Even though the school year has started, it's never too early to start saving for college! With how strange this year has been, give yourself and your fiances something to look forward to!
Hello, Goose Creek! We hope you're doing well. From our family to yours, we continue to be so thankful for your love and support during this crazy year, after tax time, and while the world is still a little strange. We are always here to help you and your family prepare financially for whatever goals or challenges you might be wanting to reach or overcome. 2020 has taught us to prepare for the unexpected, and we are here to continue facing this year head-on with you. It's not over yet, so who knows what it could bring!
In our last two blogs, we talked about saving money when it comes to buying school supplies and other necessary things for the school year. Saving as much as you can right now, we understand, is very important to all of our Goose Creek friends and families. While finances might be a little more secure than they were six or seven months ago, we are all aware that this could change in an instant. We hope our last two blogs helped calm you a little and prepare you for this current school year, or even the next. In this two-part blog, we are going to go a step beyond. For many parents and students, our last blog might have been outdated because many of them are planning on heading to college next year. Some of our adult readers might be thinking about going back to college or have the time time to finally go to college, too. While everything is so unknown, education is still an important expense and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. So, we wanted to dedicate this blog to all of our readers and their family members who are thinking about college or are finally taking the steps to go back to college! These are some of the top tips and suggestions on how to save money to pay for your college tuition.
There is so much that goes into applying and getting into college that can make the process very overwhelming and daunting. We don't want money to be one of them. We at least want to take that heavy burden off of you as best we can. You or your children have worked hard to get to the day where you submit your applications, and you deserve the best ways to make your dreams possible, not be prevented due to financial burden. Think about it, according to Forbes, the average cost per year for tuition ranges between $10,000 to $22,000 for public state schools, while private universities can range between $36,000 to $55,000 and more every year. Add on all of your textbooks, living expenses, and possible travel expenses, and this can become quite a hefty bill. For our parents, you need to make sure that your financial standings and responsibilities are in place before turning your attention to a college savings fund. This can help you get the loans you need and be financially prepared while still being able to care for and provide for your family. If you are paying for school on your own, this all still rings true.
TIP ONE: Start Saving!
You can begin saving for your child's higher education from the moment they're born or from the moment you decide it's time to go back to college. According to the New York Times, one of the best savings accounts to use is a 529. It's a simple plan to use and to understand. You take the simple steps of opening one up and then you decide how your money is going to be invested. You can contribute as much taxed income as you'd like to this account over as many years as you'd like. What is really appealing is that your investment will grow tax-free and can be withdrawn without capital gain, as long as the money is used to pay for higher education. Also, a 529 can give you a state tax benefit on all the contributions you make to the plan in 34 states, according to the New York Times. You can begin automated payments to the account once it's open, you can ask friends and family members to contribute, you can ask your employers to match your contributions as part of your contract, and you can even earn cash for your plan by spending money. Certain credit card companies will pay into your 529 when you spend certain amounts on their card or reward you with cashback options into your 529! Starting to save is always a great starting place, and there are many ways to do so. You just have to find the plan that works best for you.
TIP TWO: Scholarships & Grants
The burden of saving for college doesn't have to be on your shoulders alone as a part or as an individual. You support and push your child to succeed in school, have them participate in after school activities, and have them give back to the community. All of these attributes can pay them back in the form of scholarships and grants. Also, have them take AP or International Baccalaureate classes to help them get larger scholarships and grants based on their GPAs, college credits so you have less time at school to pay for, and the opportunity to go to a better school more affordably. You can also do the research together and see what scholarships and grants are available to your child. There might be more out there than you think. You can even go outside the box of the internet and talk to your child's guidance counselor. They are more than happy to add their help to the mix. If you're an adult heading back to school or going to college for the first time, don't think you are excluded from these options. Do your research, you will be surprised at the number of potential scholarships and grants that are just out there waiting to give you money. You just have to put the effort into looking for them.
According to Capital One Bank, more than 80% of students who go to college receive some kind of grant, aid, or scholarship. This can help the money you've saved stretch even further. Plus, leaving your child with as little debt or loans to pay back after they graduate allows them to have a healthy and successful opportunity to grow and build their finances as an adult.
TIP THREE: Reasonable Challenge
No matter when you start saving for college, you honestly don't know how much you'll end up owing until you have to sign on the dotted line. When sitting down with your budget and savings plan, make an honest and reasonable goal for how much you and your family can save and how much you want to save by the time you or your child is ready to go to school. You will still need to pay for everything in between now and then, and it's important to make the most of your life before, during, and after you or your child goes to college. Don't beat yourself up if you need to slow down your contributions for an emergency or two. You can pick up from where you left off. Just don't give up on saving once you've hit a bump or challenge.
How is your saving process going so far? Have you started to consider saving or having you already been saving? Are these new ideas to you or are they going to help the road you're already on? We'd love to hear from you about that in the comments below. If you have any questions or comments about saving for college between now and the second part of this blog, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you and your family be as financially prepared as possible. Remember, if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
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