Saving For College {It’s Never Too Early To Start}

This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about Saving & Investing see Saving and Investing Roundup. This is a guest post written by my dad, Bill, who does this for a living so he really knows what he is talking about!
 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tuition component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 8% per year, on average, from 1979 to 2001. This means that children born today will face college costs that are 3 to 4 times current prices by the time they matriculate.

Parents should expect to pay at least half to two-thirds of their children’s college costs through a combination of savings, current income, and loans. Gift aid from the government, the colleges and universities, and private scholarships accounts for only about a third of total college costs.

Accordingly, it is very important that parents start saving for their children’s education as soon as possible, even as early as the day the child is born. Time is one of your most valuable assets. The sooner you start saving for college, the more time your money will have to grow.

If you start saving early enough, even a modest weekly or monthly investment can grow to a significant college fund by the time the child matriculates. For example, saving $50 a month from birth would yield about $20,000 by the time the child turns 17, assuming a 7% return on investment. Saving $200 a month would yield almost $80,000.

It is less expensive to save for college than to borrow. Either way, you’re setting aside a portion of your income to pay for college. But when you save, the money earns interest, while when you borrow, you’re paying the interest. Paying for college before your child matriculates definitely costs much less than paying for college afterward. Saving $200 a month for ten years at 7% interest would yield $34,818.89. Borrowing the same amount at 6.8% interest with a ten year term would require payments of $400.70 a month. At 8.5% interest the payments increase to $431.70 a month. (If your return on investment is 4% instead of 7%, you’d accumulate $29,548.13. Borrowing this amount at 6.8% interest would entail monthly payments of $340.04; at 8.5% interest the monthly payments would be $366.35. If your return on investment is 10%, you’d accumulate $41,310.40, corresponding to monthly payments of $475.40 at 6.8% and $512.19 at 8.5%.) So if you elect to borrow instead of saving, you will be paying 1.7 to 2.6 times as much per month.

Even if college is just a year or two away, it is never too late to start saving. There are tax benefits to saving in a college savings plan or prepaid tuition plan, and every dollar you save is a dollar less you’ll need to borrow. For additional information visit my website.

Tips To Make Working From Home Work For You

Women's Money Week 2012 Participant

This post is a part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about entrepreneurship and making money , see womensmoneyweek.com.

Working from home sounds like a great idea to many because it is a flexible job where one can be their own boss but it does require a lot of time, effort and self-discipline. I spend about 60-80 hours a week working from home between my business, my blog, and my part-time job, along with being a mom to two little boys which is my most important job of all. I wanted to share 6 tips on how I {try} to make it work in hopes that it will help some of you who are considering working from home.

Keep a to-do list and a calendar: Whether kept electronically or written down on paper and pen, keeping yourself scheduled and your tasks written down is probably the biggest thing that you can do to keep yourself sane and get anything accomplished. There are so many methods on how to keep a calendar and to-do list that you really just have to test different ones out and figure out what works for you. Personally, I like to use two different items. I have my planner where I keep all of my meetings, appointments, and events and also keep track of all my children’s school activities, therapies, and playdates. I then have a separate to-do notebook where I have one sheet for every two days to keep track of what needs to be done when. This is where I list phone calls I need to make, posts I need to write, emails I need to send, and the like.

Schedule your “work” time: Along the lines of the first tip, it’s important to schedule yourself and then stick to your schedule {as best you can with children and other last minute things that come up}. When you work from home it’s so easy to accept invitations from friends or lengthy phone calls but if you are scheduled to work you need to tell that person that you are working and find another time to go out to lunch or call your friend to chit-chat for an hour. When I make my schedule I don’t do it down to the minute, but instead have hour chunks of time that I focus on tasks. My suggestion is to try and switch tasks frequently so you are more productive and attentive to the task you are working on.

Create a space for working: When working from home it’s important to have a space dedicated to business. It could be a room, a small portion of a room, or even a desk in the closet. Whatever you can find to call your “office”. I have an upstairs loft that I work in most of the time but when my family is upstairs I will sometimes sneak down to the TV room to relax on the couch while I work. Having a space for working will help you keep organized and focused on your work and will keep you from getting sidetracked on the laundry, the dirty dishes, and the rest of the household chores.

Work when you can, where you can: I’d love to work Monday through Friday during the day and relax with my family at night and on the weekends but it’s just not possible during this time of my life. My schedule varies weekly and I work many weekends. I take advantage of naptime, bedtime, and Sinisa’s days off to work. I get work done in the car while I’m sitting in the preschool pickup line, at the pool while my son is having water therapy, and while my kids are eating lunch. You just have to be creative with your time and squeeze in emails and work whenever you can.

