How Parents Can Afford College without Debt

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I’ve started accepting guest post every first and third Wednesday of the month!  Today’s featured blogger is  Amy Nickson.  You may have seen her work on several other blogs!

How parent can fund your child’s education without incurring debt?

The sad reality is that many parents put their dreams on hold to save money for their child’s college education.

Most parents think that sending their children to college is more important than saving for their retirement days. Some feel that one should put saving for retirement before anything else, as their retirement fund is essential for them when they lack the ability to work on their own. However, when parents incur debt in the latter half of their life, they may not get enough support to get rid of that debt.

If you have a child, you need to fund college cost and you also need to save for your future. But the million dollar question is; how can you successfully manage your child’s education cost while giving debt a miss?

How to Fund Your Child’s Education without Debt.

  1. Determine your expenses

To create a budget, you must determine an amount you need to spend for your child’s education. But, at first, you need to choose a college you would like to send your child.

Thus, you’ll understand the total amount you need to spend on tuition cost, boarding, textbooks, supplies, and extracurricular, activities etc.

  1. Formulate a budget

Formulating a budget is important, but it can be a bit tricky for parents who are funding their child’s education. You have to consider other accounts like IRA (k), 529 savings account, and emergency fund while creating the budget. Try to deduct all expenses from your total income to understand how much money left for other expenses. Make sure you exclude all unnecessary expenses; otherwise you won’t be able to follow your budget.

  1. Be an early bird

Start saving for your kid’s education as early as possible. The price of commodities, the education fees, and the tuition costs are rising fast. So, if you want to prepare yourself for paying your kid’s college fees, then you have to start saving money just after the birth of the child. Thus, you can have enough money in your bank account to fund your kid’s education.

  1. Analyze the EFC

You need to analyze the exact Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that you’re supposed to make towards your child’s college education costs. This is often determined by the Federal Government based on all the information you provided in the Free Application for the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You have to provide information about your income, net worth, assets and child’s education costs. All such information can deduce the amount that you can contribute towards your child’s education. The lower EFC you can show, the better grant your kid will receive.

  1. Let your child get involved

You must involve your kids in this matter. If your income is low to cover the cost of a private college, then talk to your child regarding the matter. Don’t borrow money beyond your affordability; otherwise, you’ll suffer during retirement. Ask your child to join a part-time job. If the child chooses a college beyond his means, then he has to take responsibility for its funding.

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  1. Take advantage of 401 (K) offered by your employer

If your company offers a 401(k) savings plan, then take advantage of it. Thus you can grow money tax-free. You can get more advantage of free money if your employer offers a dollar-for-dollar percentage match.

For example,

Suppose you’re earning $1,000 per week and your company is offering a 5% dollar-for- dollar match.

If you’re contributing 60% of your weekly gross income into your 401(k), then your company needs to deposit an additional 60% into your account, which means you’re saving nearly $3000 free money into your retirement account in a year.

  1. Review your life insurance policy

Some people pay more than what they need on their life insurance policies. Thus, a large part of the monthly income goes towards the life insurance premiums. If you’re one of them, then review your life insurance policy instead of wasting money on an unnecessary coverage. You can save money toward your retirement fund or child’s college fund.

  1. Try to automate your savings

Once you automate your savings, a portion of your paycheck will save in your accounts automatically every month. Thus, you’ll be able to save money even on a tight budget.

  1. Open a 529 savings plan

529 savings plan allows you to save tax-free money for your child’s higher education. Ask your family members to contribute to 527 accounts instead of wasting money on expensive gifts.

  1. Seek professional help

Sometimes you may get confused about your priorities in life. Being a parent, you always want to pay for your child’s higher education. But you shouldn’t ignore your financial future. If you’re not getting answers yourself, then you can talk to a financial advisor for help. An advisor can tell you how to save for your child besides your retirement account.

Final words

Remember, stealing money from the retirement account is a big No-no. Taking money out of your savings dedicated for future is a big mistake. Remember, retirement savings is a necessity. Your child’s education cost will be managed with your help or without your help. Don’t feel ashamed if you’re unable to fund your child’s education. There are many options for your child but fewer options for you when you’re unable to work even.

