The students loans outstanding is now reached One Trillion dollars and growing and parents and students both are struggling to get hold of dwindling shares of money for which they are qualified. So it is imperative that funding for college should be started when your child is a baby (unless you expect to inherit or definitely know that you can get hold of four years of college money before your child reaches college age). Any money that the child gets like on birthdays or monetary awards or even some portion of their allowances should be stocked away in some account in your name in trust of your offspring. And whatever the financial situation you are facing, do not even touch that money earmarked for college purposes.
You have heard the expression out of sight and out of mind, if you get money in your child's name you should immediately deposit it in his/her account. Another way to save is to use the college funds which the states have initiated called 529 plans which can earn money overtime (although I would be hesitant to recommend it since I don’t know much about them and have not invested in it) but in terms of your money growing it can be alternative. You can also purpose a short term Certificate of deposit and keep on rolling it, although the interest is abysmally low but hey the principal remains intact. Although I read all the time that your retirement plan is very important and you should take care of yourself first but paying for your college offspring and making sure he/she does not struggle with college is more satisfying financially and emotionally. So keep on hunting for money for college any which way you can find including selling your own unused stuff in garage sales and putting it in your child's name.