Student loans are a hot topic across the United States. It is one of those topics you can’t avoid because it is in every news story, social media feed, and at the front of everyone’s mind. With all of the attention student loans are given, it’s smart to consider saving for college rather than taking on student loans. But where do you start? We have compiled a list to spark your inner creative genius and help you start saving for college.
If you are saving for your child’s college tuition.
- When family and friends inevitably ask what to get your kid for Christmas or their next Birthday, suggest giving them some money to add to their college savings fund. While it might not be as fun as opening a present containing the latest and greatest toy, Mom’s out there can probably agree that your children have enough toys already. Not to mention that there is no gift like an investment in one’s future
- Get your kiddos involved. There’s always local groups and activities you can include your kids into. Encourage them to enter essays contests, and other competitions when they are young. Starting off young encourages good habits, and a ton of contests have scholarships as the grand prize.
- Say “no” every once and awhile. Were you invited to a last-minute birthday party? Let the host know you are thankful for the invite, but you already have plans. Take the funds you would have used for the event and put it into your college savings account. Or anytime you pass up that latte, put the money you would have spent into the savings account. You will be amazed at how quickly it adds up.
- Start couponing. What is the regular price of the item? Save the difference between what the item should have cost versus what you paid. Even if it seems like a minimal amount, every penny will add up. And fast!
- Do you give your children an allowance? Have them put half of their allowance in their college savings. Not only will this encourage healthy financial habits but will also help you save a little money for their future.
If you are a high school or college student.
- Shop and eat where they offer student discounts. The difference between the discount and the regular price is something that you can put into your college savings. Not only is it easy it also promotes healthy financial habits. And, it encourages business around town to offer student discounts.
- Use the gym at your high school or college campus rather than paying for a membership at the fancy gym with a much higher price tag. This is yet another item you can save the difference on and put it towards your college tuition.
- Take advantage of the free activities going on at school rather than paying for entertainment. Entertainment can be a BIG expense for high school and college students so cut wherever you can. Every time you go to a free event, take the money you would have spent on your entertainment and add that to your college savings fund.
- Avoid buying name brand. Generic brands are generally the same product, but much less expensive. Again, save the difference and put it in your college fund.
- Automate your savings. This is something EVERYONE should be doing, but high school and college students should as well. Set up your paycheck so a certain portion goes directly into your savings. This way, you are not paying all your bills, having fun and leaving nothing left over for savings.
- Test out of your pre-requisites. Is there a subject you are particularly gifted in? Take a little extra time and try to test out of it. You can take tests for college credit or prove your knowledge. This allows you to move on to upper-level courses without having to pay for the pre-requisite courses.
I would love to know what creative way you save for college. It seems this debate on student loan debt is not going anywhere so we should face it head-on. Don’t get me wrong, student loans allow people to pursue their dreams, but if we can save a little money in the process, why not? Happy Saving!
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