529 College Savings Plan By State

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529 plan by state

How to Save Money For College The Smart Way

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Whether you’re a parent saving for your child’s education or a student about to start college for the first time, you’re probably trying to figure out how you can save the most money in the shortest amount of time.  The good news is that money saving strategies are simple when you understand how to organize and automate your finances.

Too many people turn to loans for their college tuition, and with interest rates for private student loans in the double digits, you end up paying a lot of interest in the end.  Parents are starting to utilize a custodial account for the benefit of their kids.

These money management ideas and financial organizational tips will help you to stay on track with your savings and will give you the financial skills you need to save for college the smart way.

20 Ways to Save Money For (and IN) College save money for college

  1. Open a 529 College Savings Account. Think of it as a 401(k) for college.  You’re able to contribute money into an account that is invested for future educational expenses.  When withdrawn for qualified expenses, the interest earned is distributed tax free, saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
  2. Take AP Courses in High School.  Not only will these advanced courses help to raise your GPA, you’ll also have the chance to test out of entry level college courses like English and biology.
  3. Take College Courses in High School.  Some high schools will allow you to graduate a semester early or go a half-day in order to take a class at a local university or community college.  Take advantage of that opportunity.
  4. CLEP College Courses.  Once you get into college, sign up for as many CLEP courses as you can.  You can complete full semesters of college by taking CLEP courses.
  5. Apply for Small Scholarships.  The big scholarships get all the attention, but the $250 and $500 scholarships certainly add up.  Plus, they often get overlooked!
  6. Use Your Meal Plan.  If you’re paying for 18 meals a week, make sure to use all that you’re paying for – otherwise you’re throwing your money in the garbage.
  7. Buy in Bulk.  Toiletries and other personal items can be bought much cheaper when you buy in bulk.  Go to SAM’s with a group of friends and split the bill.
  8. Ask for Student Discounts.  Restaurants, oil change businesses, movie theaters, and clothing stores like Forever 21 will offer students discounts if you just ask.
  9. Get a Roommate.  Your college may offer a single room, but you may end up paying an extra $500-$1,500 a year.
  10. Ignore the Credit Card Offers.  There’s no doubt that you’ll be offered a student credit card in college.  Ignore the offers and stick with cash.
  11. Exercise Regularly.  Your health is important and you’ll be saving money down the road by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  12. Eat Before Going Out With Friends.  If you’re really frugal, eat before you and your friends go out.  You can get a drink or dessert and save a lot of money on your bill.
  13. Track Your Spending.  If you don’t watch where your money is going, it’ll slip through your fingers.  Use tools like Mint.com and YNAB.com to keep track of your money.
  14. Stick To a Budget.  It’s not enough just to have a budget.  You need to stick with it or else it’s worthless.  Whether you’re using a paper budget, a spreadsheet, or mint.com, make sure you’re consistent.
  15. Use Public Transit.  You might get a student discount for using public transit so save hundreds in gas and insurance by ditching your car for the city bus.
  16. Start Your Own Business.  Who says you need to be broke in college?  Start small, keep overhead low, and start making money with your idea.
  17. Open a Roth IRA.  As you make money from small jobs in college, get in the habit of saving through a Roth IRA. Make sure you know the Roth IRA contribution limits though!  You’ll be forming a habit of saving when it’s the most important time to start!
  18. Join a Credit Union.  Credit unions have great rates as well as premiums on savings accounts.  Plus, with a credit union, you’ll have access to a network of ATMs around the country.
  19. Find Cheap Dates.  You still need to have fun in college, but you don’t need to go broke by going on expensive dates.  Find cheap entertainment in your town and make your own fun.
  20. Don’t Hang Out With Big Spenders.  If you hang out with people who overspend and are careless with money, you’ll start to reflect that as well.

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