The best ways to save for college. Today, in the mail, I received the quarterly letters for both the 529 college savings plan and the prepaid college yearly statements. My daughter is paid in full because my financial situation is brighter than it was in years past. My son is on the 18 year plan with 8 years left. When I selected a payment plan of either 5 year or 18 year, it was set in stone without any option of changing it. Even though I am capable of paying it I am not allowed to change the agreement.
College Savings Plans are the way to go. They can be set up by age getting less aggressive as the child gets closer to graduation from high school. The newsletter enclosed with the 529 college savings plan statement asked if I was prepared for college. It also explained that as of today the average for two years tuition, room and board, and miscellaneous fees comes out to just under $39,000 at a public college. Can you imagine $39,000 for just half bachelor’s degree? Where does this money come from? Many parents I have spoken with about college either think it is light years away or just hope their child will receive a scholarship.
I find myself wondering if these parents realize what the economy looks like. Honestly, there are limited jobs and you want your child to receive a scholarship. The chances of this happening are slim to none. There isn’t much of a workforce out there for a company to offer free college. You need a college fund.
OK, so if you child has to foot the bill for college how are they going to pay for it? Student loans they will never pay off? Take out a 2nd mortgage on the family home to pay for it? Have you even thought about this? Well you should. One minute you are carrying them home from the hospital, then they are in elementary school, middle school, high school, and now what? It breezes by. Being a new parent you think they will never grow up. That is because you are sleep deprived and can’t see that they are changing right before your eyes. The minute they hit kindergarten you realize how far they have come.
My children are 10 and 6. I was thinking about the best ways to save for college and their future before they were born. I really didn’t have any definite plans but I knew I wanted to be there to help them. I didn’t want to be that parent who says I can’t afford to help you. I believe family helps family. How was I going to do this? You see that $39,000 is for current college tuition; I still have 8 years until my first child would be eligible to attend. What will the price be then? There are a bunch of college cost calculators available to help you determine this.
I needed something better than an average job to help them out. This is where my super saver abilities come in handy and my drive for a better life. I am probably one of the thriftiest women on planet Earth. I said thrifty, not cheap. I bargain shop, but the items I search for have to be exact matches to what I want, I don’t settle. That is where my drive comes in. I find something I want, set a price in my head what it should be, then find it for the price or less. Now this is where my quest to help my children came in.
Searching for a college fund led me to prepaid college.
This allowed me to pay for college at today’s prices (actually the price it was when they were born 2004 and 2008 prices) and lock in a 4-year degree with classroom fees. A lot of people I mentioned this program to complained about spending the $65.00 I spend each month for a college degree. Really, what is $65….a pair of shoes, a new dress, a dinner for five….we are talking training versus material things. I did this for both my children. My first is on the 18 year plan however; my daughters plan is now paid off. Thanks to this opportunity I came across.
Second, I invested any birthday, Christmas, etc money they received into savings bonds. Not just any savings bonds, but I-bonds. You see, I-bonds are based on a fixed rate of return and the market. When real estate was tanking the bonds were going up. s IRA accounts and such were in the minus. I knew this was going to be long term and I was looking for something that make decent money for the long haul. Currently the highest rate of return on the bonds is just under 4%.
I also set up a kids account at the local credit union that allows them to deposit any amount of money in return for star stamps. Once they reach 5 star stamps in their deposit book they receive a prize from the treasure box. There is no minimum for the children’s accounts making it a fun way to encourage them to save.
Third, I add money to a 529 college savings plan I set up last year. This program allows them to use the money for books and other necessary items needed for higher education, not necessarily college. If they don’t use all the money the beneficiary can be changed and another family member can use the money.
One of the best ways I help my kids is by teaching them to follow their dreams. Dreams become reality. Hard work and dedication allows us to thrive in an economy that is moving backwards.
Everything I am doing is possible because of this. We went from having to clip coupons, having to eat groceries from the buy-one get- one specials, living off peanut butter and canned tuna at times to now making enough money that we no longer get a tax refund. We actually pay taxes quarterly and still owe at the end of the year. A good friend told me years ago this is a sign you are wealthy. I guess that means I am heading in the right direction.
We followed our dreams and made them realities. We now take vacation we only dreamed about and watched on T.V. College isn’t even necessary for what we do. What college offers is a paper stating you took the time to dedicate it to higher learning. It will never hurt you however; it may not help you. What is necessary is a desire for something better and a passion to follow your dreams. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. I can actually stop shopping sale racks and stop looking for the best deal on items I want. I continue to do it now because it is something I enjoy, a challenge more or less.
All it took for me to make a change was $25. I could list a bunch of stuff I would have blown $25 on, but I decided to spend it on myself and it paid off big time. I only have one regret, and it really isn’t a regret, but rather “if I only knew then what I know now mindset”. I should have researched what 100% compensation plans were. I didn’t understand or I would jumped into what is called the inner circle, and started at full throttle mode.
Now that I am on the right track I want to help other people get on the right track. I want you to succeed and follow your dreams. I want your future to be bright and sunny. What do you want?
Take a minute to find out…I believe it will be a perfect match. It is better to make the change yourself, at your pace, than to have it forced upon you as I have seen.
I saw the writing on the wall when the job I was at for years changed their retirement policy. They didn’t just change it for the new hires but actually changed it for everyone. The perks of working here were no longer promised to me or anyone else. I would never have believed this could happen ~ but it did. This caused me to re-evaluate everything. If this could change, what else could? This was the first sign that anything is possible, and I had better be prepared for other changes. Jobs are not forever and that loyalty is not rewarded.
I believe that only you have the power to change your future and only you can decide what the best option for you is. This is the time to make the change and control your future. If you don’t take the reins ~ someone else will take them for you.
When a county filed bankruptcy and all the teachers were unemployed, I thought hard about this. The children had no school to attend because there was no money for the teachers to be paid. Anything is possible. Are you ready to see what $25 can do for you?