College Savings - Piggy Backing off Another College Question

Updated on June 08, 2012
C.M. asks from Freeburg, IL
11 answers

How much do you save each month? Do you aim for a specific dollar amount? % of your paycheck?

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answers from Columbia on

We don't. I used scholarships and student loans (and am still paying them off). The kids can do the same.

Kids tend to do better in college when they're paying the bills. It's the same reason I won't be buying them cars.

ETA: I'd love to know what some of these folks have in their own retirement accounts. How anyone saves $10K a year AND puts money in retirement is beyond me.

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answers from Seattle on


I am still in school and DH just graduated two years ago. We paid for our own with the help of scholarships and loans (DH's are already paid off).

All the financial advisers tell us the same: you only save for your kid's college if you have maxed out your own retirement savings. There are ways to use your IRA to pay for your child's college but you cannot use your kids college fund to pay for your retirement!
There are also additional funds for college like financial aid and scholarships, but there are no scholarships for retiring!

So IF and only IF you have maxed out your retirement contributions, you should also open a college savings account for your kids and contribute whatever you can up to the max tax deductible amount.

If you have not maxed out your retirement contributions do that.

Good luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

All three of my kids have 4 years of tuition and 2 years of dorm already paid (thank you, grandparents--they were a huge help!). We put $100/month in their savings accounts for whatever.

Save what you can. A little bit adds up over a long time! My mom paid what scholarships didn't and I am so grateful! I was very involved on campus (big state university), studied abroad, and graduated with nearly a 4.0. I absolutely do not agree with the statement "they'll do better if they pay for it".

My husband's parents (he's an only child) saved to send him anywhere he wanted to go. He got a full-ride (West Point) and they gave him his college money to invest.

Good for you for planning ahead!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I am just starting college myself, and using our income to do it, and my hubby paid for his own schooling too. If our kids want to go they will have to pay their own way. Honestly all of my friends put themself through school too.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We are different. I am an oddball on this one for this site. We feel it's our obligation to get our daughter out of college debt free. No way will I set her up to graduate college without thousands of $ in debt. That's just not right in my mind. Our daughter is 17 and will be a Senior next year, heading to college in the fall of 2013. College of her choice.

We've planned since I found out I was pregnant 17 yrs ago. Our target number was $10,000 per year miminium by her birthday each year. If markets fell, we ante up the difference to keep it up and going. When we had exceptional years, we added to her fund instead of splurging on a vacation etc Delayed gratification!!

We've done this yearly since I was pregnant. Yes, we've sacrificed great vacations, etc but her college and our retirement come first and foremost above anything else.

We're fortunate because we live below our means ( debt free) and still have an exceptional lifestyle. We are hard driven and we run our company as such.

It's a personal opinion and I know we are in the minority. If more parents valued their child's education and prepared for it there would be a lot less college students graduating full of debt from the get go. That's plain wrong to us. Our daughter has the drive because she has grown up with it and there is no way would I send her off to start her life full of debt from day 1.

Call me wrong but we believe the college and retirement should be funded before you spend money you don't have or your bonus check on frivolous trips and material items.

Just my two cents

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Zip. Nada. Zilch.

I'm still in college. By the time I'm done, kiddo will be starting. I call it the 'Paying for College Perpetually Plan'. :)

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answers from Chicago on

We put in $50/month per child. It's all we can afford for right now without significantly changing our lifestyle. We started each of them off with about $12,000. It probably won't be enough to pay for everything, but maybe they'll get scholarships.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I have pre-paid tuition plans for both of my children that will cover 4 years of tuition and the fees. I pay about $260 a month for both together.

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answers from Chicago on

We save $120 per kid a month. It's no where near enough, but it's an amount I am very comfortable with saving. My mom also adds some a few times a year.

Once my student loans are paid off, all of that money will go into their college accounts. It's not much, another hundred each. All the calculators say we should be putting aside $600 a month per kid.

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answers from Denver on

We have chosen private school for elementary and high school, and that is where we decided tuition money will do the most good. They will be essentially on their own for college, with all the support they need from us emotionally. The education (and environment) we are providing them for these formative years will hopefully pay off in scholarships for them for college. So far, we have 2 straight A students, so keeping our fingers crossed.
My husband and I both handled college ourselves, through scholarships and jobs, and choosing our colleges wisely. We will encourage our kids to do the same, and we will be comfortable knowing that the retirement we are saving for will mean that we won't be a financial burden on them when they are raising their families.

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answers from Columbia on

When our daughter was born, we sat down with a financial planner and figured out how much money (with estimated inflation) it would cost us to send her to the University of Missouri-Columbia assuming she'd get in state tuition. It turned out that we just needed to put away $40 per week for 18 years to make that happen. So we opened up a 529 college savings account and we automatically transfer $40 per week. My dad had also committed to matching that amount each month. We also ask for contributions on holidays from family and friends who want to give her something. Hope that helps!

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