Posted by: Ofer Aronskind | May 19, 2011

How Single Dads can Save up for a Child’s College Education

Saving money can be tough in today’s economy. Bills add up, emergencies happen when you least expect them and some expenses are just downright unavoidable altogether. For a single man raising children on his own it can be a tough and stressful job to juggle the bills while also maintaining a strong family culture. To make matters even more complicated, there is also your child’s college education to take into account. Lots of people tend to put that topic on the backburner. Single parents find themselves saying, “My kid will just have to get student loans and deal with it, or my kid’s smart enough to get a scholarship!The reality of the situation is that saving money for your child’s education doesn’t have to be difficult and can make an incredible difference down the line if you start early.

Budget

To save money means to budget, to find ways to reduce your spending without affecting your current way of life. Thinking about taking your kids out for pizza and wings? Consider going to the grocery store and buying the ingredients for a pizza and making one as a family. Not only is this an activity that involves your kids, but it also saves you money in the long haul. Chances are, you’ll have enough leftovers to do it again next week— not only does this save money, but it also builds a stronger family at the same time. Pinching pennies in small ways can build up to thousands of dollars in savings over the years.

Consider the numbers: if you saved 20 dollars every week from the day your child was born until their 18th birthday, you would have $18,720 saved towards a college education—that could pay for an entire degree! Online PhD programs have helped many people save money while getting quality advanced education, and there are indeed many creative ways of getting a degree without going broke today. Education is constantly evolving and continues to become more accessible as technology changes.

Family activities

Spending fun, quality time with your children doesn’t have to be expensive. A trip to the mountains for a few days of hiking and fishing is just as memorable for a kid as a trip to Disney World. The same is true of simple afternoon activities—instead of a few hours at the arcade watching your quarters turn into dollars and eventually dissolve into action games, laser tag and pizza, try an afternoon in the park with sandwiches and a bike ride. You’d be surprised how much money you can save by finding clever, fun ways to engage your children.

Scholarships

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to front the bill for your kid’s entire college education. There are countless scholarships available today that give families unique ways to fund schooling—in fact, a ton of scholarships are devoted specifically to funding children of single parents. Take advantage of government grants, keep an eye out for private scholarships and don’t wait on looking for extra funding—lots of kids secure thousands of dollars in scholarships for college while they’re still in middle school!

If you live in a town that has lots of major universities close to it, this is great news for you. Lots of universities across the nation have inclusion programs in conjunction with high schools. Colleges often pair up with many city high schools to offer more-than-significant college funding for students with above-average GPAs. Universities in many places are looking for ways to help kids get into college—check with your child’s school counselors to see what programs are available in your area.

Need-Based Student Aid


It is important to remember that many colleges offer what is known as “need-based” financial aid packages to students who are unable to pay all of their tuition.  Programs like these require parents to report income information for a given year, from which the school then determines how much to offer the child in grants. It is possible for the child of a single parent to attend an Ivy League school and graduate with less than $5,000 in student loans.
Typically, if a college sees that you as a parent have made an effort to save money to later be invested in your child’s education, they will have no problem working with you in any way to get the rest of the funding. Even if you save up $20 dollars a month, the impression that this has on institutions of higher education is truly hard to ignore.

Just remember to save something, and save whenever possible. Thinking about going out to buy a beer or your favorite sport team’s new jersey? Put that money in the piggy bank. Lots of people build significant savings by putting their spare change in a jar each night before bed. Try different methods and be creative—there’s no such thing as an amount too small to put away for later. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Goals

Having a goal in mind when saving money often makes the process much easier. Look up the average costs for college to get an idea of expenses. If you have a college in mind for your child to attend, consider the cost of the tuition and, if necessary, room and board. With the right amount of savings and outside help anything is affordable. When doing your research, keep in mind that the current economy tends to cause a general increase in prices of all kinds. According to the College Board, college costs are expected increase by at least 6 percent every year into the future, so plan wisely.
Keep these tips in mind as you move forward and as your children progress through middle school and high school. You’ll find that not only will the ideas here increase your confidence in your ability to save, but that they will also empower you to make decisions that will ultimately make your child’s potential college experience the best as possible.

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