For high school students aspiring to obtain a college degree, a lot of financial considerations must be made. The financial need and qualification for scholarships and grants require much persistence and hard work.
The average yearly spend for well-known public universities is around $32,000 and $65,000 for private colleges according to TIME. This means that saving up for college needs a solid, structured, long-term savings plan. And while it’s easy to have a calendar marking the minimum amount of cash set aside daily, you need to determine where your source of funding would come from, and the realistic nature of your goals. Here’s how:
Set a Smart College Savings Goal
For parents, the goal is to start saving for college as early as the child is born whether or not the child decides to pursue college or not. Parents can follow simple college saving strategies like following this formula: Multiplying $2000 by your child’s age to determine how much you need to save in a year. It's important for parents and children to have open communication about college savings, and funding as early as possible so both sides can have their expectation met.
Have Multiple Sources of Income
Nowadays, it’s hard to rely on just one source of income. Having savings doesn’t mean preparing for the worst, but preparing for the best to come as well. That includes preparing for college and post-graduate schooling. With multiple sources of income, you gain more potential for the college fund, as long as you deal with your everyday expenses wisely. Choosing what a budget-friendly and manageable approach to your daily grind is a must.
Go Beyond Your College Savings Goal
It’s simple, and it’s not easy, but save more. The sacrifice will be worth it, knowing you won’t end up buried in crippling debt trying to cover unexpected expenses.
Get Trusted and Professional Financial Advisors
There are many temptations that veer you away from saving long-term for college. You need someone whom you can trust when it comes to safekeeping your money and growing its value. Do your research and get to know some of your financially successful friends who know a few trusted professional financial advisors who practice a high level of integrity and responsibility with your money and care about your goals for saving for college.
Work on Eliminating Debt
You will find it hard to achieve your ultimate college savings goal if you have debt. Work on paying your existing debts on a regular basis, and paying above the minimum payments each month. Stay organized. Have a calendar and keep track of due dates on bills, loans and from people who lent you some cash. From there, you can set a timeline on how much you need to earn in a week or month to be able to pay everything on time.
Don’t Acquire Any New Debt
The first key to be successful in getting out of debt is to stop acquiring any new debt. Hold off on making purchases online with your credit card unless it’s paying for basic needs like food, water, shelter, and communication. Learn to live frugally by hanging out with friends who have the same savings goal as you. Find fun and free and inexpensive things to do for fun. Classify purchased into one of two categories a “want” or a “need” to help avoid overspending.
Create Earnings Out of Unused Belongings
As the adage goes, “one man’s trash is another one’s treasure.”
Find something worth selling at home that you don’t use very often. Organize a garage sale or sell your secondhand items online. Reserve that income gained for your savings account, and always make sure to follow the rules on selling in your state.
Apply for Free Money Every Year
Often, students only apply for scholarships and grants during their senior year in high school or freshmen year in college. You can begin as early as fourteen for some scholarships and continue to apply all the way through graduate school. So be persistence and find that free money.
Saving can turn into an obsession when you hold too firmly on to your earnings and leave more important things like time for family, friends and some fun. Saving up for college is a good goal, but don’t overdo it to the point that you don’t give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the experience.
Do Not Give Up
Don’t give up because you find it difficult and overwhelming to save. Have faith and continue following your savings plan. Determination and discipline have its rewards, and in the end, after you’ve chosen to keep moving forward despite obstacles, you’ll begin to reap those collegiate benefits.
What other advice would you suggest for saving for college and avoiding student debt?
Brian is a dad, husband, and an IT professional by trade. A Personal Finance Blogger since 2013 who, with his family, has successfully paid off over $100K worth of consumer debt. I want my three children to handle money better than I ever did at a young age. I have been teaching them as much as I can for the last 10 years. My goal is to continue to champion the financial literacy message and then why I created the “How To Rock Your Money” book. To help teenagers navigate their financial futures. I hope my family’s story of paying off over $100,000 worth of debt will inspire and motivate you to take control of your money. He blogs at BrianBrandow.com