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Saving Money for College - How You can Save as a Family
Saving Money for College
Many families that have children hope to be able to help send those children to college one day. There are things you can do as a family or as an individual as well, to help save for college. Make sure you don't get caught up in traps like, "we waited to long to start saving," etc. Its never to late to start making decisions that can add at least a little bit to college savings.
Start Saving Money Every Day
Even without extra money in your pockets to put away, start saving today by cutting expenses all around you. Get creative, and get down to business. Of course its ideal to start saving from say birth or kindergarten, but even if you have just a couple years or even one, still start now. Every little bit you save can be invested into a college fund even if its just a regular savings fund that you are calling a college fund. Never give up. Don't put too much stock into scholarships and and financial aid, as those can be variable and of course competitive. You have much more control over your own money.
You might be able to fill in a gap somewhere that is very much needed, that otherwise you would put off onto some loan only to pay interest on over time. Look at it like that every dollar you save, is one less dollar you have to borrow to go to college. You won't be paying interest on that dollar either, and its much simpler to "deal with." The value of a dollar goes far when you look at it like that.
Its actually a good practice to learn to live on less money, even as a family. Many parents understand this first hand that have sent kids to college. Suddenly life gets very "tight" financially, but its very much worth it! When you are learning to live on those kinds of sacrifices now, its much less difficult when the time comes that you must do so. Same thing goes for that college student!
Eliminate the Non Essential "Luxuries" in your life.
The idea of cutting out the non essentials in life is tough idea for some people, as they grow accustomed to living and buying things a certain way. We really sometimes spoil ourselves where we may not need to. It may be very hard to cut out going out to dinner once in a while, but what if there were other areas you could cut things out, and keep that dinner out? Its all for a worthy cause after all.
One way to check what you are doing with your money is to record things for a month, on paper or in a program on your computer. You may not realize what you spend in a certain category on things. Include everything from food, eating out, clothes, entertainment and anything else you can think of. Total it up, you may be surprised! Include ALL non essentials, to uncover where you can maybe save some of your money. You may be able to do this fairly painless depending on how your list turns out. This can turn out to save you a lot of money now, that you can put away for school or pay off debts you owe now that you are paying interest on.
For those in the family that might "balk" at cutting some things out, ask them what they suggest that could be good compromise perhaps that costs a lot less? Brainstorm together and even call a "family meeting" to discuss these things. They can actually be fun, and don't have to be a "nerdy" thing to do.