For a young family struggling to finance a college tuition savings program, Washington stockbroker Wayne F. Nelson advises buying discounted bonds that will mature in the years education money is needed.

Because the bond market has been so unsettled recently, bonds that mature at $1,000 face value, he writes in How To Buy Money, "might be purchased 10 or more years before maturity at 30 percent to 50 percent discounts from their face values." (You buy cheaply now and get full return at a specific time.)

He gives this example:

You have two children and $3,000 to invest for each. One begins college in 10 years, the other in 12.

"For the oldest child, buy a bond which will mature in 10 years, another in 11 years, and another in 12 years and so on. For the second child, buy bonds that will mature beginning in 12 years. By doing this, you will insure that money is available in increments as the student progresses through the years of college."

Each $3,000, he says, "may buy as many as six $1,000 bonds. Accumulate the current interest in a savings account, and as it, plus other money, adds up to enough to buy more discounted bonds, add to the education bond portfolio."