Sep 5, 2010
This post is a guest article from Tamsin Oxford, staff writer at PlayPennies.com, a UK blog for money-conscious parents.
I’m raising a genius. I know you are too. All our children are these amazing sponges, sucking up information at a rate of knots and amazing us with their progress in this world. Most of us are cutting corners and saving money every single day so that we can give them the best possible future.
So what about university/college? This great big walloping expense is looming on all our horizons and, with a bit of forethought and planning, you can gradually save up money to cover all the Uni/College eventualities.
We get thrown all sorts of terrifying figures by the media. £20k to raise a child! Government stealing our benefits! It’s surprising that more of us aren’t hiding under the sofa, quivering in terror at the mere mention of Uni.
As a parent you need to consider rent, food, clothes, tuition fees, and more. The cost is pretty scary. In 2006, Hanson Wealth Management estimated this at around £34,150 for three years. That’s a deposit on a house!
Now is the time to start saving some money. Do research into the best savings accounts around, find out which ones have the best long-term benefits and which offer the best gain and security. Set aside an affordable amount each month that is automatically debited from your account.
If your child is one of the lucky ones who got the £250 government voucher at birth, there are many great schemes (like the Co-operative one) that let you put £15 or more a month into the account. By the time they hit 18 there will be a nice nest egg in there to get them started.
Consider visiting an independent financial advisor as well. Some organisations offer this service for free and it is really surprising what you can learn. Their title may say “independent” but some will obviously have a bias towards their particular organisation, so bear that in mind, but they can help you to create a good financial plan for your future, and your children.
Depending on the savings option you choose, you can even have grandparents and other relatives contribute to the fund over the years as well. It is definitely a far better present than yet another plastic toy and will be far more appreciated in the long run.
Heavy finance aside, there are some other simple things you can do to save money for Uni. I sell all my children’s old toys on eBay or similar and put all the money I make into her Uni fund. The same goes for her clothes in good condition and any household items that need a new home.
Do a “Give Up Round Robin”. The premise is simple. You give up something you like but isn’t particularly good for you, like wine or chocolate, for a month. Take the money you would have spent on these things into a separate savings account. Do this once in a while and watch your savings grow, and your waistline shrink! But don’t do it every month (unless you really enjoy it) otherwise you’ll resent it.
Hopefully these quick tips have set your feet happily on the path to being prepared for the financial rigours of Uni/College. Good luck!