Finally, federal financial aid provided by the schools are the right options for struggling parents who want to protect their child from the vicious cycle of student loan debt. Browse online to find out more information. If you still want to take out student loan debt, then talk to a financial advisor to know the best option suitable for your financial situation.

 amy-nickson Amy Nickson is a web enthusiast. She is associated with ovlg.com where she shares her expertise through her crisp and well ­researched articles based on money management, money saving ideas, debt and so on.

10 Helpful Tips for Parents with Side Hustles

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In my thirty three years of life, I’ve already worked half of it, beginning at 15 and most of that time, I’ve had more than one job or more than one stream of income.  I’ve also been a parent since 17 so, in my opinion the dual responsibilities  have gone hand in hand for so long that I think I have balancing the two down packed.

Although there are some times, that I feel stretched way too thin, which I discussed a little here and here, for the most part I do pretty well managing the multiple responsibilities of multiple roles.  Since I consider myself an expert side hustling parent, I’ve decided to share my tips with other parents who may want to begin a side hustle or are currently doing a side hustle and are feeling discouraged and overwhelmed.

My Helpful Tips for Parents who Side Hustle

  1. Determine what you can do, how to do it, and when and stick to that.

When considering a side hustle, obviously you want to do something that you can do or have passion doing and do well.  If you have that figured out, next it’s important to determine how much your willing to work and sticking to that.  It’s easy to lose yourself once you realize the earning potential.

Write everything down.

With so many responsibilites, schedules, meetings, and additional activities it’s important to write everything down possible.  I’m most creative in the morning (usually in the shower) and once out the shower, I write down all my daily plans, and blog topics, any connections or emails I need to make/send and even meal ideas.  I try to sync all important meetings into my phone so that I’m alerted prior too.

Plan as far ahead as possible

Planning as far ahead as possible is as equally important.  Planning ahead helps to release some of the stress that can come from the demand of pleasing or being available to multiple people.  Also planning ahead, in my opinion prevents the chaos that can come from having multiple responsibilities.  Some things I like to plan ahead are blog post, meals, appointments, activities, trips, and minor events.

Set goals

It’s important to determine why you want to side hustle and set goals to reach while doing so.  Otherwise you may begin to feel empty or feel that your working hard for nothing.  Before I set a goal to eliminate all my credit card debt, I was literally working part time and spending my money.  At the end of the month, I couldn’t remember where my money had gone. Afterwards, I set a goal to contribute at least half of the previous months earnings towards debt, place a fourth in savings and keep the other fourth.  When I felt burnt out, I had something to reflect on to bring back the motivation.

Celebrate accomplishments.

To go along with the previous tip of setting goals, celebrate once you’ve accomplished them.  I’ve successfully paid off six of my eight credit cards from side hustling this year and once the other two are completely paid off I plan on celebrating.  Also once I paid off cards with a thousand dollar limit or more, by or before my goal date, I placed the payment amount in my savings to celebrate!  I also treated myself to a new book and DIY materials.

Make time for yourself.

As previously stated, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of parenting, adulting, and side hustling especially if the money is good.  To maintain the stress of all the above, I like to make time for myself.  I recently made a “space” for myself where I can enjoy reading books or my morning coffee or gather my thoughts.  I’ve decided to do this daily. I also attempt to walk at least three times per week for an hour and have “no obligation” time on Sunday.

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Develop a support system

I would not be able to do all the things I do, if it wasn’t for my support system.  It’s important, especially as a parent, to have those people in place to help support you and the children when you’re unavailable.  My current support system consist of my mom is always willing to fill in where I’m supposed to be but unable, my husband for ongoing encouragement, and my friends for emotional support when I really just want to quit and live mediocre.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If your side hustle happens to be your passion or part time job for someone else, you may still have questions or experience feelings of defeat or overwhelm at times.  If this happens, do not be afraid to ask for help.  Obviously this blog is a side hustle for me, as well as a place to demonstrate my creativity, but wordpress and plug ins confuse.  I’ve been able to reach out to other bloggers and members of Facebook groups to ask for help with various questions.  I’ll also ask my support team for help when needed.  You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help because they believe in you and do not want you to fail!

Know your worth

About three months after I began blogging I began making money writing blog post for bigger blogs.  For one blog I was paid $15.00 per blog post and the other $20.00.  Three months into blogging, my purpose for writing was to get exposure and be able to build a portfolio in addition to GDTH for future options.  However, I think it’s important to know your worth, set a price, and stick with it.  The quality and time that went into those 1000 plus blog post, in my opinion was worth much more than $20.00, but the exposure was valuable as well.  Once you’ve determined your worth, then determine if you’re willing to barter for something else or not.

