the fact that the gist of this game builds on basic math skills and critical thinking!

It turns out, teachers love TiVitz, too, so some of your kids may have already played the board game at school.

I’m not sure about your kids, but my 11-year old easily becomes obsessed with the online math games she has to play for school. She is required to play a certain amount of time per week and gets very competitive to beat the boys in her class. I never grow tired of her playing a game that assists in MATH skill development. Never ever. Ever.

TiVitz College Savings Game-a-thon | New Way to Save for College | missfrugalfancypants.com

She jumped in with both feet…more specifically, she began to play without a clue what to do. Read directions, what? Pfft! Not her. She figured out the concept by the end of the first game but I made her read the rules afterward so that she knew they existed.

And while I was excited to introduce her to a new math skills game, I was even more excited over the TiVitz College Savings concept. It’s actually group funding for college. Say whaat?


Think Walk-a-thon Fundraiser meets GoFundMe to save for college. Crazy, right?

Like a fox.

I’ve been using Upromise for years to help add funds to my daughters’ college savings but I’m always looking for other ways to drop a few dimes into their accounts. We didn’t do prepaid college so who knows how scary tuition will be when their times come. The idea of them being in massive student loan debt freaks me out. I also have zero plans to go into our own massive debt as we get closer to retirement. Novel concept, I know. (Little disclaimer: I have an 11-year old and a 3-year old. Only one is old enough for this game so when I sometimes mention daughterS and other times a single one, I swear I know how many kids I actually have. At least most of the time.)

TiVitz College Savings: How it Works

So, here’s the deal. Once you and your child set up their online account with TiVitz College Savings, you send out pledge requests to friends and family (similar to the walk-a-thon concept). I actually made Avery play to get the hang of it before we sent out any pledge requests so that she could speak intelligently to any friends or family members that ask her about it.

Once your friends and family pledge their amounts, your child has to play a certain number of games in the Game-a-thon in order to earn the money pledged. What’s that? The kid has to DO something that requires thinking to EARN the money?

Yes, please.

And the something they have to do naturally builds skills?

Uhhh. Sold.

Once the money is received from your friends/family, it’s deposited directly into the account you designated for their college savings.

Oh! And there are matching opportunities available on a first come first served basis. As in, if your child earns $100 from a few family members, they can earn an additional $100 from sponsors while the money is still available. Free money. Hellooo???

Seriously. So in love with this idea!

TiVitz College Savings Game-a-thon: A New Way to Save for College with Online Gaming | missfrugalfancypants.com

The Game-a-thon is only for a limited time each year so if you are interested, sign your kid(s) up pronto, tonto. This year’s Game-a-thon ends March 31, 2016. They can play all year but they can only earn money during the actual Game-a-thon.

Here’s the other aspect of this program that makes me do the Cabbage Patch (the dance for you folks scratching your heads right now…ahem, like my husband); your child gets to “game”, while gaining mad math skills, and plays a major role in building their own college savings fund. I’d like to believe that giving them the power to contribute to their future will help solidify their mental plan to work hard towards a goal. I think there are studies that show that but I’m not a huge statistic person so I’m going with my own natural assumption here.

Now, to be honest, unless you have a ton of friends and family with money out the wazoo, this program isn’t going to completely fund your child(ren)’s college education. But in this day and age, we truly have to be creative when it comes to saving.

Every. Little. Bit. Helps. Trust me.

How We Save Creatively

Prepaid college wasn’t an option for me when Avery was born. I was suddenly and unexpectedly a single mom on such a tight budget that there was nothing left over for anything other than life at that moment. I began her savings account with any money she received as a gift for the first 2 years of her life. I never used gift money to buy her things she didn’t need (she had more than enough toys, clothes, etc.) and immediately put the money in her bank account.

Once the account grew, I did little things like buy CD’s or open a money market account to earn a little extra interest. Again, these options didn’t make her thousands of dollars but it made her more than if I never made the effort to try to (very conservatively) grow the funds. I wasn’t willing to gamble with the stock market with what precious money she had, so safe and uber-conservative was the only option, in my opinion.

As she got older and wanted to be able to spend her gift money, we would save up to a certain point, count everything up, roll coins and put half of it into her bank account while she could keep and spend the other half. As she’s continued to catapult right into tweendom, it’s become harder for her to part with half of that money as she also receives less since she no longer has giant birthday parties. Sounds like it’s time to get creative again, huh?

Over the years, we’ve also deposited various amounts depending on our own current financial situation. When I was working, I tried to deposit at least $25-50 per month from my paycheck. To some, that seems so minute and pointless but to others, that’s gas money. You do what you can. I also always set aside a chunk of any “unexpected” money like holiday bonuses or tax refunds to go to her account. Again, lots of tiny little deposits but with just the amount that started as gift money, her first year of college, at the very least, should be covered.

That’s huge to me! My experience with growing a little something from nothing is what got me so excited about the whole TiVitz College Savings concept. It’s yet another way to help my daughter make her college dream happen. Whether she earns a hundred or a thousand dollars with the Game-a-thon, we know firsthand, every little bit counts. I can’t stress that enough.

Please, do yourself a favor and check out their website. It’s quick and painless to set up your account and they have plenty of information listed to explain the game as well as the process to use the Game-a-thon to save for college. Happy gaming and happy savings!