How Will We Pay For College Next Fall?!

How Will We Pay For College Next Fall?!

Can You Afford to Pay for College?

Have you saved enough to pay for college? If yes, I applaud you. If not, maybe you’re just like me, hoping to find scholarships to help offset the cost and future debt for your kiddo. Paying for college is no small feat. Read on to find out where you can find money!

Need money to help pay for college?

I hear many of stories of how people pay for 100% of college with grants and scholarships. I am in the midst of trying to figure out this process with my sons who are currently in college.

Paying for college is ridiculously expensive. For the amount it costs today, I could have gone to college 5 times over. It really isn’t fair to our kids but, unfortunately, it is the reality.

Our Story

So, here’s our story. My husband and I have some money saved to pay for college, but we are hoping we have enough for all three of our boys. We pay for tuition, and the boys are responsible for the rest. (We spent years paying off my husbands schooling, so this limited the number of years that we have had to save for the boys’ college.)

Our oldest two both had part-time jobs. Our middle sone went to community college, and his older brother graduated from a nearby small private college.

We knew that we had to help them try to look for scholarships or we would burn through our savings pretty quickly. We started digging around the internet. Our middle son was an average student, so merit aid would not be an option. My guess is that this is the case for many American families.

Not everyone is cut out for AP classes in high school, and not all kids are skilled at taking standardized tests. So, the game was on, and I’m here to tell you what I’ve discovered. Hopefully, this will help you and your child! 


First, let me say that finding scholarships is HARD WORK. It’s tedious, so be ready and be patient. There are a lot of scams out there, but there are also a lot of people trying to help by telling their stories of how they’ve found money. 

There are some common threads among “the experts”. Since paying for college is such a huge burden, I’m sharing what I’ve learned here. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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How will we pay for college?


There’s a lot of information out there. Some good and some not so good. The more organized you and your child can be and work TOGETHER– the more success you will have.

I think this is really important. You and your child need to work as a team because the responsibility can’t be on them entirely. They are busy with school. Besides, we are smarter than they are, right? Ha!

I do think our kids need to have some “skin” in the game and understand how this all works. So, have that money conversation! Here’s my blog post about how that has worked for us so far.


How to get organized? You need a tracker of course! Simple, but useful. Below is what I am using right now to track the scholarships I find for my boys for which they qualify.

I’m sure by now that you are probably pretty organized after surviving elementary and middle school. But, I would suggest a separate binder/notebook or folder to keep your scholarship information.

Check out my parent toolkit for staying organized all through high school! All of this will help your teen be organized when applying for scholarships, filling out applications, etc. It all helps pay for college!

My friend Monica has put together an amazing scholarship tracker that keeps everything organized. Go to the bottom of the page after you click on the link, and grab one!


You may have heard – the best place to start is LOCAL. Have your student visit their guidance office for local scholarships. Check with your employer, too. If your employer doesn’t have a scholarship, ask if they could create one!

Also, research your child’s current or future college. Check their financial aid website. Most likely they have scholarships ready for you to apply for now and have other resources/suggestions. My son applied for one at his community college last fall. He didn’t receive anything, but you never know until you try!

Here is a post where I break down how we used scholarships, as well as other strategies, to graduate our oldest from college debt-free, and his younger brother out of community college and other trade school hours debt-free as well!

Here are some other places to look:
Chamber of Commerce
Library- they have scholarship books to check out
Local businesses- Call your favorite business and ask or visit their website
Financial Institutions
Local Community groups or clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, church)
Alumni Associations
Educational Organizations
Civic Organizations

Here is a great place to find scholarships for your student🙂

Look in your library for scholarships to pay for college.


How 2 Win Scholarships
Monica Matthews is a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s a mom who worked with her son to earn enough scholarships to attend college for free. She has parent, as well as student guides which are extremely useful and worth the $27.00. I’ve signed up for her newsletters and she’ll let you know when to apply for scholarships. She always has up to date information on her blog.   Here is the link to her scholarship tracker which we use and love! 