Realize you can’t do it all: There may come a time when you can’t do everything yourself and you may need to ask for help or let something go. It’s okay. You just have to decide what is important to you and what’s not as important and what you need to do as opposed to what you can pass on to someone else. For me, my family and friends and my blog/job are the most important and I decided that my “domestic” duties weren’t as important. Many of the household jobs could be done by someone else unlike my job as mother and blogger/business owner. I realize I can’t be the perfect homemaker and that’s okay with me. Sinisa likes to cook so most of the time he is the one who makes dinner. You can also hire people to help with the aspects of business you don’t know much about or don’t have time to do. Living Your Moment, a business I co-own, was created to help support mom business owners. We grow Twitter and Facebook accounts, run blog review campaigns, and provide many other services for business owners so they can focus on running their businesses.

Make time for yourself and your family: Amidst all the working, don’t forget to take care of yourself and spend time with your family. Do something for yourself every day whether it’s taking time to read a book, pamper yourself, or exercise. If you aren’t well, your business will suffer. Making time for your family is also important. Carve out time to spend with them each day. Cuddle with your little ones on the couch while watching a movie, play a game, or spend time in the kitchen making dinner together.

I hope I have given you some ideas on how to make working from home work for you. If you work from home and have other ideas of what works for you I would love for you to leave a comment below.

Women’s Money Week Intro & $100 In Gift Card Giveaways

Women's Money Week 2012 Participant

I’m excited to be participating in Women’s Money Week 2012, a week were over 100 women bloggers will come together to share their knowledge on financial topics that affect women. This week is about encouraging women to speak up about money, take control of their finances, and reshape their financial futures. Women’s Money Week is a first annual event running from March 5th-11th, 2012 — coinciding with International Women’s Day.

Here are the topics that will be covered each day:

  • Monday:  Entrepreneurship / Making Money
  • Tuesday:  Relationships & Money
  • Wednesday:  Saving & Investing
  • Thursday:  Budgeting
  • Friday:  Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement
  • Saturday:  Debt
  • Sunday:  Goals / Taking Action

*Find more information about Women’s Money Week and see all the blogs participating here.*

Giveaway Information:

To kick off Women’s Money Week they’re giving away $25 Amazon gift cards to 4 lucky commenters who comment on Monday’s posts over on the Women’s Money Week website. To be entered to win just leave a relevant comment on any (or all) of the posts that appear in the category  Entrepreneurship and Making Money. Find more details here.

Guest Post: Financial Planning For College

The following is a guest post written by my father. This is not a compensated post but I am letting him share here because he is so passionate about sharing this message with everyone. To find out more about this, or any other insurance product, you can call or email him (contact information below). It’s free to find out more information and get your questions answered and he’s really knowledgeable- and I’m not just saying that because he’s my dad! :)

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IT’S IMPORTANT TO SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO COLLEGE.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE WEALTHY IN ORDER TO DO IT!

YOU JUST NEED A PLAN.

FREEDOMFLEX ® is the plan that can make this a reality.

Our college planning services were designed for families such as yours, who desire a college education for their children. When coupled with Freedomflex, it provides death protection on the lives of the parent(s) in the event of premature death, while providing a tax deferred environment in which cash values accumulate. These cash values can be used as an emergency source of funds, to help repay college loans, or to help supplement your retirement benefits. The lender is approved under the Title IV provisions of the Higher Education Act, and has loaned millions of dollars to families for educational expenses. Members and their students have access to college/career profiles, scholarship searches, financial aid form reviews, counseling and advice on college related matters, and many other services. Overall, these services provide you with a systematic method of preparing for your children’s education.

FREEDOMFLEX® offers an exceptionally valuable service. The education services coupled with, the life insurance policy provides the following:

A cash accumulation account with competitive guaranteed and current interest rates with no minimums and no surrender charges. This account will allow you to shelter certain assets to qualify for the maximum amount in government grants and subsidized orunsubsidized loans. This account also provides a way to accumulate transition money for students to use after graduation for such things as clothing for job interviews or deposits for living expenses when they are on their own.

An option to redirect your non-insurance premium to an alternative cash accumulation vehicle that can experience a higher growth rate.

A death benefit to pay for college, or to pay off student loans used for college expenses, or to supplement family income in order to allow the student to stay in college if the parent dies.

A disability benefit to self complete the plan for both life insurance and savings features.

The plan provides continuous service long after high school graduation, throughout the entire college experience. In addition, the lender is approved under the Title IV provisions of theHigher Education Act and makes a commitment to you to lend you all the money you need to complete your student financial aid requirements. In the changing environment of today’s student financial aid arena, it is a valuable thing, knowing that your loans will be there. You have flexibility in your service, flexibility in your options, and the flexibility to determine what is best for you, with your plan.

