4 Ways to Save with a Plan and Make College Affordable (It’s Never Too Late to Start!)

By Unigo

If college is in your cards – either in the future or, um, you’re already there – it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to pay for your next semester.

Each year, America Saves Week offers a shiny new chance to get serious about saving for your goals. In honor of the occasion, here are four ways to jumpstart your short-term savings plan and take some of the sting out of paying for school:

1. Apps That Make Saving Pain-free.

If you haven’t jumped on the micro investing bandwagon yet, consider doing so now. Apps like Acorns and Stash make it easy to invest tiny amounts of money using your smartphone.

For example, Acorns rounds up your purchases and invests the extra change for you. You’ll hardly notice that a $4.50 coffee shop purchase has been rounded up to $5.00, but over time, those tiny amounts just might grow into enough to buy your textbooks for a semester!

2. Cash-Back Plans.

Programs like Payce help students, as well as their parents and family members, earn cash back on purchases at certain retailers. Simply by purchasing the things you need, you could be earning college savings. And by getting everyone in your household on board, you could see those college dollars start to add up quickly.

3. Section 529 Plans.

Section 529 Plans. While the sooner you open a 529 plan for college, the better, it’s actually not too late to start a 529 even if college is rapidly approaching. A 529 savings plan may allow you to receive tax deductions on your college savings, potentially allowing you to increase the amount you can afford to stash away. And, friends and relatives can make gifts to your account, helping your savings grow. InviteEducation.com offers students and families access to a College Planning Center to learn more about 529 plans and input financial information to project your future savings. This tool makes it easy to determine if you are financially on track and estimates how much more you need to save to pay for college.

4. Saving on Your Student Loans.

Saving with a plan is not always just about squirrelling away whatever extra cash you have today. It can also mean making a choice now that will help you save money tomorrow…such as after graduation, when your first student loan payment is due!

With Ascent Tuition for example you can customize your loan and choose one that’s perfect for you. Choose from affordable fixed or variable rates and pick the repayment term that works best for you. You can choose to start payments up to six months after leaving school, but there’s no penalty for early repayment.  Plus, you might qualify for a discount by setting up automatic payments. And, you might even be eligible to start building credit in your own name: a positive step toward future financial independence!

So, Start Planning (and Saving)!

Yes, it can be intimidating to contemplate tuition costs, especially if you have little or no time to save for college. But having a plan and sticking to it can help alleviate the anxiety of not knowing where your college cash is coming from.

About America Saves

America Saves, seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. The research-based campaign uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to change behavior. Non‐profit, government, and corporate groups participate in America Saves nationally and through local, regional, and statewide campaigns around the country. America Saves encourages individuals and families to take the America Saves pledge and organizations to promote savings year-round and during America Saves Week. Overall management for the campaign is provided by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America (CFA). CFA is comprised of over 270 consumer education, advocacy, and cooperative organizations dedicated to advancing the consumer interest. Learn more at www.AmericaSavesWeek.org

About Ascent Student Loans

Education is about gaining knowledge and achieving dreams. It shouldn’t be about student loan debt. The Ascent Program is operated by Goal Structured Solutions, Inc. and engineered to assist schools and help college students achieve their educational goals without overburdening them and their families with debt. Loans are made by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC, for the Ascent Program. Ascent gives students the opportunity to improve their financial literacy, build a credit history and manage their financial obligations to achieve success. Ascent’s broader credit tiers may provide more opportunity for approvals than other private student loan lender products. Ascent offers customized loan products to meet the diverse needs of schools and their students. Learn more at www.AscentStudentLoans.com

About Payce

Payce helps you achieve your financial goals, whatever they may be. With Payce, you can get a head start on your student loans when you earn an average of 5 percent cash back by shopping through the online mall. Or link the credit and debit cards you already have to unlock rewards in stores and at restaurants. Thousands of stores you already know and love like Wal-Mart, Target, Macy's, and Kohl's. No fees. No hassles. Whatever you want to accomplish, Payce can help you get there.  Learn more at www.PaycePays.com.

About Invite Education

Invite Education demystifies the process of planning and paying for college by providing a comprehensive suite of information, tools and services for families from birth to 12th grade. Offering an online, private-labelled College Planning Center, along with dynamic calculators and search engines, we partner with organizations to provide a valuable college planning experience to their employees and customers that leads to post-secondary success.  Learn more at www.InviteEducation.com