How to Make Room in Your Budget to Save for College

Most parents want to help their children start out on the right path for their future. For many, that means a college education. Of course, there are costs associated with achieving that college education. Because those costs are constantly rising, it can be difficult for parents to secure the necessary money to pay for it. But there are ways to make room in your budget to save for college for your children.

Start Right Away

One thing that can help you save money for your child’s education is to start saving as soon as you can. Right after your child is born is a great time to start because the sooner you start, the more you can save. Set savings goals and make it a priority to save money each month.

Estimate Expenses

Of course, when your child is very young or even an infant you may not have a clue which college they will actually end up attending. But you can estimate expenses on the high side. Even if you know you won’t be able to cover all of their educational costs, even covering a third or half can help them toward a better future.

Examine Your Budget

Look over your budget to find ways you can cut back. Could you eat out less? According to a study by Coupon Dash, this is one of the most common ways to find money to cover college costs. Cook more at home and use coupons from one of the many online coupon sites, such as Coupon Dash. Or maybe you would rather give up some of the vacations your family takes. Examine the ways you currently spend to see what areas you could make cuts.

Auto Deposit

You may be able to direct a portion of each paycheck into a college savings account. This is a great way to save for college costs for your child without noticing it as much. It may not feel like it’s even a line item in your budget when the money comes out of your paycheck up front. One reason for this is because you don’t have to remember to make a separate transaction yourself each month. It also eliminates the possibility of forgetting or putting it off if some months your budget is extra tight.

Start a 529 Plan

Check into setting up a 529 college savings plan. You can withdraw funds tax free if used for your child’s college education. Different states have different options and there are certain rules you must follow.  In addition, withdrawing money for other purposes may cause penalties to apply. If your child ends up not going to college, you may be able to use it for a different family member.

Other Options

Of course, there are other ways to make room in your budget to save for college costs. You could get a second job in order to save extra money. Maybe setting up a Roth IRA would be an option that can help. Some states offer prepaid college tuition plans that allow you to lock in current prices even if college is years down the road. Impress upon your child the need for them to pay part of the costs by getting summer jobs when they are old enough. Apply for college scholarships or tuition grants.

A college education is important to help ensure your child has a bright future ahead of them. As you can see, it is possible to make room in your budget to save for college for your child’s future.

How else might you make room in your budget to save for college?