Did you know, the average American plans to spend over $700 on presents? It’s true, and that number is even higher for a standard family of 4. It’s our job to encourage frugal spending habits, so before you make your list and check it twice, here’s our take on Christmas gifting.
Go in with a game plan.
Everything your kid brings to college “must fit in a space slightly larger than a Mini Cooper” according to Harry H. Harrison, Jr., a New York Times best-selling author. With that in mind, your strategy should be finding gifts that are both practical and affordable. Many families follow the rule, “something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.” This means, each child gets a total of 4 gifts, one in each category. The cost of each depends on your budget and how much you’d like to spend. Here’s how it works.
Something they want.
You probably know your kid’s hobbies and interests, but it doesn’t hurt to have them weigh in. Some trendy student gifts include:
- Experiences. Students love going to concerts, comedians and sporting events, but the college budget doesn’t always allow.
It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year! That is, except for your budget – the holidays can drain your wallet faster than you can say “elf on the shelf.” Read on for our money-saving tips on Christmas gifting and decorating.
Determine your holiday budget.
A good rule of thumb is to not spend more than 1.5% of your salary on the holidays. This includes the cost of gifts, decorations, donations, travel and a holiday card if you send one. A holiday budget calculator can help you plan for expenses, just be sure to track your spending too. Since the largest dollar expense of the holidays is presents, it’s ideal to agree to a dollar limit with friends and family. This is your chance to lower the stakes and keep your spending to a minimum. Once your budget is set and you have an idea of what to spend, it’s time to start gifting.
Think DIY for gifts.
Aside from member benefits and shopping the sales, your best bet to save money is making your own gifts. Your friends and family will love a tasteful, personalized gift made by yours truly! Here are some of our favorites:
- Photo candles.
People are more successful when they feel good about themselves – ring true? It does for your kid too. They experience daily struggles like fitting in, balancing their responsibilities and choosing the right career path. They also deal with things that you as a parent never had to deal with – pressure from social media, cyber bullying, and more – it takes a tole. They feel burdened with the need to succeed, and at a young, fragile age, your teenager is nothing if not self-conscious. The best way you can help is by doing what you probably do best: boost your child’s confidence by encouraging them and being their biggest fan.
7 out of 10 students graduating from four-year colleges have student loans to repay. Whether you’ve just graduated, are already in repayment or are taking a break from school, it’s important you stay on top of your loans. This includes keeping your payments affordable, avoiding extra fees and protecting your credit. That’s where we come into play.
The FAFSA is the closest thing to a “golden ticket” in real life. It’s what the federal government uses to determine the federal financial aid a student qualifies for. We’ve put together a helpful guide to walk you through the process.
If you’ve already done your research on student loan consolidation and determined it’s right for you, there’s a few things you can do to make the application process quicker and easy. We’ll walk you through what to expect in an application and what you’ll need to complete it.
Whether this is your first time sending a child to college, or the last of 4, we have some tips that will make your care package one of envy on your child’s hall floor. Check out our suggestions to make sure you’re crowned “Mom of the Year” and have your child running home for the Holidays.
So, you’ve graduated from college. You’ve taken out loans in the process, and now it’s time to pay them back. Fortunately, you have some options. Consolidating can lower your monthly payment and make your loans easier to keep track of, and it’s easy to get started. Here’s what you should consider.
Even the wealthiest families can be “needy” when tuition costs $40,000 per year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, opens the door to grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities and federal student loans. No matter what financial situation you’re in, your student should fill it out each year.
Most students use education loans to help pay for college, and taking out a new loan or two each semester is the norm. By graduation, many new grads have up to 12 different loans to keep track of…each with its own interest rate and payoff date. Consolidating these loans is a way to make your debt more manageable, and offer your budget some breathing room if it needs it.
College visits are more than just finding the best coffee on campus. The school’s culture and student life aren’t accurately portrayed by tour guides and you want your student to find the right fit before they enroll so they aren’t transferring later. We’ve compiled our top tips to help you make the most of your visit.