Written by Charlotte Wood (last updated February 21, 2009)
In the twenty-first century, higher education is no longer not an option for many; it's necessary in almost all disciplines and fields of work. However, with this increased social need for education, the costs of education are skyrocketing and finding financing for college is increasingly stressful and difficult. If you can find good and effective ways of saving however, you can greatly reduce the cost of college for you and your children.
The key is to start saving early. When your children are young, set up a liquid certificate of deposit (CD) or a higher interest savings account, in which for a few years you contribute money and once your children start to better understand the concept of saving money they can contribute their own. Find accounts that are interest bearing, because especially if these accounts keep accruing principal over a significant amount of time, the interest will end up being substantial. Teaching your children how to save is integral in saving for their education.
I didn't have a college fund in my childhood and so I work full time during the summers to earn money for the upcoming school year. When you're earning more substantial amounts of money, like with a summer job, you need to budget your income and decide how much of each paycheck should go where; that way it will be easier mentally to put aside that money if you've already decided what needs to be saved.
When saving for college, a major part of the saving process is the motivation to do so. If you don't have motivation then there's no way you'll be too successful. When I'm not motivated to save I end up skimming funds off the top of my savings balance and using those savings for things and expenses I don't need. If you really want your education and it's genuinely important to you, then saving for college won't be nearly as hard.
While coming up with money for college is a daunting task and one that can span several years, it is a goal that reaps lifelong rewards. Saving for college ultimately requires discipline and if you can use your discipline to put aside that money solely for a college education, then saving that money won't be too hard for you.
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