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6 Easy Ways to Save for College

High school students often look forward to college because it’s their first taste of independence. You won’t have to worry about curfews or asking permission to hang out with friends, but it’s a costly endeavor that requires a strategic savings plan. Here are six easy ways to save for college so you’re prepared for costs like tuition and boarding, even if you qualify for significant scholarships.

1. Determine Your Savings Goals

When you’re ready to start college saving strategies, you should begin by determining how much you want to put aside in your account. Will a scholarship or grant pay for your tuition? Will your degree path require expensive textbooks compared to other academic fields?

Find a few universities that catch your eye and write down how much they charge for typical student necessities. Find the exact amount you’d have to pay for things like:

  • Semesterly tuition
  • On-campus housing fees
  • Meal plans

Contact a university representative to get more specific details about which class you might take and what you’ll have to pay each semester. It’s much easier to find the right savings plan if you have an end goal.

2. Invest With a Little Help

Investing is a great way to figure out how to save for college while you’re in high school. A parent or guardian can help you work with an adviser to pick promising stocks or bonds. You might also look into starting a state-sponsored 529 plan. This works with most U.S. universities but also comes with annual maintenance and application fees. Talk with your loved ones about how much everyone can invest to determine if it’s the right financial path forward.

3. Find Higher Interest Rates

You can also open a savings account with a bank that offers competitive interest rates. They will give you monthly, quarterly or annual profits based on how much exists in your account when the interest comes due. Young people under 18 may qualify for special savings deals that don’t require maintenance or withdrawal fees, depending on which bank you choose.

4. Automate Savings Transfers

Preparing for college might consume all your focus. You’re busy keeping up your GPA and applying to universities, so you might forget to move money into your savings account regularly. Anyone who wants to learn how to save for college should look into automatic transfers. Set up a weekly, bimonthly or monthly transfer from checking to your savings. Your college fund will continue growing even when life gets hectic during your junior or senior year of high school.

5. Enter Scholarship Contests

You don’t need to wait until your senior year to apply for scholarships. Depending on your age and skill set, you could enter contests that award scholarships to winners. It’s an excellent way to earn money in addition to a part-time job. Look into upcoming opportunities to see how writing an essay, submitting wildlife photos or entering a debate could add tens of thousands of dollars to your savings account.

6. Shrink Your Budget

Even if you don’t live on your own, you likely have a monthly budget. You still have to pay for things like transportation fees, clothes and meals, but adjusting your budget will help you save for college. Reduce or eliminate costs related to recurring expenses. You could try ideas such as:

  • Eliminating subscription services
  • Purchasing less gas by not driving as much
  • Limiting how often you visit restaurants with friends

Look closely at your most frequent expenses. You might find it’s easy to reduce or eliminate them and put that money toward your college goals.

Start College Saving Strategies Today

These are a few easy ways to save for college that anyone can start trying right away. Find a savings account with better interest rates to earn passive income while submitting entries to scholarship contests and automating transfers. You’ll build significant savings in a short period and have enough money to make college a stress-free experience.

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