A college education can open the door to a lifetime of security for your child. But, unfortunately, it comes with a hefty price tag. The time to start planning is now while your child is young. Setting aside money into a separate account each month will make the possibility a reality and give your child a chance at achieving success. Even if you are on a tight budget there are many ways you can set aside a few dollars each week without sacrificing on your quality of life for their college books, meals, and tuition.
Sticking to a Budget
A four-year college tuition can run upwards of $50,000 to $100,000.00 dollars. And while you may not have the full sum tucked away in 18 years, you will have a substantial amount saved to get them started and reduce the amount of a student loan. It’s important to establish and stick to a household budget that includes a monthly payment into a college fund. Once you do this for a few months you’ll find it easy to do and see the savings grow.
Shop around for your utilities
If you are already on a treadmill with your monthly bills you may think that you cannot afford to remove anything from your paycheck to put away for college. But, if you get frugal you’ll find that you can do it and without sacrificing on your current quality of life. For instance, take your gas and electric bills. When was the last time, if at all, that you reviewed them? Many states now have unregulated energy markets. This is something you, the consumer, can take advantage of. Sit down and compare the rates of Epcor and other companies to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Also, comb through your cable bill. Do you really need all of those channels? If not, contact your provider and see if you can remove some or get on a different plan.
Whether you’re food shopping or buying a new pair of shoes, there are plenty of ways to save big. First, if you have several grocery stores in your area, check through all of the flyers. Unbelievably, they don’t always have the same items on sale. Also, many stores have certain products that they offer for less. Take advantage of this and plan your outing to visit one, two or even three stores. The savings make it well worth the time and effort. It’s also important to bring coupons with you. Most major brands offer coupons. There are many sites that specialize in this online. They are free to use and you can print them out and then take then with you. Many department stores have apps where they place their weekly sales. Plan ahead and check through them before venturing out.
Dine in more frequently
Once in a while, it’s nice to take a break from cooking and let someone else do the work. If you currently order out two times a week reduce it to once. Then put the money into your college fund. This way you’re not taking anything extra from your budget and you’re adding money to the college fund. If you stop for coffee on your way to work each morning, limit it to two times a week or do away with it altogether and carry a thermos. The same goes for your lunch. This can bring you an additional $30.00 to $50.00 in just one week.
Preparing for your child’s college education ahead of time can help make the transition from living at home to living on campus enjoyable and rewarding. You don’t need to scrimp and save every penny, just learn to live frugally and the rest will fall into place.