Is it your goal for your child to go through college debt-free? Well, we won’t sit here and tell you this is an easy goal to achieve, but it is doable! College graduates have an estimated loan debt of $37,172. That makes the overall total $1.3 trillion. That means your child’s student loans will follow them for a long time after they’ve graduated.
When Should I Start Saving?
We encourage parents to start saving as soon as they can. We know this can’t always be the case, though. There are many other expenses such as mortgage/rent, medical bills, credit card bills, or maybe even your own student loan debt. Don’t put yourself in a hole trying to save for your kid’s college. Scholarships and grants are another way to pay for college. You need to make sure you’re taking care of your most important expenses first.
There are three things you want to do before you start saving for college:
- Pay off debt
- Set up an emergency fund that allows you to be prepared for unexpected circumstances.
- Take 15% of your income and put it into retirement savings through your employer-sponsored retirement plan.
If you haven’t taken care of these, it’s not the right time for you to start saving the college fund.
Get your Kid’s Involved
We know your children are in school, but they can help too! Not only will this help them save for their college, but also teach them good financial habits for the future. Some ways in which they can help would be:
Applying for Scholarships
If your child does well in sports, academics, or extracurricular activities, encourage them to apply for a scholarship! This is money they get that you never have to pay back.
Take AP Classes:
These are known as “Advanced Placement” classes. These allow your child to earn college credits while still in high school. This means any college credit they earn in high school you won’t have to pay for when they go to college!
Get a Job
During the school year, they won’t be able to work full-time. Have them babysit, dog walk, or even do a part-time job for after school. In the summertime have them take on a full-time job. This will also help them build up their resume!
Create a Savings Account
Any money they earn, they can put into this account! Encourage them to save the money they receive instead of spending it.
If you’re at a point where you can start saving for your child’s college, do it now! This will save them from loads of student loan debt when they graduate. We want to help our kids out as much as we can and we hope you are able to make post-college life a little easier for them. Don’t stress out if you feel like you’re behind, any amount saved can help them for their future. We encourage you to sit down with your kids and talk about a plan! They may not understand how important it is now, but down the road they will be so grateful. Start that college fund today!
Reminder: Eastex CU offers Scholarships for members. Click Here to learn more about eligibility requirements and application.