Everyone knows that college is expensive. Unfortunately, more and more young people are leaving college with massive amounts of student debt.
In order to avoid a situation where you graduate up to your neck in student loans and credit card debt, it is important to start saving in your teens.
Do not let the fear of student debt scare you away from attending college. Your college years will most likely be the best years of your life. Everyone dreams of the new friends they will meet, the school spirit they will experience, and the sense of independence leaving for college will give them.
So, rather than miss out on those experiences, or let them bury you in debt, you can start saving now. There are many ways you can start saving for college right now. Rather than needing to borrow the entire cost of your college experience, you can be proactive and follow the below money saving guide.
1. Start Saving Right Away
Before you get down to the specifics of saving for college, you first need to adjust your attitude. Start saving immediately. There is no sense coming up with a plan if you are not ready to start right way.
We recommend opening a savings account. Not only are savings accounts a safe place to keep your money, most banks will even pay you a small amount of interest on money you keep in your account.
Another useful strategy is to take advantage of automatic transfers. You can have the paychecks you earn from your part time job deposited directly into your checking account. With a pre-authorized transfer, you can then have a set amount move from your checking account into your savings account. This way you do not have to even think about saving money from your paychecks, it will just occur automatically.
The important thing to keep in mind is your savings account is strictly off limits. This is your college fund, so you cannot dip into it to make any other purchases. Leave that money alone and let the total grow. Without this attitude, you will never grow your savings to the point where they actually make a dent in your college expenses.
2. Get A Job!
It is going to be hard to save any significant amount of money for college if you do not have a job. If you have not already, you should start looking for employment right away. Whether you are applying for part time work you can do after school, or a summer job where you can work longer hours, the important thing is that you start pulling in some consistent money.
Paychecks will give you a regular source of income that will help make your savings efforts seamless. As mentioned above, once you start earning regular paychecks, you can have some of that money directly transfer into a savings account you have designated as your college fund.
There is plenty of work available for teenagers out there. Do not worry if you lack work experience, the main thing is applying. Plenty of grocery stores, fast food restaurants, movie theaters, and clothing stores would happily hire a teenager with the right attitude, regardless of their work experience.
Having a job in your teenage years will also help you apply for higher paying jobs when you are older. It is much easier to apply to jobs without work experience when you are a teenager than it is when you are in your 20s and 30s. Prior work experience will also make applying for a part time job during college much easier. Sometimes you can even continue to work for the same company while you study.
3. Cut Back On Unnecessary Spending
Once you land your first job, there is going to be a real temptation to treat yourself. While enjoying your money is one of the benefits of getting a job, it is important that you keep your spending under control. Make sure you are not dipping into your college fund for unnecessary purchases.
Another thing you should keep in mind is making sure you are searching for deals when you do spend your money. Planning your purchases and waiting for them to go on sale will make your money stretch much further. Patience really is a virtue when it comes to saving money.
4. Get a Side Hustle
While a job will be your main source of college savings, you can also step up the process by looking for other income sources.
You can always offer your services to neighbors, family friends, and even strangers. There is no better feeling than working for yourself. If you like being outside, offer yard work services in exchange for cash. Mowing lawns is great, but there is much more you can do. Offer to weed lawns, aerate lawns, and trim bushes. Consider taking before and after photos you can show potential customers. People are always willing to pay to have a nicer lawn.
The same tactic can be taken towards a variety of chores. You could wash and detail cars, paint fences and the exterior of houses, clean windows, clean up garages, babysit, walk and wash pets, and much more. Basically, get creative. Think of things you can do that others would be willing to pay you for.
5. Sell Unwanted Items
You can always make a little extra money for your college fund by parting with items you no longer want or need. People are always willing to buy used items for a discounted rate. There are also many different apps and websites that connect sellers with buyers.
If you have more valuable collectibles, consider seeing what they go for on EBay. With online auctions, you make it possible for people all over the country and world to bid on your items.
There is no point in letting your old items collect dust when they could be sold for cash that could top up your college fund.