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Saving Money When Your Child Goes Away To College

When parents send their students away to college, there are two major thought processes going on:

  1. My heart is being ripped out of my chest and I’ll never survive this!
  2. Hallelujah! Less stress, more food in the house, it’s about time!

As we struggle to come to terms with these conflicting emotions, the reality of having a student in college and the impact on family finances hits home will make you wonder how you are going to get through the next four years. Fortunately, it is possible to save money when your child goes away to college!

Create your own care packages – Prepackaged ones sold by the college or other sources may seem like a quick, easy way to show your student that you care, but our kids truly appreciate homemade treats, little personal trinkets picked out by mom, and handwritten letters from younger siblings.

Be aware of fabulous student discounts – That shiny new dorm I.D./dining hall card issued by the college does a lot more than most students and parents realize. When shown at local businesses, it becomes an amazing discount card and can help your student save money all over town.

Take advantage of textbook choices – Students have many choices besides the school bookstore when it comes to obtaining the required materials for each class. Renting, buying new and used books online, borrowing from friends, and scouting out the best deals can save a ton of money for those heavy, overpriced and often read only once textbooks.

Alert your auto insurance company – Most car insurance agents will still offer good student discounts to college students. Also, if your student didn’t take a car to school, a “student away at college” discount may apply on the vehicle that was left at home. This allows the student to still drive insured when they come home to visit, but the full premium is reduced as long as the car doesn’t go with them to college.

Keep applying for scholarships – Parents and students alike often assume that once students have graduated from high school, the opportunity to win scholarship money is over. This couldn’t be more wrong! Colleges have lists of scholarships for current students on their websites, online databases are filled with scholarships open to college students, and financial aid offices have inside knowledge about ways to help parents and their students find more money for school.

Sending a student away to college is a huge life-changing moment for parents and students. Don’t let the emotional impact of these changes also hit you in the pocketbook. Take advantage of these money-saving ideas and congrats mom and dad, you are one step closer to raising a strong independent financial savvy student!

Have you found other ways to save money while your son or daughter is in college? We’re all in this together, so share them in the comments section below!

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