Dorm Dayze: Saving for college starts with simply being smart

Posted By: Matt in Saving on 02/13/2014 at 12:05:23

College tuition has taken a turn for the worse as most families fret over having enough cash or savings on hand to pay for everything from tuition to housing and all in between.

While kids are cracking the books, parents have to get cracking and start putting aside more than just a few dollars these days. The average four year tuition tips the scale between $22,000 and $50,000 per year, with the latter figure focusing on private institutions and the former a more modest, moderate budgeted school.

A quick calculation confirms that mom and dad had better have around $80,000 to $200,000 lying around the house if they'd like junior to jettison to college for four years. And that figure only is for one child.

Of course, you always have the option to pursue financial aid, grants and loans to help offset what you'll be paying over that time period. There's no guarantee, however, that any of those will pan out to perfection, thus having a little set aside is paramount.

It's easy to simply tell yourself that saving money is of the utmost importance. That sentiment doesn't always translate, and instead moms and dads might want to not only cut back on a few expenses but also engage their kids in the process, too.

Teenage children content on going to college could use a little practice in putting money in a savings account specifically for college funds. That's not to suggest that an after school job should be solely dedicated to college, but teaching kids to take a percentage of their paycheck and allot it to their post high school education not only empowers them with financial wisdom but also a sense of responsibility.

Parents also must carry a fare share of the burden, and maybe skipping a few expenses dinners or ditching the high end cell phone packages or cable television extras might mean a few thousand dollars extra per year.

That dollar figure could constitute a few years worth of books or a nearly a semester worth of tuition. More often than not, parents and would be college students alike look at college as a huge obstacle and large scale financial burden, rather than picking apart the nuts and bolts of the endeavor.

Hiring an accountant or someone that is familiar with budgeting would bode well for those who aren't adept at adding and subtracting totals or have the financial prowess that an expert would.

The value of a college education often cannot be measured by dollar and cents. But what makes perfect sense is carefully examining exactly what you need from a financial standpoint and making necessarily adjustments to your budget.

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