College is expensive. I know. Having tackled over $30,000 in student debt over the last four years, I’m literally paying for the choices that I made as a teenager.
And they were terribly expensive choices.
Borrowing more than I needed, attending a school I couldn’t afford, ignoring my scholarship opportunities when I was in college…. These are the things that make me want to invent a time machine, go back to the past and yell at the 18-year-old me.
But my biggest regret? Not saving any money for school. More importantly, not coming from a family with the foresight to save money for school! Even a modest amount of savings would’ve helped offset a lot of my issues.
That’s why I’m so passionate about encouraging families to save for college. If you’re a parent of a child who even has the slightest chance of getting a higher education, here’s my message for you:
It’s never too early or too late to create a plan for how you’ll save and pay for college.
The good news? You have the power take a few simple actions today and save yourself (and your son or daughter) tens of thousands of dollars in debt later.
Even though college is downright expensive, you have options for making your child’s college education totally affordable. Here are 4 ways you could save at least $10,000 to help offset the costs of a college education.
4 Ways to Save $10,000 for College
- Pick a cheaper school. Everyone looks for sales and discounts when they’re shopping for clothes, so why not do the same when shopping for the right college? “Good value” colleges are ideal – schools that are affordable but give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to an awesome education. If you’re already having conversations with your teen about what schools they want to attend, be sure to factor in price along with passion. If you’re really looking to save money, starting at community college or opting for the state school with strong academics but perhaps less “prestige” than a private school is a smart place to start.
- Get all the free money you can. There’s so much free money out there to help pay for college, it’s hard to imagine anyone paying anything out of pocket. From grants based on financial need to scholarships based on your daughter’s skills as a left-handed tuba player, free money for school is floating around. All it takes is a few hours of your teen’s time filling out some applications (which can be worth tens of thousands of dollars).
- Start saving early and often. If you have an infant or toddler, you’re probably more focused on diapers and potty training than your little darling’s diploma years and years from now. But a little initiative now could net you tens of thousands of dollars in the future. Saving just $100 a month for 18 years will yield you $21,600 – and that doesn’t even include the interest you could earn!
- Check out 529 college savings plans. Ever heard of a 529 college saving plan? A 529 plan is an education savings investment plan designed specifically for college savings. When you save in a 529 plan versus a regular savings plan, you can take advantage of some nice tax breaks. On the federal level, your investment grows tax-deferred and your contributions come out federally tax-free. Many states off significant tax advantages, too. You can learn more about the tax benefits of 529 plans at SavingforCollege.com
But the best way to save for college? Win $5,000 toward your child’s college education with GradSave 🙂
Win $5,000 for Your Child’s College Fund with GradSave
GradSave is an easy-to-use online registry that let’s friends and family contribute to your child’s college savings. GradSave links to any 529 college savings plan. When you sign up, you’ll get your own profile donation URL to send to grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends on any special occasion asking for a donation to your kid’s college education. GradSave will also send reminders to your “College Savings Team” – your core group of supporters and donators for major milestones in your child’s life, like birthdays, bar mitzvahs and baptisms. It’s a convenient way to take deposit with friendly reminders to let everyone how important saving for college is to you and your family.
Oh, and they happen to be giving away $5,000 toward your college savings goals 🙂
That isn’t to say that you should stop saving for college… but a couple thousand dollars would sure help!
For your chance to win $5,000, visit GradSave’s $5,000 Children’s College Fund Sweepstakes.
Disclosure: GradSave sponsored the mention of their contest in this post. But I’m a big fan of saving money for college and winning moolah, so I’m happy to share this opportunity with you all!
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