Let’s face it; every parent wants their kids to have a better life than they had. One of the most important ways to help ensure that happens is to make sure your kids attend college. But college isn’t cheap, neither for the students nor their parents. Even those brainiacs who manage to land full-ride scholarships could tell you that the off-campus expenses add up fast. Here are a few ways you can help your kid bear the expenses of college.
1. Instill a Lasting Monetary Values System
Teach them the value of money and hard work long before university applications are being filled out. The absolute best way for any young person to learn to value money is to earn it themselves. Most jobs for young people don’t pay extraordinarily well, so each dollar earned is hard won. They’ll be far less likely to spend frivolously on wasteful things if their own sweat went into earning their spending cash.
2. Reward Good Behavior and Effort
Some people view an allowance as something to give to very young children, but that’s not the only way to handle these things. College is a busy, stressful time. Not every kid has time to work his or her way through with a full time job in addition to classes. A small allowance can help your student get out to have a little fun when cash from his or her summer job runs thin.
3. Give Children an Occasional Surprise Financial Boost
If your student has been working since early on in high school, learned the value of money, and is well on the road to being masters of his or her own checkbook, give a financial boost once or twice a year. Send money with the Reach card, which allows you to preset the spending limits. Unlike a regular credit card, you need not worry about your kid going out and spending money in an uncharacteristically un-thrifty fashion.
4. Show Children How Money Has Evolved with Inflation Over Time
The penny is nearing extinction daily. Some stores already have opted to “ban the penny.” That’s not because pennies are too small to be worthwhile, but because it actually costs more to create a penny than a penny is now worth. Inflation is to blame for this. Teach your kids to value dollars, and don’t worry too much about teaching lessons based on coinage. With inflation continuing from today’s levels, even nickels may well be banished in coming decades!
By teaching your kids to handle money with the sincerity of a banker, they will develop a respect for the green stuff. That doesn’t mean they can’t have fun along the way, but it does mean you will have helped to create financially responsible young adults. And those financial lessons will last a lifetime, even when some things they learn in college are long forgotten. After all, do you remember what you learned in Philosophy 204?