How many of you could have benefited from more college savings than you had?
I know I wouldn’t have turned down extra money for college! Maybe I wouldn’t have had to scrub toilets at 4 am on campus if I had started saving earlier.
Between working full-time during the summer, part-time during the school year (yes, I worked early morning custodial for several semesters), choosing a very affordable university, living super frugally, and getting scholarships, I was able to squeak by without any debt.
I will admit that it took us a while to decide to start saving for college for our kids. Even now, we aren’t contributing very aggressively, but I am happy that we have at least started. It’s kind of ironic that what is holding us back from contributing more to our kids college savings is that we’re paying for our own college debt! Let this be a lesson to all of us.
September is National College Savings Month
September is generally thought of as back-to-school month (though it seems like most kids start in August nowadays). While parents have education on the brain, let’s talk about college too. If your kids are young like mine, college is still close to a decade away. It’s easy to get caught up in spelling lists and times tables and forget about how to keep our children’s financial and academic futures bright. If your finances can handle putting a little aside regularly now, it can make a big difference later.
Take the College Savings Pledge
To spread the word about the importance of saving for college and to celebrate September as College Savings Month, ScholarShare, California’s 529 plan, is inviting parents and guardians to take the College Savings Pledge. You will pledge to:
- Encourage a child in your life to dream big and go to college
- Do your share to help save for college
- Learn about resources like state 529 plans to help pay for college
By taking the pledge, California residents will have the chance to win a $500 ScholarShare 529 account for a child (ages 3-14) along with a $500 Visa gift card for the child’s teacher. Five winners will be chosen every Friday in September. You can find the rules and details at CollegeSavingsPledge.com.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
You shouldn’t expect to pay for all of your kids’ education. With the hike in college tuition, kids will need a combination of savings, scholarships, work, frugality, and possibly even loans. Every bit counts though, especially when you start early. Plus, “putting your money where your mouth is” will show your kids how you feel about their education.
Saving for college won’t guarantee that your kids won’t have to scrub toilets in the wee hours to help fund their education, but every bit helps. Besides it builds character, right?
How about you?
- How did you pay for college?
- What would you have done differently?
I have teamed up with ScholarShare to spread the word about the 529 college savings plan. I will be compensated for my efforts. As usual, the words and opinions here are all my own.