Be confident

Side hustling can definitely take a toll on you over time.  There will be moments of defeat, overwhelm, and burnout.  There is will also be times that you question yourself.  Which is why it’s important to be confident in yourself and you ability.

 

Did I miss any tips?  If so add them in the comments below!

Mommy and Money Issues: Series 1

Mommy and Money Issues: Series 1 appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!
Mommy and Money Issues: Series 1 appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!

Right now valued readers of GDTH, I’m struggling internally. Here is why.  My Big Girl (BG) just got a job!  I still tear up when I think about the fact that she can work now.  Literally, she was hired on January 8, 2016.  She worked Wednesday 1/13, Saturday 1/16, Sunday 1/17, and was supposed to return Tuesday 1/19.  On Tuesday 1/19 she contacted the supervisor and quit.

BG let me know the night before.  We had a long talk text about her decision.  She says that she thought it would interfere with her semester because she is taking 3 core classes necessary to graduate. She also said the environment made her anxious, her supervisor’s were unsupportive and sat in the back of the store on their phones, and her crew members and/or store was disgusting, too disgusting for her to bare.

I encouraged her to finish the pay period and then talk with them about her concerns with school, she did not want to.  I then attempted to convince her to at least finish the schedule and suggested that maybe she could better tolerate her personal issues with her working environment once she got her first pay check, again NO!  I finally said that if she was certain that it was not a good fit and she was determined to quit then call first thing in the morning and explain why she would not be returning.  She did and she states that she was thanked for calling and letting them know.

Now I’m struggling with how I handled the situation.  I attempt to prepare my children for the real world and I’m not sure that I did this in this situation.  In the adult world, is it that easy to quit a job or should it be?  Should I have given her the “in the real world” talk?  Should I make this a teachable moment?  Or should I support her decisions and continue to encourage her keep looking for suitable employment?

The other reason I struggle is because I blog, study, and breath personal finance.  I feel like I should be living the example and demonstrating what I want my children to learn about responsibility and money management.  Therefor, because I would never walk away from my employment (unless I already had something else) nor quit something because of how uncomfortable it was, I’m uncomfortable with not encouraging or maybe demanding her to do the same.

Additionally, I’m a firm believer in when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.  I’m living proof.  In high school, I had a child, maintained the honor roll, was in the National Honor Society, and worked!  I took 5 classes for three semesters to graduate in 2008, with three children, and a job.  I entered grad school with three little children and a full time job.  One semester I had to complete an internship at night so I literally worked from 7:30 to 5:30 pm and then went to an intern at a mental health facility from 6:00 pm to 12:00 am for an entire semester.  I now work a full time, 2 side hustles, and blog.  My ish is tough, so I’ve gotten tougher.  But is that unrealistic for her.

I often struggle with traits of my own that my children lack.  I internalize it, and feel that I’m insufficient.  I get hard on myself to feel better about what I think are their inadequacies.  This may very well be one of those moments.  Maybe I’m more upset that I didn’t have the opportunity to teach her more about money management.  I don’t know.

I am very proud of her.  She was determined to get a job and she got one!  She is standing for what she thinks is of more value which is her education, and I agree.  Finally, she still does want to work, and is diligently putting in applications for weekend employment, so no disappointment there.

So valued GDTH readers, what do you think?  What would you have done?  Would you have handled the situation differently?

 

4 Tips for Parents with children in college or on the way!

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I wasn’t a “struggling” college student per se’ but definitely was not living the lifestyle I was accustomed to having my mother available to provide and assist as before.  I worked part time and received VA benefits made available by my deceased father.  The monetary benefit, wages, and Pell grant refunds still weren’t enough then (when I was the only one responsible) to live off of.

Although my parents have blessed me, and my daughter with having a college fund for my children to attend college, I still think it’s important to be able to provide for them and assist them whenever it’s needed.  Since I should still be working, while all but one child is in (and hopefully) finished college the steps below will be incorporated into my budget.

With a junior daughter and sophomore nephew/son in high school, both planning on attending college, I  plan on taking these below steps sooner rather than later.

