Ways to Cut Extra College Costs
Your child may be off to college soon, and with tuition comes all the extras.
News 12’s consumer reporter gives us the real deal on what’s needed, what’s wasteful and how to cut those costs.
Heather Rabinowitz, a college mom of two and finance professional, says it takes time and planning to figure out how to cut the cost of college.
Health insurance can cost you thousands of dollars. You will be charged for school policy unless you act quickly.
“It takes work. It takes time. You have to make phone calls more often. My understanding is that if you have a health plan, that’s probably enough, but again, you need to make sure you fill out the waiver in your withdrawal request from the plan, otherwise you are automatically enrolled,” says Rabinowitz.
Don’t go crazy over meal plans. Buying the most expensive meal plan can be a waste. Rabinowitz recommends his son use a plan with meal points, instead of cash that can expire at the end of the semester.
The biggest bill is for tuition and accommodation. Saving with a 529 plan is the best tax-free way to save money for college.
“You invest the money, and it grows tax-deferred. Then when you take the money out, as long as you use it for educational purposes, which it’s intended for, that’s also tax-free. “, says Rabinowitz.
You can even ask your friends and relatives to contribute to the 529 fund in lieu of birthday or graduation gifts. And if your child doesn’t decide to go to college, you can pass that money on to another family member.
Ask your child to meet with their advisor to see how they could graduate sooner – one semester will save you thousands of dollars.
They can also find a job to pay for their extra entertainment.
Don’t take a car to school – it will cost you money for insurance, gas and parking.