Unique Ways to Save Money for College
Boost your money market or college savings account with these tips
You know about the typical tips to help when you're saving for your kid's college education, like opening a savings account when your child is young, having your teen get a part-time job and cutting out small indulgences like your daily latte. But as your child enters high school and the deadline to pay for college is approaching, you may be looking for ways to bolster your savings even more. Use these money-saving tips for everyday expenses to discover the best ways to save for college in the years before tuition is due.
Use credit card rewards to make future purchases
If you regularly earn points by using and paying down your credit card, you can save by using those points to make other purchases. Use the points you've earned on past expenses to pay for airline tickets, gifts for family or friends, or gift cards you can use for gas, back to school clothes, books for class and more. You can also choose a credit card that gives you cash back on what you buy to save even more money for college.
Get an energy audit and look for ways to conserve fuel and funds
You pay your energy bill every month, but you may not consider how much you can lower it, or that you can use those funds to save money for college. If you're concerned about your bill or just curious where your money is going, consider getting a professional energy audit to see where you can cut back. Even unplugging appliances when not in use can help you save. It can also show you where replacing older appliances for new, energy-efficient models could save you money in the long run.
Challenge your family to eat in for a month
Cutting back on take-out or restaurants can save you money, but sometimes it helps to have a little extra incentive. Challenge your family to go one month without eating out, and then create a cooking schedule so you all pitch in. Use this as an opportunity to try new recipes, teach your old favorites to your son or daughter and spend time together before your nest is empty. You can even have a contest to see who sticks to the challenge best. At the end of the month, go out and enjoy one meal together as a family, and then try to do it again for another month.
Continue saving money while your child is in college
Saving for college doesn't stop on the first day of freshman year. These tips can help your child continue to save - and grow his or her savings in a money market for expenses like books, meal plans, rent and more.
- Take advantage of student discounts: In a college town, many retailers will offer discounts when your student shows a college ID. Businesses may even have additional deals depending on the day of the week. Whether your student saves on food, clothes or entertainment, encourage him or her to put the difference from the discount into a savings account.
- Rent appliances from the school if you need them: During college, your child may need a mini fridge or washer and dryer that won't get much use after graduation. Often a school will offer the opportunity to rent appliances, which may be more affordable than buying them. If you do choose to buy these items for your student, consider buying second-hand from upperclassmen to save money.
- Get movies from the library: Instead of renting or buying, have your child find out if the campus library rents movies. While the library may not have all the newest releases, your child will often be able to find fun titles for an evening in with friends.
- Look for free events, clubs and activities: College campuses offer plenty of free or affordable activities for students. Encourage your young freshman to visit an organizational fair at school to find out what's available.
Open a money market account to build your child's savings for college today
If you opened a CollegeSaver® account with Citizens Bank when your child was young, you'll want to continue making regular contributions to earn your bonus. However, it may also be beneficial to make additional contributions to a separate money market account with a higher interest rate. A money market account gives you more incentive to save with more competitive interest rates and limited withdrawals. As you use these unique tips to save money for college, consider placing the funds you earn into a money market account.