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How to Help Your Child Save For College

Going to college is expensive, but it’s difficult to get a good job without a college education. Many young adults rely on student loans to help them pay for college; this solution is both costly and unnecessary. Instead, parents should begin saving for their children’s college education as soon as possible after their children are born and encourage their children to contribute to their own college fund as they get older so that they will have enough money to pay for most of their college tuition by the time they are old enough for post-secondary education.

You can open a savings account for your child as soon as he has a Social Security number. Although it may seem silly to start saving for college while your child is still in diapers, it makes sense to do so; you can save thousands of dollars over the course of 18 years.

Set a small savings goal for each week or month to help you get in the habit of saving money from each paycheck for your child’s college education. For example, resolve to save $100 a month, or $25 a week, whichever is easiest. Deposit this money into your child’s savings account as soon as you get your paycheck. A modest savings goal such as $100/month comes out to about $1,200 a year. By the time your child is ready to go to college, you’ll have about $21,600, which may cover his first year of school. This figure doesn’t include interest on your savings; you may have enough to cover two, three or four years of college once your child turns 18.

As your child gets older, you can teach him about the value of money by encouraging him to save for college himself. Start by showing him his bank balance every week after you deposit money. Talk to him about what the money is for. If you give him a weekly allowance, ask him to choose a portion of his allowance to save for college and take him to the bank to deposit it into the savings account himself. This will allow him to feel like he owns his own account as well as to learn about saving and making choices about what to do with his money.

If you change jobs or your income otherwise changes, you may need to adjust how much you put into your child’s savings account. Share these decisions with your children. Explain how you made the decision and why you made the decision you did so that your child can understand. This will also help him learn how to manage his savings and income—valuable lessons for both saving for college and for managing his finances as an adult.

Finally, if your child gets money for his birthday or during winter holiday time, treat it the same way as you do allowance and allow him to choose how much of it he puts into savings. These kinds of gifts should be viewed as an extra opportunity to save for college.

Saving on Education

The economy around the world is still in shambles and educational costs for universities and colleges are still going up at a prohibitively expensive rate. In order to achieve higher education these days, you must be incredibly resourceful individually, and hopefully you have a family that will back up your dreams. Not everyone does, and the tips below are still applicable if you do not have any help at all. Because no matter what anyone says, there is always a way to get an education and help yourself remove the glass ceilings that stand in the way of your success.

– Use the Internet

As with investment information, before the rise of the Internet, information about scholarships and other sorts of things that would’ve been greatly helpful to anyone seeking help in education was simply not available except through elite connections. However, with the rise of the Internet, all of that information is quite freely available. Just make sure that if your looking up government grants, that the website that you visit has a suffix of .gov. There are many private entities that will try to fool you into thinking that they are a governmental entity and take your money for information that you can obtain for free.

– Volunteer

This is assuming that you do not have the academic or athletic standing to get scholarships in either one of those areas. However, there are plenty of scholarships available for those people who give of their time. Volunteer for reputable, nationwide companies, and you may find yourself rewarded with money at the end of your journey.

– Work study

Many of the smaller universities, and even some of the larger ones, offer great work study programs to people who otherwise would not have the money to attend their institution. Getting on the right work study program can actually be a plus in your college social life – you will very quickly meet a great deal of people around your campus and if you think of it as getting paid to interact with important people, it makes the day go much faster.

– Starting early

Assuming that you are not a senior in high school, the earlier you start saving money for your education, the more that it will add up. Looking at tax-deferred accounts that are specially made to save for higher education are one of the best investments that you can make in your future.