Keys to Saving for College
College can be a big investment, but that doesn’t mean it has to break your pockets. Here are some saving tips and/or ways to help reduce college expenses (for teens or younger adults).
- Apply for scholarships (it’s free money!): Expect college expenses to be high (tuition, books, room & board, other fees, etc.) and try to take advantage of any and all possible cost reducing options like scholarships and grants.
- Take Advanced Placement Courses: Taking AP courses in high school (if possible) can provide value on a couple different levels. Many colleges offer credits for some AP courses (which could save you money) and they will also help you prepare for college courses and may help fast track your college education.
- Attend a Community College: Depending on your educational path, consider attending a community college after high school to obtain introductory course credits that may be cheaper than credits at a public or private college. These credits are transferable to many other colleges if you plan to continue schooling past the community college.
- Open a savings account: If you don’t already have one, open a savings account and start saving now! It is best to begin saving as early as possible but remember, it’s never too late to start saving for college. You can also use financial tools to set savings goals for yourself and track progress.
- Get a Job: It is important to bring in as much income as possible to save for future school expenses. The income you can get from working can be very helpful down the road. Consider finding a part-time job during school and a full-time job in the summers to help pay for your education. Even small jobs for family or friends can help make saving easier!
- Monitor your spending: It is easy to spend money, but much more difficult to be responsible with it. Monitor and analyze your spending habits to eliminate any unnecessary expenses. Consider using budgeting tools to help you along your way.
- Alternative Savings Options: If your parents are helping pay for your education, ask them to look into some alternative savings options like prepaid tuition plans, Section 529 Education Savings Plans, or reward programs designed specifically to help a student save for college.