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Cut your Child’s College Bill in Half-with Long Term Planning

It comes as no surprise that your child’s college tuition bill could easily quadruple the amount that you paid (or your parents paid) when you were fresh out of high school. Whether we, the parents, plan on carrying this financial burden for our kids, or have decided to let them pay for it on their own, there is one common ground- paying more than necessary is not something we want.

First things first, and that’s the fact that every dime and nickel adds up to a dollar- so there’s no harm in starting small and adding more later (if you can).   

Take into consideration all of the rebates available through sources like Upromise and Little Grads- organizations which act as the “middle man” between you and the major corporations and the brands they sell.  Every time you purchase a specific everyday type of item from one of these companies, they put a certain percentage into an account for your child’s college education.  Not bad, as long as you aren’t buying products that you don’t normally use. Upromise will actually transfer all funds to a state 529 fund automatically for you, if you choose.

529 funds are tax-deferred options for parents to stash some money away for their children’s educational future.  Although these types of accounts differ by state, they aren’t actually regulated by the state, so you’ll need to do your homework on the different ones available in your area. Don’t give anyone a dime until you’ve read all of the fine print.

Of course, things happen throughout life that makes it, well, life. Even the best of intentions with the finest possible planning can evaporate before your very eyes. The college dreams of your child can be flushed away without a moments notice.

These dreams are not really gone; they’ve just been changed a bit.

Community colleges are not only for those without a lot of cash, they’re for people with a lot of smarts.  For a fraction of the cost of a private college or university, you can attend classes at a local community college, live at happily (and close to free) at home, as well as earn an associates degree.  If you want to continue on to get your bachelor’s, great! Save the cash for the second two years of your college education. You’ll march down the aisle at your graduation just like everyone else and get the same, fancy diploma with less than half of the college bills as your peers.

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