The Scholarship System– Jocelyn Pearson. She has a free webinar you can register for here. She paid for 100% of her college expenses through scholarships. Jocelyn has definitely done her homework and has created a 2018-2019 Scholarship Guide. I liked her webinar. Very honest and tells it like it is. I took her course, and it has been really helpful over the years since my oldest son started college. 

JLV Counseling– Jessica has 10 years experience as an admissions officer. Her website has information on scholarships, college essays, test prep and has a newsletter you can subscribe to. I like how her site is easy to navigate.

“Scholly was created by Christopher Gray who won $1.3 million in scholarships through hard work, grit and determination. Realizing how broken and time consuming this process was, he and his team created Scholly to make things a lot easier for you.

Whether you prefer the mobile or web app, Scholly helps you fill out 8 simple parameters, and then our comprehensive and constantly curated scholarship database delivers a verified and personalized list of scholarships. Our platform also gives you access to management tools and scholarship essay resources to help you manage deadlines, track progress and win the money you deserve.” There is a monthly fee.

Scholarship Owl
“Scholarship Owls is an innovative platform designed to dramatically speed up your scholarship application time. All you have to do is fill out one application, and they will do the rest. They will match you with the award opportunities that best match your personality, grades, lifestyle, and more. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, they will take the information from your initial application and put it into the appropriate places on the scholarships of your choice.”

TUN stands for The University Network. It is a fairly new website. What I like about their scholarship tool is that you can search by GPA, scholarships to apply to by month, state, student interest and what year your student is in school. They also have information on student jobs, a textbook save engine, career advice etc.


College Board Scholarship Search
“Use this tool to find scholarships, other financial aid, and internships from more than 2,200 programs, totaling nearly $6 billion. Scholarship information is based on the College Board’s Annual Survey of Financial Aid Programs. Not only does it help you search for scholarships, but also provides loan information, calculators, and information for high school students and the college application process.” 

FinAid Scholarship Search
“FinAid was created by Mark Kantrowitz, a noted financial aid and college planning author. Mark was also publisher of FastWeb, the largest and most popular free scholarship matching service. Previously, he was a research scientist at Just Research, the US software laboratory for Justsystem Corporation of Japan. Mark has earned the praise of numerous college administrators, journalists and students and families for his dedicated work on the FinAid site; also, not surprisingly, he managed to fund his own schooling without spending a single cent of his parents’ money.”
“U.S. Department of Labor Search more than 7,500 scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other financial aid award opportunities. You can: 
Look through the whole list of scholarships arranged in order of closest deadline, you can narrow your list with “Search by keyword.” or enter a keyword about the type of award you’re looking for and use the filters to see only awards for certain award types, locations, level of study, and more.”

Books to Read

I highly recommend, as do “experts”, the Ultimate Scholarship Book 2023. I am going through this now and found quite a few in about 20 minutes. What I like about this book is that it is broken down by state, interest and there’s a huge section of just “general”.

I flagged them with post-it notes and added to our scholarship tracker. I write down the name of the scholarship, when they are due, and the amount my sons could earn. Yes, this is a lot of work, but free money works for me!

Have you read my book? Here is the blog post I wrote to go along with it. It includes lots of freebies to print out and use with your teen! There are things that your teen can do to help pay for college, or at least make it easier to get money via scholarships etc…


If you managed to read all of this, you can see that working with your teen and/or college student is all about teamwork. Come up with a schedule of when you both can work on finding scholarships, applying and completing applications. In the beginning, it feels awkward, but once you go through the process a couple of times, it becomes “old hat” and exciting to wait for the results.

So, let me know how it goes! Comment below. I’d love to hear your success stories and of course, please let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!

Every little bit helps when you are trying to pay for college! I will keep you posted on how my boys and I do with our own search.


