When you have children, you have to face the fact that they are not born Einsteins. They will need to be educated, both in academics and in life. Hopefully, you will teach them by example to be good people, and help out the overworked school systems in the academics area as well. But someday, they will need to go to college. My wife and I did not have the benefit of growing up as trust fund babies, so when we went to school, we both struggled and paid for it ourselves. Well, I am still paying for it, to be honest. Let’s think about how we can get a head start on paying for our children’s college educations. 1.     DON’T WAIT!: No matter how old your child is right now, start immediately to save college money, if you have not already. A four year education will run tens of thousands of dollars, and socking that away a little at a time over 18 years is better than being hit with it all at once when it is time for enrollment. Open an interest bearing account and put in as much as you can budget, beginning right now.

2.     Don’t Think About How Much It Will Cost: If you start trying to calculate how much tuition will be 20 years from now, you will quite likely become discouraged and give up. Just start depositing as much as you can afford as often as possible, in an interest bearing account, and let the money grow. Even if you are not able to send your kids to university with everything paid for in advance, you will still have given them a sizable chunk of money that will help out a lot. Do what you can now and figure out the rest when the time comes.

3.     Teach Your Child to Get Good Grades: By doing well in school now, your child will have a better chance of getting grants and scholarships that are based on academics. Depending on their performance in school now, they will be more likely to receive outside help paying for college later, and that help can amount to more than their college fund.

4.     Keep the Account in Your Name: When your child applies for financial aide for college, they will be awarded such assistance based on their needs. If you have built up a college fund of many thousands of dollars, and it has your kid’s name on it, their financial need will be assessed as much lower than if the account is still in your name.

These are just a few ideas to get you started saving for your child’s college education. Additionally, you can research different types of accounts that give you tax breaks for saving towards higher education. The most important thing is don’t wait till your child is packing up to go away to college before you start doing something. Everything you do now to save money and reduce future college costs will help out.