When your children are small, it can feel like the need to start saving for their college education is -- to put it mildly -- a little bit premature. You’ve got years and years to worry about that, so you find yourself deferring the thought process and focusing on the challenges that await you in the here and now.
The reality is that it’s never too early to start putting aside money for your children’s education. The longer that you leave it, the bigger the problems you could suffer as a result. With every month that passes that it hasn’t been at the top of your agenda, you’re shortening the time you have available to bolster their college fund up to the level it needs to be.
Saving isn’t easy though, especially when it’s for something that seems so far in the future. So how do you manage it? And what do you need to save? Below, we’ll run through the most commonly asked questions about college fund saving, so you can get your finances -- and your children’s future -- on track.
QUESTION: How Much Do I Need To Save?
There is no right or wrong answer to this; effectively, save as much as you can without putting yourself under financial constraints in the present. The average cost of one year of college is around $30,000 according to collegedata.com, but you don’t have to get up to that figure to make a difference. Ultimately, the more you can shave off the amount your child needs to take in loans, the better. Just $100 set aside is still $100 less that they need to pay interest on in future, so every penny counts.
QUESTION: How Do I Afford To Save?
If your finances are generally squeezed, then the idea of having to find additional money to save is an additional financial burden. This is why so many parents end up deferring saving for a college education, or ultimately not saving anything at all -- their family budget just won’t stand up to it.
For the sake of the you in the now and your child in the future, run a look over your finances and see where things could improve. If you’re paying high interest rates because of poor credit, then creditrepair.co has some ideas on how you could fix your credit. If you haven’t switched electricity or insurance suppliers in the last year, then it’s likely you’re paying too much and need to hunt for a better deal. Keeping tabs on your finances so you can shuffle away a little per month is the best way to save. Remember, even $10 per month saving for 10 years is $1,200 - a significant dent in the amount your child would otherwise have to borrow.
QUESTION: What If My Child Decides Not To Go To College?
The biggest question of all, but the most easily answered -- it doesn’t matter. If your child decides to enter an apprenticeship scheme or just move right into work, they’re going to need money to get them started. A college fund doesn’t have to be specifically for college; you can use the money however it’s needed at the time.