It is recommended that you get a power of attorney for the state that your teen goes to college in, as well as the state of permanent residence. Here is more info about each state’s requirements.

Grab both the health and financial power of attorney legal documents. We used them and printed these out for our two oldest boys while they were in college. It took less than 15 minutes to fill in the blanks, and print out!

I have heard horror stories about parents not being able to make medical decisions for their kids because this was not in place, so please do this for your peace of mind. *The cost of these forms is so much less than going to an attorney, which I checked into before doing this. And, talk about EASY!

Related posts: 

27 Ways to Prepare for College

Our 2 1/2 Rules for Raising Teens

5 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Teen

7 Things to Know If You Love a Teenager

6 Books You Should Read If You Are Parenting Teens!

Looking for a Gift Guide for Different Occasions With Your Teen?

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

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Best Halloween Decor For A Dorm Room: 9 Spooky Ideas!

Best Halloween Decor For A Dorm Room: 9 Spooky Ideas!

Easy and inexpensive Halloween decor for a dorm room

Halloween is such a fun holiday! A great way to get involved at college is to encourage your teen to participate in a decorating contest for their dorm room or apartment! Snacks will earn them extra credit… Here is some great Halloween decor for a dorm room or an apartment. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Start with storage for your holiday decorations

Be sure to grab a flat storage container to put the decor in under a bunk or regular bed. If you only purchase small and flat things, the need for storage is minimal. The set pictured below would be great. One for fall decor, and one for spring.

If your teen drives to school, they can bring one home over holiday break and exchange it out. (This set was also one of the cheapest options, these are more expensive than I thought!)

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A great way to get involved at college is to encourage your teen to participate in a decorating contest for their dorm room or apartment! Snacks will earn them extra credit… Here are some great Halloween decor for a dorm room or an apartment.

Halloween Decor For Your Dorm (and some fall ideas as well)

Begin with a fall tree. I would suggest a fall tree because that will take your teen up to Thanksgiving. This will easily fit on a small table or shelf to be out of the way. However, here are some small Halloween trees if you want to be specific. Does your teen already have a plant in their room? These eyeball plant markers are a riot -and they just stick into the soil, so they will take up no new space!

A cute Halloween doormat just inside the door will set a fun tone as well.

Does your teen have a light up box? This will be great for all holidays!

Some spooky Halloween lights to string around the room wil be a great addition. Here are some plain orange lights for a more general fall theme. This group of scary critters hang from the ceiling with a bit of tape and take up no floor space!

Wall decals are fun, and take up NO space! Here are some creepy spiders.? And, here is some spider webbing to stretch out in different corners. Both of these are cheap decorations, take up little to no space, and can be thrown away after the holiday! And, here are some spooky window cling ons.

Grab a Halloween mug for your teen and their roomie!

Get a set of pillar candles. Then, order decals for each holiday to decorate the sides- this set has 6 holidays. This is super cheap and easy!

Get some pillow covers. These take up little room, and your teen can switch them up each holiday.???❤️??

If your teen gets a grapevine wreath, then it can be changed out with a little holiday ribbon a few little decorations for each season. This set of four colors could get them through the year!

Other ideas for Halloween fun!

If your teen is looking to just decorate their door, here are some really great ideas!

Here are some great Halloween care package ideas.?

Just for fun, here is a Classic Horror Movie Countdown, which is an advent calendar for Halloween. And, here is a Halloween Count Down Calendar with cards. This is small and perfect for a dorm room. Here is a Funko 13 Day Spooky Halloween Countdown with 13 Pocket Pop! sized vinyl figures from your favorite Horror franchises

It’s always fun to have a t-shirt or sweatshirt for the season.

This would have to be done outside somewhere, but here are fun ideas with smokebombs for spooky photo shoot.

Your teen could host a movie night… Here is a post with 15 Halloween movies that are not super scary.

