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Kids Going to College? Ease the Financial Burden

College Finances

Blogs and bookshops alike are often inundated with financial guides to help students get ready for the monetary challenges that the college years may bring. However for parents, knowing the necessary financial provisions can be more difficult especially for those who have not had the college experience themselves.

Of course your teenager is going to tell you it’s essential that they have the latest Macbook and that they need the iPhone and iPad to accompany it so that they can do their college reading on the go. But money doesn’t grow on trees. Here are a few tips to help ease the financial burden of supporting your teen through college.

1) College Finances- Saving ahead:

College financesIf you are planning on your Children attending college the sooner you start saving the better! You should start putting money away early, or encourage your child to do so, in order to build up a fund for the college experience.  Many parents find it useful to start Banking their child’s college savings in a high interest savings account which allows them to grow the fund at a greater speed through interest payments. This could provide your child with the perfect opportunity to learn the importance of saving and help prepare them for new financial responsibility they will face when they leave home for the first time.

2) College Financial Aid

Next, you may want to consider what kind of financial help, if any, can your teen expect at college? Many students are eligible for loans or grants to help fund their Education. It’s important to consider that applications will need to be completed on time as missed deadlines can mean late payments.

This information can then be used to work out a weekly or monthly budget. This can also help you assess the contributions you will need to make, if any.

2) Structure in Personal Finances During College

Try to avoid sporadic cash handouts, if you find yourself offering cash too readily then before you know it ‘bailouts’ could become ‘handouts’ and you risk the prospect of your teen becoming too reliant on these and they don’t learn to properly manage their own finances while in college. When handing out offerings on an ‘as and when’ or ‘here and there’ basis, many parents find that it all adds up rather quickly and can make a significant dent your own finances.

The key to solving this problem is structure. By giving set amounts of cash on a scheduled basis eg. the first of every month, you are also helping to teach your student to budget effectively and manage their money – a vital life lesson.

3) Hard Work Pays Off in College Finances

Undoubtedly you want your teen to learn the value of money and appreciate the hard work that goes into earning it. This is less likely to happen if they are solely reliant on your contributions and financial aid, so it’s beneficial to encourage your teenager to get a job. This could be part-time employment whilst at college or a summer job to earn a bit of extra cash.

Many teenagers have big ideas of how they want all the latest modern conveniences to accompany them on their college journey but these things do not come cheaply and are not the point of getting an Education. A summer job might not seem like fun while friends are lazing on the beach but in the end they’ll have the iPad they’ve been hoping for, and they’ll have earned it.

Your child going off to college can be a very emotional time, easing the financial burden can help lighten the load and smooth the path to a successful future. Good luck!

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