College is expensive. Saving money for college can be incredibly difficult, but these tools can help you be better prepared for the expense.
The Free Money
First up, just know that you need to apply for FAFSA. My school actually requires students submit it before they can start freshman year. FAFSA is government aid for college students, which is much preferred than private loan companies.
Second, scholarships. I got about $8,000 in scholarships and was still left with a large bill my freshman year. And I went to school in-state! Picking a school is more than just the amount of money you get though, learn more about choosing a school here. There are so many scholarships out there, research and you can find some!
To save money for college, I recommend getting a job as soon as you feel comfortable working (16/17) and saving everything you can until you leave for school. For me, I only spent money on what I had to (car repairs, insurance etc.) from the time I got my job at 17 and I started college with $5,000 in my account.
I started working later in life than most of my friends did. I recommend getting a savings account as well as a checking account as soon as you get your first job. This will make it easier to save, easier to protect your money, and easier to get paychecks through direct deposit. To help save money for college, here are a few techniques.
Save Hundreds Spend Tens
This technique for saving money is a great one for teens who still live with their parents. The way this goes is you save the $100’s column of every paycheck and make your tens last you until the next payday. If you got a check for $367 for two weeks, you would put $300 directly into your savings account and put the $67 into your checking account. That $67 could be used for going out with friends, ordering food, or online shopping.
This might seem tricky but any money that you have from the check before can roll over into the next week’s budget, making it easier to save. By sticking to this budget, you can easily save money for college.
Saving a Set Amount
This technique is one that I use for nearly everything in my life! Saving for a cruise, a new laptop, or an upcoming semester–this way of saving is a good one. If you have some bills to pay, but your parents help you out a little–this technique is for you.
$1,000 is a lot of money and can be a huge help when it comes to saving for college. By putting $84 into a savings account every week, you can accumulate $1,000 of savings in just 3 months. That’s over $4,000 of savings in one year! A biweekly paycheck of $367 would mean two payments of $84, equalling $168 of each check being put into savings. That leaves $200 for you to spend at your leisure.
Saving money by using percentages is a tricky way to save money, but is a good way to save long term. Some companies offer a cool feature for their employees (my high school job did), and that feature is splitting checks. If you use direct deposit, sometimes you can split a check so a percentage of it goes into one account while everything else goes into another.
If you set just 15% of each check to go into savings from a $367 check, that would be $55 each check which is $110 a month. That gets you over $1200 in savings after just one year of working. You’ll also be left with nearly $300 from each check in your checking account. If you checking account gets high–transfer some money to your savings account to help you gain interest.
This method is probably the easiest of the three. You don’t have to do any money transferring yourself with this method. In addition to less work, you also never miss the money that went into savings because it was never part of your checking account balance.