College Fund Saving Tips

Written by on May 3, 2013 in Money - No comments | Print this page

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college-fundsFinancial strains for families can be felt amongst all.

A lot is demanded of us these days, high mortgage costs for those who can even get on the property ladder, increasing bills, and fuel costs.

Many of us find it difficult to set aside some savings each month as our disposable income seems to become less and less.

Setting up a family is no different. Having children is a well known expense, but the happiness children bring to the home is priceless, despite the challenges which come with it.

We want nothing but the best for our children and that includes a strong, well-rounded education which we hope will lead them into a successful career which will set them up for life.

College fees will vary significantly depending on the state you live in and the collage you attend. On average, the cost to attend university per year, based on figures for this current academic year is over $22,000.

However, two thirds of students manage to secure grants to help cover the cost of their fees, but their bills and tuition fees are on average still likely to be over $16,000. For those who start saving the minute a child is born, you ideally need to save at least $100 each month.

Here are some tips to help parents save for the college fund…

Start young…

Some couples start saving for the college fund before they have even had children. If you are a new parent, then you should really consider setting up a saving plan as soon as possible.

Even if you can’t manage $100 a month, just setting aside something for the college fund will all help. Spreading costs out over time alleviates some of the pressures in the future.

Ask for money instead of gifts…

In the early ages of childhood, grandparents, godparents and friends love buying your little one new toys, clothes, and treats. However if you look back to your own childhood, do you remember all your toys?

When children are young, a household can become flooded with toys which are really not needed. Make a suggestion that you would find more use from monetary gifts from friends and family as an alternative to help save for your child’s education. Most people will not take any offence, and will happily contribute.

Be sensible with your spending…

New cars, finance plans on furniture, meals out each week, and expensive holidays soon add up. Analyze your spending, are you paying the best rate you can find for your utility bills? Do you really need some of the finance plans you have taken out?

Can you find a reliable used car as an alternative? Being money wise with your monthly outgoings could mean that the savings you make each month provide for your child’s college fund just from taking time to analyze your household finances.

There are always restaurants, shops, hotels, and hair salons etc, offering discounts and vouchers on their services. Make the most of these money saving deals. Suddenly a meal out can become a lot more affordable, it won’t eat into your saving plans and you can still enjoy a healthy social life.

Encourage part time work…

Encourage your teenager to work a part time job when they reach the legal age. Not only will it teach them the value of money, but they can set aside some of their earnings to go towards their education. It will also help them understand and respect their education, as they will have worked hard to help contribute towards it.

Research saving plans…

Some college saving plans such as the 529 plan provide tax incentives to those saving for a college plan. Over time you should have generated a healthy amount of savings so really research the best savings account to see who can offer you the best returns.

Be zzavi…

If you are really struggling to find the funds to save for college, perhaps consider some of the more unusual options out there such as getting your car wrapped by a company, they will pay you each month for advertising their business.

You could also spend an hour each day dedicated towards a work from home job after your full time work obligations. This doesn’t have to be something which is stressful or tiring, there are many jobs out there which involve working from home such as product testing, being a website user tester, or you could become a writer. It will boost your monthly income.

Another approach could be to take in lodgers or if you have a spare car parking space, you could rent it out. There are many quirky money making options out there to suit your lifestyle. Even if it’s something you choose for a short term basis, it can really help your finances out.

Saving doesn’t have to mean an end to going out and having fun or buying yourself the odd treat. It’s simply about being wise with your choices and purchases. College funds can seem like a daunting challenge, but with some long term saving, and research into grants or scholarships, it’s perfectly achievable.

About the author: Kirsten works for children’s toy and outdoor games specialist Letterbox. She has two children and is currently working hard to save towards the college funds. 

Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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