Get Smart: Saving for a College Education

To be or not to be that is the question.

Or really should I say to go or not to go? College that is. Most young adults venture off to college after high school. When I was in high school over 97% of my graduating class went to college. Why? Well, because as one of my guidance counselors put it, It’s what you do after high school! However, the cost of college is expensive these days. And remember, whether or not a student graduates, he or she is responsible for paying back their student loan and other debts they may rack up during college. These debts come in all different forms from tuition, cost of books, dorm room fees (if a student lives on campus), gasoline, car maintenance and insurance (if a student commutes), and food.

Though not easy, working while in college is a wise idea to help pay for expenses. This will help reduce another popular, but ubiquitous college trend: credit card debt. When deciding whether or not to go to college, consider all of the costs. If you decide to take time off before going to school, you can use the time wisely to work and save some funds that you can then apply towards the cost of college. One plan could be to begin saving $50 a week. This doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of a year that can add up to $2,600. It might be difficult to put the money aside at first, but using direct deposit and putting the funds into a separate bank account can help. It’s like they say Out of sight, out of mind. The next step would be to increase this amount the next year by say, $25. So in your second year of saving you would be saving $75 a week. This will add up to $3,900 for the second year alone, bringing your grand total of savings in two years to $6,500! Keeping with the same model, an increase in year three to $100 a week will total $5,200 for the year and bring the grand total to $11,700 in just three years! As you can see it adds up quick. If you have decided that you are not going to college for a few years, consider talking to a banker about options to invest your money wisely. High interest rate savings accounts such as money market accounts or other savings options can help build a base while you wait to start classes. These options are designed give you a better return on your money.

Remember, going to college is a big step, but if you plan ahead, it reduces part of the stress.

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