kids college

10 Creative Ways to Save & Pay for Your Kids’ College Education

College tuition puts a huge burden on any family’s budget. If you want to ensure that your child gets the education he or she wants and deserves, it’s time to get creative.

The sooner you start with the saving and paying plan, the better.

Maybe you haven’t found the right way to save up, but that is about to change. With the following tips, you’ll welcome new ways of cutting costs and paying for your child’s college.

1. Become a Club Card Member

If your favorite stores have the preferred customer club, become a member. You can get access to all their discounts and collect points for additional rewards.

The seemingly unnoticeable decreases in price can save you a pretty good sum of money over time.

Most stores even have the option of an e-membership card. Add the cards to your digital wallet and you won’t have to worry about carrying extra cards.

2. Take Co-Op Education into Consideration

Cooperative education allows students to study and get paid work experience with certain employers. Inquire about the partnerships between your child’s university and local companies.

This can be a great opportunity for your child to learn, gain valuable work experience, and help you pay the tuition.

Head to the Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) website to learn more about Co-Op education and the difference in models.

3. Purchase Groceries once a Week

Limit your impulse purchase with scheduled weekly grocery shopping.

Start creating your shopping list at the beginning of the week and let the necessary items add up. Before you head to the store for weekly shopping, ask your family members if they need anything. Get them used to this “once-a-week” shopping regime.

Not only will you save time and reduce impulse purchases, but you’ll also save on gas. The constant back and forth trips to the grocery store can become a thing of the past.

4. Buy a Prepaid Tuition

Some states provide you with the possibility of prepaid tuition within their 529 plans. How does it work? Well, you pay the state a certain amount while your child is still young. The state then locks that amount in the tuition cost.

Bear in mind that this can be tricky if your child changes his or her mind about college. Decide on this option only if they show complete dedication to going to a specific college.

5. Rethink Your Choice of Phone, Cable, Internet, and Streaming Services

Many major service providers offer a certain discount if you opt for a bundle of phone, cable, and internet service. This can be your chance to cut back on some unnecessary costs.

Do some research on the most affordable bundled cell phone service family package. You’ll be surprised how much you can save with the right package.

Now, how many streaming services are you subscribed to? Do you really need Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, AND HBO Now? Take your pick and limit your streaming services to one or two platforms.

6. Browse for Niche Scholarships

There are so many scholarships out there that you haven’t even heard of. For example, if your child is bound for agricultural college, he or she can get a $10,000 scholarship from the National Potato Council. The requirement is that the student convincingly declares their passion for potatoes.

The scholarships can get quite specific. You’ll be surprised what kind of scholarships exist. All you need to do is to search for a scholarship that aligns with your child’s college plans and hobbies.

7. Collect Change with an Electronic Piggy Bank

If you’ve ever tried collecting change in a piggy bank, you know that the pennies add up to a decent dollar amount. Since most people use credit and debit cards, the change is hard to collect. However, there is a way to start the piggy bank adventure once again.

Bank of America offers a “Keep the Change” program which allows you to collect change from your daily purchases and deposit it to a checking or savings account. Therefore, you can have access to a piggy bank in an electric form.

Check if your bank offers a program like that. If not, you can make it a habit to add up the change from your purchases (rounded up to the nearest dollar). At the end of the month, calculate how much you’ve collected and transfer that amount to the college savings account.

8. Find Alternative Sources of Study Materials

Instead of paying for pricey tutoring lessons or writing courses, consider different options. There are lots of free learning materials that your child can get good use out of.

For example, if your child is struggling with an essay, don’t pay an essay writing service for help. An alternative (and free) solution is to check out websites like that offer free essay samples for inspiration.

9. Pay with Cash Whenever Possible

Swiping through a credit card and counting the dollar bills to pay for something, doesn’t carry the same weight. In fact, a study by Dun and Bradstreet found that people spend 12%-18% more when using credit cards as opposed to paying with cash.

Test out this theory and start paying with cash. You don’t need to carry a huge amount of money around. But prepare cash when you are dining out or going shopping for less expensive items.

10. Put the Tax Returns from Donating to the Savings Account

Donate your old clothes and clothes you don’t wear, your child’s clothes, and old toys to a charity. When you get the receipt, save it.

The money you get back on your taxes from donations can be allocated to the savings account. Turn that into a habit.

With some discipline and creativity, you can make the tuition fee less intimidating. Try out different methods of saving money and paying for tuition until you find what works best for you and your family.

About the Author

Karren Brandenburg

Karren Brandenburg is a travel and shopping expert. She has been quoted in Street Insider, Yahoo Finance, Reuters, ABC News, and MarketWatch. Karren has a total of 18 credit cards, using reward points to see the world on a budget.