How to Get Started Saving for College

With the cost of college climbing year after year, the concept of saving early is key to helping pave a way to securing a higher education without taking on big debt. So, how to do you get started? Here’s how. 

Create a Plan

A contractor would agree that you’ll need a blueprint before you start building. The same goes for building a savings fund. Calculate your expenses: cost of living, tuition, and books then determine how much you can afford to put away. Will you be living at home? What does transportation look like? Analyze your current spending budget and look for places to cut costs and allocate what you can to your savings account.

Open a Savings Account or Invest in Certificate Accounts

Dedicating an account solely to saving for college not only keeps you motivated to save but it also helps grow your funds. Determine which works best for your needs. A savings account will provide dividends and allows for ongoing contributions. A certificate account will provide more of a return, but your funds will be locked in for a set term, with withdrawal penalties in place.  

Don’t Neglect the First Steps of Saving

If you’re a parent ready to start saving for the little ones in your life, it’s important to build funds that will help you reach the other important goals in life: emergency funds, retirement and perhaps paying off debt. Overlooking these crucial funds can lead to bigger problems down the road. An unplanned expense and growing debt can interfere with your plan and the realization that your retirement fund may not cover your expenses isn’t something you want to experience.

While not ideal, you can always borrow for your child’s education, but you won’t be able to borrow for your retirement. Focus on building those funds first or find a good balance of contributions.

Consider a part-time job

Yes, the extra funds can be put towards your college savings but taking on a part-time job also gives you work experience, helping you to build up your resume. Whether you make time on the weekends or during the week, a part-time job can really help give your savings a boost and help you develop a healthy work ethic and saving habits.

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