FIVE EASY WAYS TO START SAVING FOR COLLEGE (EVEN IF IT FEELS IMPOSSIBLE)
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
I’m super excited to announce that my husband and I are teaming up with Ohio’s 529 for the next year to talk about all of the ways that you can help save for college.
Even when everything feels super hard and scary and a little bit like we want to hoard all of our money and toilet paper and meat.
Even with everything feeling hard right now, you can still start saving a little bit each month for your kids’ college accounts. I’m going to show you how easy it could be (and why you don’t want to wait).
But first, let me say this…
I really hate it when people (and writers) make statements about how easy saving money is. Or when someone casually makes reference to their financial planner or says something like, “We always make double car payments.”
I’m over here trying to figure out how to schlep together enough money to get an inflatable hot tub in my backyard without my husband noticing, so don’t even talk to me about your financial planner.
I used to feel that way about college savings too. I would look around at our three little kids when money felt nonexistent and wonder why we would even attempt to make college savings a priority. Or even put it on the list of someday priorities.
But thanks to my super smart husband, we opened Ohio 529 savings plans, and I’m glad we didn’t wait.
THE COST OF WAITING CALCULATOR
One of the tools that’s pretty cool to use (yes, I just called a financial tool cool) is Ohio 529’s. You can key in the age of your child, how much you want to start contributing each month, and it will show you how much you’ll need to save each month to meet your college fund goals. By adjusting the age of your child, you can see how much more you’ll need to set aside each month by waiting even one year.
Using my 13-year-old as an example, if I wait one extra year and don’t start an Ohio 529 plan for him until he’s 14, I will have to contribute an extra $500+ per MONTH than if I started today.
So I’m here to encourage you to start now.
Even if it feels hard.
Even if it feels pointless.
Just a few dollars a month NOW will help you in the long run.
And don’t worry – the Ohio 529 college savings plan is crazy flexible. I covered a lot of that in my last post about saving for college here.
Basically, the Ohio 529 Plan can be used at schools throughout the US (not just in Ohio), it can be used at 2-year and 4-year programs, and it can even be used for things like room and board, books and even internet. And – it can absolutely be transferred between kids (you know – just in case one of your kids decides not to go to college or gets a full ride or something.)
Five Ways to Save Thousands of Dollars For Your Kids’ College NOW
My husband and I both created a list of easy ways to save money for your kids’ college. His suggests cutting a streaming service which is SO not an option for me.
But here are my ideas:
(NOTE: all estimates above a 6% annual return over a 17 year period.)
- Do your own nails. $50/month grows to $17,000 for college.
- Do you really go to the gym? See if your gym offers a discounted rate for an online membership, or explore at-home workout apps. $25/month grows to $8,000 for college.
- Cook at home one more time per month. We can all do that, right? $50/month grows to $17,000 for college.
- Ditch cable. While I can’t condone cutting a streaming service, I can say that I never watch cable TV. We recently cancelled our cable service and saved $75/month, which grows to $25,000 for college.
- Pay with cash only at Target. This one might hurt a little, but I personally would probably save $50 – $100 per month by doing this. (Darn those “dollar bins”.) We’ll call this a $50 savings, but it could be more… $50/month grows to $17,000 for college.
LOOKING FOR MORE IDEAS AND WAYS TO SAVE FOR COLLEGE?
My husband is sharing his top five ways for saving money for college. Click here to see them all.