College freshman Emma Fancher grew up in a household with a single mom and a sister with special needs, so she always knew it was going to be up to her to pay for her own college education and any loans.
Many students graduate from college with student loans that look more like mortgage payments, with no idea how to even start paying them off. Paying off those loans in a timely manner is important for helping you get a good credit rating for a future car or home, plus who really wants to go into the real world with a ton of debt?
Fancher spoke to Womensforum about saving for college and handling any debt along the way.
Growing up, Fancher says, "My mom always told me that it was up to me if I wanted something - it was up to me to pay for it." For example, she began paying for her own car insurance with a part time job as soon as she got her own car.
Fancher says during high school she had a part-time job, and while she could see that a huge chunk of money was being taken out of her paycheck, she really had no idea where it was going until she did the H&R Block Budget challenge, which also taught her how to budget and avoid any crushing student loans post-school. This includes things like cellphone bills and health payments that you might not think about right off the bat. The challenge also paid off for her as she won a $20,000 scholarship, which ensures she can go through her first four years of college and come out debt free!
Fancher recommends that parents should start a smart money mindset early with their kids by having them save and pay for the things they want. Doing chores and saving an allowance are a great way to start instilling the value of money into kids.
When your kids get a little older, many pre-teens and teens take on a part=time job for some extra spending money and to start budgeting for student loans and a savings account now. A little budgeting and planning ahead now will make a world of difference when your teens are out of school.