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10 Best Ways to Save for College

With college costs on the rise and stress about student debt becoming a concern for many people, it’s always best to find ways to save money for college in advance. Don’t worry about not having a nest egg tucked away. You can quickly start pocketing away money to pay for continued education classes and other college costs, beginning with these ten crucial tips:

Continued education students

  1. Set up a 529 college savings plan. Each U.S. state offers a college savings plan referred to as 529 plans. These avoid certain taxes and help you set aside specific funds for college. If you don’t use it for your own continued education, you can use the money for a future child’s education or another loved one.

  2. Put money in another interest-earning savings account. Even if you don’t set up a 529 plan, you should look into a savings account that will earn interest. Some banks offer programs that automatically transfer small amounts from your checking to savings accounts on a monthly basis.

  3. Buy used textbooks. When you get your class assignments, don’t be surprised if the college bookstore sells out of used copies very quickly. Look off-campus and search online by ISBN number to find the absolute lowest price for your textbooks. You can also find classmates who took the same class in the previous semester and ask if you can trade or share books with them.

  4. Find alternative or cheaper transportation. Continued education students are especially likely to be working or have family obligations, and that means driving all over town. Try bicycling, walking, and carpooling as much as possible, or use university or public bus systems if available. College buses are typically free for current students.

  5. Get a student checking account. Avoid monthly maintenance fees and get student perks by opening up a student checking account at a local bank. These accounts typically have zero or low minimum balances and reduced or eliminated fees, and may also bring access to special student offers.

  6. Get a part-time job. This may seem obvious, but never forget that a part-time job or a second job on nights and weekends makes a big difference in college savings. Continued education students can look for a job at the college, such as at the library, and earn money while spending time on campus and probably even getting some homework time on the clock.

  7. Apply early and often for financial aid. For some scholarship and loan applications, applying earlier makes you more likely to get approved. Research your eligibility for scholarships from outside organizations.

  8. Ask about employer tuition programs. Your employer might offer incentives like tuition reimbursement or scholarships for current employees, especially for attending continued education or getting an advanced degree.

  9. Pay off credit card debts ASAP. As soon as you can, make larger-than-minimum payments to zero your balance on any credit cards and personal loans. Carrying a balance means paying huge sums in interest over time, and you won’t want to be making monthly payments while attending classes.

  10. Take up cheaper dining and entertainment. From renting DVDs at your local library to packing a lunch for work, you can save hundreds per month by making money-wise decisions about food and fun.

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