1.  Develop a stock Pile.
I coupon, extreme coupon, as a matter of fact.  I usually use coupons to purchase soap, deodorant, tissue, paper towels, and some food items.  Conveniently, these items are also needed by college students.  Even if you do not coupon, pick up as much more as you can afford and put it up for the rising college student.  Little items like this add up and I’m sure will be greatly appreciated.
2.  Accumulate points.
Many retailers have point systems that can be redeemed for cash on future purchases.  Plenti, Walgreens, and Rite Aide are just a few that allows certain purchases to accumulate points that can be redeemed for future purchases and even prescriptions if needed!  I would encourage parents to open an account under that child or even just an extra one and allow the points to accumulate until they go to college and throughout!
3.  Stash gift cards.
There are just as many apps that allow you to redeem points for gift cards as their are retailers.  Also there are retailers that provide store gift cards for future purchases.  Target is a favorite of mine.  This year with couponing alone, I’ve accumulated about $220 in gift cards!  I save some of them and then others I use to make purchases when funds are low!  After this year I will begin saving them for my junior.
4.  Build a savings account.
Some parents are not able to build a college fund for their children but still wish to send them to college.  Even if your child has to take out student loans and Pell grants to fund college doesn’t mean that parents should feel down.  Parents could just as well build a savings account specifically for that child to make or pay their student loans.  I graduated from under grad with over $40,000 of student loan debt.  I would have loved having even $1000.00 to apply to my student loan debt.

College is already expensive, save with these tips and Start now! Click To Tweet

What additional ways do you plan on helping your college student? As a college student what assistance was most helpful for you?

5 Money Saving College Tips

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I wasn’t a “struggling” college student per se’ but definitely was not living the lifestyle I was accustomed to while living with my mother.  I worked part time and received VA benefits made available by my deceased father.  With that income, I still could have used these money saving college tips while trying to maintain my own.

Although my parents have blessed me, and my daughter with having a college fund for my her to attend college, I’m still responsible for my other 5 children.  I  think it’s important to be able to provide for all of them and assist them whenever it is needed.  I should still be working while all but one child is in (and hopefully) finished college the steps below will be incorporated into my budget.

With a junior daughter and sophomore nephew/son in high school, both planning on attending college, I  plan on taking these below steps to save on college expenses, sooner rather than later.

Money Saving College Tips

1.  Develop a stock Pile.
I coupon, extreme coupon, as a matter of fact.  I usually use coupons to purchase soap, deodorant, tissue, paper towels, and some food items.  Conveniently, these items are also needed by college students.  Even if you do not coupon, pick up as much extra as you can afford and put it up for the rising college student.  Little items like this add up and I’m sure will be greatly appreciated.
2.  Accumulate points.
Many retailers have point systems that can be redeemed for cash on future purchases.  Plenti, Walgreens, and Rite Aide are just a few that allows certain purchases to accumulate points that can be redeemed for future purchases and even prescriptions if needed!  I would encourage parents to open an account under that child or even just an extra one and allow the points to accumulate until they go to college and throughout!

how-to-save-money-for-college-with-little-income
3.  Stash gift cards.
There are just as many apps that allow you to redeem points for gift cards as their are retailers.  Also there are retailers that provide store gift cards for future purchases.  Target is a favorite of mine.  This year with couponing alone, I’ve accumulated about $220 in gift cards!  I save some of them and then others I use to make purchases when funds are low!  After this year I will begin saving them for my junior to take with her.

4.  Ask For Help

Friends, family, and other supports want to see children succeed.  As a result, most are willing to assist in that success even with college.  Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for assistance with getting your child into college, help with college essentials, or college related expenses.  Target now has a college registry.

Target’s College registry allows upcoming freshman as well as upper class students to build a registry of essentials for college.  Take your upcoming college student to Target and build your registry and share the list with anyone willing to assist with the transition.

5. Build a Savings Account

Some parents are not able to build a college fund for their children but still wish to send them to college.  Even if your child has to take out student loans,  doesn’t mean that parents should feel helpless. You can  build a savings account specifically for that child to make payments their student loans or pay in full.  I graduated from under grad with over $40,000 of student loan debt.  I would have loved having even $1000.00 to apply to my student loan debt once I graduated.

College doesn't have to be expensive if your prepared. Click To Tweet

What additional ways do you plan on helping your college student? As a college student what assistance was most helpful for you?