***

For additional information, or to set up a FreedomFlex® plan with access to the college planning services, please contact Bill toll free at: 866-763-2196 or email: wpeiffer@ismamerica.com.

Insure that the money for college is there when it’s time, even if you aren’t…

Create a Child’s Wardrobe on a Budget

I am very excited to announce that today is my first time guest posting on a blog. You can find me sharing my tips on how to find cheap clothes for your children at the website ‘Saving Cents With Sense’ here. Thank you Melissa for giving me the opportunity to meet your readers :)

Create a Child’s Wardrobe on a Budget

My main goals for 2010

I am very excited to start this new year. I’m looking forward to my best year ever! (ok, I keep hearing that from everyone but it’s true!) I’m a very goal-oriented person so I always keep a goal list that I update a few times a year. Kind of like my bucket list , I guess. Since I have hundreds of goals on that list I decided to focus on a select number of them in 2010.

Goal #1- Read the whole Bible in 90 days. To find out more about this program you can go here or here. This challenge is listed first because it starts today. I am very excited to do this but am also nervous because it is a big task. I’ve never read the Bible all the way through, let alone in 90 days. I think it is an achievable goal this year because of two main things: 1) I’m doing it with other moms who will hold me accountable and 2) it’s only about 12 pages a day! Wow. Reading the Bible had always seemed like such a huge task and I would have guessed it would take 30-40 pages a day to read it in just 90 days, but 12? That’s easy. Ok, well maybe not easy, but manageable with two kids and a career. (Update: My sister just read the first day’s reading as I was typing this post and it took her less than 20 minutes…)

Goal #2- Save half of our income. This will probably be the hardest goal that I have set for myself. I have always been a “shopaholic” who can’t resist a good “deal” (check out my dad’s blog post about me) but I have decided that is going to change this year. Part of why we moved in with my dad was to save for a house and in the past six months we have only saved about $500. In my defense we did have to fix our two cars, but in reality we had an extra income these past few months so those repairs should have come from that. I am still working on a budget and hoping there is some spending money but if not I will just have to learn to live with less.

Goal #3- Keep my house “company ready” (though really it needs to get to that point before I can keep it there). It doesn’t have to be spotless but it would be nice to know that if someone happened to stop by my home I wouldn’t be embarrassed to let them in the door. And it would be even better if they could look in my closets, cupboards, etc and they would be organized, too. The first step towards this goal is to finish unpacking from our August move. Our two car garage is so filled with boxes that only one car can barely fit in. Eventually I would like to have a weekly cleaning list, too.

Goal #4- Work on my relationships. With Sinisa I would like to make couple time a priority since it’s rare we are both home without the boys being awake. With my mom I would like to work on communication. With my friends I would like to focus on seeing them once a week whether it’s at playdates or mom’s nights.

Goal #5- Become a “better” blogger. This includes blogging more often than I have in the past (I am aiming for 3-5 times a week), building relationships with other bloggers, reading and commenting on other blogs, and looking into how I can improve the look of my blog.

Goal #6- Do something for myself daily. This “something” could be as little as taking a nice, hot relaxing shower to getting a pedicure to scrapbooking. Just a daily thing to remind myself that I am special :)

What are your goals for 2010?

July 29, 2008

After my family birthday party yesterday my little sister stayed over night and then spent the day with me today and leaves tomorrow morning. I am so happy that I’m getting to spend time with her one on one because we don’t get a chance to do this often. I just wish that I could have taken her somewhere more exciting than the downtown of a suburb. It was fun. We walked around and ate at Coldstone Creamery (the apple pie ice cream is so good there). Having little money, a one and a half month old and a 12 year old really limited the choices of where we could go. Hopefully in the next couple of years my financial situation will improve and I will be able to find places to go and things to do that are a little more fun. That is if I go back to work. S doesn’t want me to return to work because he wants me to be a stay at home mom. As previously mentioned I had wanted to be a stay at home mom before so this isn’t just a man demonstrating a 1950’s mentality on a woman’s role. I can’t imagine getting out to do much of anything if I stay home. I kind of like the idea of staying home and taking care of my son and sitting online while he is sleeping but another part of me tells me I need adult interaction and places to go and these things will be harder to find if I don’t return to work. I have to decide soon because my maternity leave is almost over. I guess I have been putting it off because it is a hard decision to make. For now I will move away from this topic because it’s late and it puts too many thoughts in my head that I know I will think about when I’m trying to fall asleep.