Disclosure: I’m working with Fidelity Investments and MEFA to spread the word on the U.Fund Dreams Tour. All opinions are my own.
Saving money for college when you have young kids can be challenging. After all, kids come with a variety of different expenses, from food and clothing to activities and daycare/school. I thought I was financially prepared to have kids, and I was still surprised at how much money kids cost. So, when you thinking about adding college savings on top of all of that, and it can definitely seem intimidating. But, there are definitely some options for finding money in your budget for college savings – here are some tips:
Finding Money in Your Budget for College Savings
Remember That You Can Start Small
The earlier you start saving, the better off you will be. You can start small – the key is to actually get started. Even if you have a small amount per month to save, it’s definitely better than nothing.
Tighten Up Utility Spending
Take a look at all of your utility bills to see if you can save money on a monthly basis. If your electric company offers a complimentary energy assessment, that can be a great way to lower your bill. Also see if you can decrease the amount that you spend on cable television and cell phone bills. A small amount of savings can add up on a monthly basis.
As a parent, you can definitely spend much of your budget on eating out. Because things can be so busy, especially when your kids are in afterschool activities, you may find yourself grabbing food out on a regular basis. Instead, do some meal planning so that you have meals scheduled in advance. Do your grocery shopping each week based on the list of food that you plan to cook. Limit eating out to special occasions and times when you can actually sit and enjoy the food.
Kids outgrow clothes quickly, and you can make some extra money by reselling items. Depending on how much time you have, you may just consider dropping off a bag of items periodically to a local resale shop. Consider the proceeds extra money, and depending them into your college savings account right away.
Save Every Extra Dollar
Did you get a raise? Payoff your car loan? Add that extra money to your regular savings plan, and watch your college savings grow.
Make It a Habit
Open a college savings account that allows for regular, monthly investments, and set things up to automatically transfer funds each month. That way, you don’t have to think about it, and the savings happen automatically.