One day you’re bringing your new little bundle of joy home from the hospital, and (what seems like) the next day they’re off to kindergarten. Imagine how quickly the day will come when they are ready for college? But will you be?
Ok, it’s not QUITE that fast but you get the idea – time flies when you’re having fun! Since it won’t be long until your baby is heading to college, it’s important that you start saving for that time now. In fact, if you haven’t started planning, preparing and saving by the time your child enters kindergarten, you might even have some catching up to do.
Family Fun on a Shoestring Budget
Even if you haven’t started until after your child is of school age, it’s never too late to start saving. However, be sure that you are being realistic in your planning. The average cost of annual tuition at a public university is almost $43,000 and a private school can cost almost $110,000! This is an increase of more than 40% over the past ten years and this will no doubt continue to rise. Some schools offer a prepaid tuition program that freezes the current rates to allow you to pay off the tuition as it currently stands.
There are also state-operated college savings plans called Section 529 plans. These allow not only parents but also grandparents, relatives and even friends to put money aside to help offset your child’s tuition expenses.
Another option you might have is to invest in an educational savings account. While these accounts are typically limited, (only $2000 per year in some cases), it’s still a help with books and supplies even if it doesn’t do much to offset the high cost of tuition.
Before you can truly prepare for your child’s education costs, you should first have your own solid, financial plan and make sure your goals are prioritized so you know the exact steps you’ll need to take to reach them.