5 Ways Students Can Save Money to Pay for College
Hello and welcome back to the Send Your Kids to College Blog! We are here again, to aim to help WNY families better understand how to navigate the college planning process. It’s FAFSA season, so if you haven’t begun that process yet, it’s time to get crackin’ on FAFSA! We can help if you need help, just drop a line on our contact form or FAFSA page! Today we figured we would take some time to speak directly to students. If a kid is in 6th grade, some of these may not apply, but some certainly will! It’s never too early to begin the “College Money Talk!”
Regardless of if you plan to attend a public or private college, it’s fair to say you probably don’t have an extra $10k laying around. If you do, then you’re probably not reading this article. College is expensive! Whether you’re starting a 6th grader on a new budget or starting from scratch, Here are 5 Simple ways that students can (help) pay for college!
College Savings Account
Some kids walk into teen life with a college savings account, some don’t. If your parents or grandparents haven’t opened up a college savings account for you, this doesn’t mean you can’t start one yourself! Putting money into a college savings account from things like graduations, birthdays and holidays can really pay you back more than that new bike or video game.
529 Plans are a great way to save money and not have to pay tax on it, so long as you use the money for educational expenses. If you plan on using savings, you may want to explore a 529 college savings account, to get more out of your money without being taxed.
Anyone who has any income, from family, or a part-time or full-time job, should consider looking at automatic transfers to help save money. If you have an automatic transfer taking a percentage of your income driving directly into a college savings account, you won’t need to worry about manually putting the money in there yourself. IF you can afford to put even $5 per check into a savings account, you’re starting to save! And that’s half the battle!
Invest with New Tools
We aren’t advocating taking all your savings and letting it ride on DOGECOIN or anything like that, but considering an investment is a great option. Tools like Robinhood allow novices to trade on the stock market just like a Wall St bettor, but that doesn’t mean it's a good option for everyone. You need to be 18 to invest, but you don’t need to be 18 to LEARN about INVESTING. You can do research and follow the market to learn how it works so that when it’s time to play, you know the rules. It’s a risk, however, as the market fluctuates, and not everyone wins. Talk to your parents or an expert before you make any decisions.
When you are using a 529 plan, most providers have a set of professionally managed portfolios that are optimized based on when you’re attending college. This is a good idea for newbies to stocks.
Get Used to Budgeting NOW
No matter where you’re from, get used to budgeting. Some kids are more used to living a frugal lifestyle, whereas some kids are used to being baby-birded in everything in life. Regardless of who you are or where you are from, budget and budgeting should be your new favorite hobby. There are plenty of apps and online tools to help manage to budget today. Don’t blow your student loan refunds on Spring Break, put them right back in your bill to save money at the end of your college experience.
A good Old fashioned budget rule of thumb regardless of how much you make is the 50-20-30 Rule
50% Needs & Obligations (Bills, rent, etc)
20% Savings and/or Debt Repayment
30% on Anything fun/anything else
Work Your Tail Off.
Going to college is a full-time job, and if you plan to play a sport you may not be able to get away with a job during the season, but working part-time, full-time, or whatever time you can to add money into your piggy bank is going to help. Some kids have parents who will help them pay, but not everyone. Serving, bouncing, retail, lifeguarding, landscaping, summer jobs, just about anything will help. Working your tail off in the classroom is just as important because the harder you work in school, the more likely you are to find a career you love, and a career that pays the bills!
These are just a few high-level examples of how a young man or young woman could help pay for college. The bottom line is it takes a village to pay for college, and some people enter adulthood as a village of one. If you ever have any questions about tips on how to pay for college, FAFSA, Scholarships, tutoring, or anything regarding college planning, please don’t hesitate to reach out via our contact form or by phone! We are more than willing to help students and families of Western New York! Remember to follow us on Facebook and Linkedin!