Do you have a high school sophomore with grand ambitions of heading to college in a couple of years? You can encourage him to save (and yourself too) with these tips. It’s never too early, especially knowing that the average college can range from $20,000 to more than $45,000. As a sophomore who’s halfway to graduation, it’s important to take this upcoming summer as a way to make extra cash and sock some away for college.
Apply for scholarships: It’s never too early to start applying. From merit to sport, there are a variety of scholarships you can start applying to, even in sophomore year. You may have to write an essay and fill out some forms, but you can’t win if you don’t try. You may get a few hundred here or a couple thousand there, but it all adds up in the end.
Enter contests: These can be sponsored by your school, colleges, and local organizations. You may have to craft an essay, create a video, or draw something for an art-based scholarship. You can seek out the type of contest you like and see if you win! Sock away any winnings in your college fund.
Work part-time: Now that school’s almost out for summer and you’re legally able to work at most places, you can get a part-time job to save for college. You can even put a bit away for a car and gas. But just be sure to create separate accounts to avoid confusion. Once you build up a good amount, you can open a CD and get better rates. You have to leave it untouched for a set amount of time, such as 24 months, but you typically get higher interest rates than a regular checking account. Bonus about the job: you can put any relevant work experience you get on your resume, plus you can mention it in your college applications to show you can juggle multiple responsibilities.
Sell stuff you don’t use: From old smart phones to outgrown sneakers, sell your stuff online for cash. In many cases, you have to be 18 to sell online, but your parents can help you set up an account or you can use their account.
Go free: Instead of downloading the latest book or movie, check it out from your local library. Put the money you would have spent on that into a jar for college savings. Hanging out with friends doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Look into free events around town such as sports events and concerts.
As you get older, you may start to dabble in stock investments, especially as you head into your college years and beyond. Play it safe with a securities fraud lawyer so you don’t get taken advantage of as a young investor. If you’re the parent and are looking to invest for college, heed the same advice and protect your assets.