In the modern world, one of the biggest financial burdens for any family and individual is the education of their children. Everyone wishes to provide their kids with the best education they can, which can, unfortunately, turn out to be extremely expensive, especially when we are talking higher education, i.e. college. A mere look at the list of the most expensive colleges reveals what kind of a financial burden this can be on any family.
This is why, today, we will be looking at some of the ways in which you can make your kids’ education budget more efficient and easier to pad.
1. Start Early
Many families tend to procrastinate when it comes to starting and filling up their children’s college fund. It is one of those situations where everyone thinks there is time and they can start next year. Then, before you even notice it, your children are already in high school and there is not a single buck in their college fund.
As soon as your children are born, start setting the money aside or investing in one of the innumerable savings options that you have, depending on where you live. Do not wait until next year, do not count on your regular savings, do not think you will borrow later.
2. Research Saving Plans
Depending on where you live, you will have a number of different college saving plans aimed at helping families save and invest their college funds money in order for their savings not to be eaten up by the rising costs of education (and the costs are always rising, always).
In the United States, one of the most popular plans is the so-called 529 college plan, or Qualified Tuition Program. It is a limited plan, but it does allow for some serious savings. You should also look into prepaid college tuition plans that ensure you pay for your children’s college at today’s prices and not those ten years from now which will be higher (always higher, always).
3. It’s not just College
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the only education cost they will incur is college tuition. It is by far the largest expense that you will have to cover, that is for sure, but it is not the only one. From the day your child heads out to kindergarten, you will start feeling it on your wallet. There will be these expenses and those expenses and you won’t even notice them until you take stock of it all at the end of the year or whenever.
If your children turn out to be super smart and you start considering private high schools, keep in mind that the costs can get astronomical there too. This is especially true for boarding schools where the richest send their kids. You never know what kind of talent your child might possess, earning a partial scholarship for which you have to cover the rest.
4. Think Scholarships
We already mentioned these, but they really do deserve their own section – scholarships. Namely, you will discover that many colleges and renowned high schools offer scholarships to students who excel in certain subjects or even athletic abilities. For instance, a very large number of young college athletes in the United States come from some of the most disaffected areas and families with limited means.
If you notice that your child might have a special talent and that they enjoy honing it, make sure to be there to support them every step of the way. Go to classes with them, hire tutors or trainers, help them yourself. Find out if there are other ways to help them with university admissions in a way that will pay for at least part of it.
5. Help from Family and Friends
Your children will get so many stupid gifts over the years, for their birthdays, christenings, special days and whatnot. And while they might enjoy a toy for about three hours until they get bored with it, they might actually be better off with a nice little deposit to their college fund.
While some people may frown upon it, there is really no reason why you wouldn’t ask your family and friends to put a bit of money in your children’s education funds instead of buying them another sweater or a video game of some kind. It might even have an added bonus effect of not spoiling your children.