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For many single moms, trying to set aside money in a savings account for kids to go to college, is just not a viable option,. Trying to save enough money to keep the car in good repair, or making sure all the extracurriculars to help the kids get into a good college are paid for, it’s overwhelming. Are there other ways to help kids with college expenses?
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Both ideas are great. We have 529s for our kids and are constantly encouraging our family to contribute there instead of buying more toys, etc.
Have you looked into a "round up" savings option? Some personal savings accounts offer this service or you could use something like Acorns. But basically, the program "rounds up" your purchases and puts the difference into a separate account...it's like saving your spare change.
Mint is also a great money tracking and savings app. Every time I really dive into my monthly budget I usually find some place that I can reduce current spending and instead put that money in savings.
As the kids get older, you can work together on finding different scholarship options out there. There are so many options out there, it just takes a bit of digging!
Good luck and major props to you for adding college savings to your already long list of "to-do's" as a single mom. You're doing awesome!!
I also think you should set up a 529 account (https://www.fidelity.com/529-plans/what-is-a-529-plan). It's strictly for educational expenses and anyone can add to it. You can have a set amount (no matter how small) automatically put in the 529 every month and you can also have family members contribute for birthdays or good report cards, etc. I know times are tough but even a little bit helps each month and then when it comes time to apply, you can see how much you have saved and try to supplement the rest with scholarships, loans, etc.
If you are barely getting by, it may be quite a challenge to save additionally for college for your kids. I suggest that your teen become part of the equation. By taking a weekend or afterschool job, your kids can begin to save for their own education. By having "skin in the game", they will appreciate their education all the more. Additionally, since you are a single mom who is struggling, your child should qualify for "needs-based" loans, grants, and scholarships. if you can not contribute financially, feel good in knowing that you can still assist by helping your teen to look into different avenues for these opportunities for assistance. Then sit down with your college-bound youngster to help fill out the sometimes cumbersome applications. Your help will be appreciated (and needed). Don't beat yourself up over what you can not control. You are already superwoman by successfully navigating parenting as a single mom!