It seems that no matter how hard we try; our money never stretches far enough. The monthly budget is a balancing act that sometimes runs on hope alone. Expenses for housing, petrol, food, utilities and child care typically eat up much of our take home pay. If we’re left with a treat at the end of it, we can count ourselves lucky and saving money? Forget about it.
But rather than dwelling on the past and considering previous money management mistakes, it’s time to think forward and play the long game. If you’ve got children and hope one day they’ll enter the world of academia, then you’ve probably already thought about how you’re going to help out financially with their study. It’s best to use foresight, planning and budgeting here, with these 5 ways to help fund your child’s university fees.
PLAY THE LONG GAME
Though it would be incredibly conscientious to draw up a detailed budget for funding your child’s future education, it’s sensible to acknowledge that the world may well be a very different place in the future.
Right now, tuition fees sit at around £9000 a year, but that could rise or fall hugely as ideas about society progress. You can take some crumbs of comfort in the current set up; maintenance loans are available for students, which are means-tested according to parental contributions.
That said, you might want to consider setting up a bank account now which you pay a small amount of money into regularly, with over time will accumulate enough to help your child through university. It’s claimed that £60’000 may be needed in total for one child’s study, which equates to £170 a month for 18 years, assuming 5% interest accrued.
The current government are particularly cruel in terms of help afforded to those in need. One might hope that in the future, university fees will be reduced. Even putting away £25 a month at an annual rate of 5% would equate to around £8,700 (ish) after 18 years. Play the long game.
INVEST FOR THE FUTURE
If that long game sounds an attractive notion, then consider investing in a savings account, stocks or shares now, with a view to accruing more money as the years progress.
There are different types of saving accounts available including instant access and fixed savings. The former means you or your child can withdraw and deposit money at any time, however as you’ve probably guessed, interest rates aren’t that good on these ones. Fixed savings often run for a set amount of time and pay a higher interest.
Other options include Junior Cash or Stocks and Shares ISAs which are tax efficient ways to save money for your child. Junior Cash ISAs are more or less the same as savings accounts, however the interest is tax-free and the money is locked up until your child is 18. A Junior Stocks and Shares ISA is a savings account that allows you to get involved in a range of investments, but this carries a little more risk.
COSIGN ON YOUR CHILD’S STUDENT LOANS
If your child is attending an expensive college or university, paying for the semester or school year is always a challenge. After taking advantage of all the scholarships, grants and work study programs, you can look for the best options and rates available for private student loans. These loans are generally available from banks, financing companies and credit unions. When applying, it’s best to offer to cosign the private loan so your child will qualify more easily for this type of financing.
REFINANCE YOUR MORTGAGE
In recent years we have seen very attractive home mortgage financing rates. If you currently have a mortgage with a higher rate, it pays to see how much money you could save each month if you refinanced your home. You can often get offers that allow you to refinance without investing any money in fees, points and the like. In some cases, if your equity has gone way up, you may also be able to get a new mortgage that does not include Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) in your payment.
MAKE MINOR LIFESTYLE ADJUSTMENTS
Every little helps really is a maxim designed for saving money. If you’re looking to put away a small sum each month, week or even day, then you should look into some minor adjustments you might make to your everyday as inspiration for further saving down the road.
Start by doing an audit of your subscriptions and memberships; you’ll likely find some lurkers you haven’t used for months. Cancel them immediately, and while you’re burrowing around in the back passages of your phone settings, make sure you don’t have current subscriptions on autorenewal. We all hate when that happens unexpectedly.
You can also make some modest changes to your bills and energy habits which can transform your finances. Check out our article on making those small changes which can lead to lower bills here.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Though the role of academia in society has changed markedly in recent years, the opportunities which university grant to young people can’t be overstated. Should you be hoping that your children attend in the future, do bear in mind these 5 ways to fund your child’s university fees that we’ve discussed above. Good luck!