Does their dorm have a kitchen?  They can grab some slice and bake cookies, cookie cutters, and some seasonal decorating sprinkles etc, and have fun! There are also prebaked cookies that you can order from Amazon or the local grocery will do this for you as well.

They may need Halloween face masks and fall/Thanksgiving face masks

Here is a post for a dorm room that may be feeling sort of crowded -ideas for more storage in a small dorm room.

I hope this post gives you a lot of easy, and mostly inexpensive ideas for Halloween decor for a dorm room or apartment!

Related posts

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

Best Movies for Teens for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas

FAFSA -What You Need To Know

Timely Tips for Parents in October

Advent Calendars for the Holidays -order now to be there before December 1

Tips for Shopping on Amazon

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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A great way to get involved at college is to encourage your teen to participate in a decorating contest for their dorm room or apartment! Snacks will earn them extra credit… Here are some great Halloween decor for a dorm room or an apartment.


Smart Parents In September :  10 Timely Tips

Smart Parents In September : 10 Timely Tips

Here are some things I’m learning and loving in the month of September. Here are a few things that I am learning and loving in my life right now. This includes recipes, books, movies and gadgets, etc. Here are some ideas for smart parents in September.

Let me know what you think! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.


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Smart parents in September

Smart Parents In September Are Learning:

Angel Shots– have you heard of these? A bar owner has figured out a way to help women who need it while they are there in the bar. If a date has gone bad or a woman feels threatened or whatever… There’s a sign up in the women’s bathroom telling what to order for each particular situation. I hope that this catches on everywhere!

I just read about this amazing plant! It produces “one of the world’s great natural insecticides, that as well as being totally harmless to plants, humans, and animals, supports the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of rural Kenyans who supply much of the world’s pyrethrum, the principle chemical in the flower.” Read more here!

Have you read the post about the Best Books to Teach Your Kids About Social Justice? These are books range from picture books all the way to books for adults.

Do you have a pet that pees in your house? Ugggh! But, I just learned about this awesome product that my girlfriend swears by!! I ordered a bottle, and it is awesome! With our puppy, this has been a lifesaver! Grab it here!

Smart Parents In September Are Loving:

Books That I Have Recently Read


**A post about 7 awesome books for parenting teens are is here!

5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

This book has made the biggest difference in my life over this summer. I read it back in June, and I have used the countdown ever since! It is really the simplest concept, and I’m so glad that I read it. Sometimes you just don’t want to get out of bed, or clean a certain mess, or even go to the grocery store-I don’t mind the shopping, but hate the putting away after. Anyone else have this problem?

Read this book, you will get so much done! There is a journal that goes along with it, that I really want to order!


The Mother-in-Law by Hepworth

This one was full of twists and turns. Not everyone turns out to be who you thought!

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

A Place For Us by Mirza

This book made me laugh and cry. We are all alike in so many ways, no matter our culture, religion or family background…

As an Indian wedding gathers a family back together, parents Rafiq and Layla must reckon with the choices their children have made. There is Hadia: their headstrong, eldest daughter, whose marriage is a match of love and not tradition. Huda, the middle child, determined to follow in her sister’s footsteps. And lastly, their estranged son, Amar, who returns to the family fold for the first time in three years to take his place as brother of the bride. What secrets and betrayals have caused this close-knit family to fracture? Can Amar find his way back to the people who know and love him best?

A Place for Us takes us back to the beginning of this family’s life: from the bonds that bring them together, to the differences that pull them apart. All the joy and struggle of family life is here, from Rafiq and Layla’s own arrival in America from India, to the years in which their children—each in their own way—tread between two cultures, seeking to find their place in the world, as well as a path home.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Harmel

I don’t love the blurb below because the book is so much more than a WW2 story… I loved this book!

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror.

Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.


Lenox Hill

We all love this show! This is another docu-series, which we have enjoyed over this past summer. The show follows four doctors throughout their days in their jobs. The two men are neurosurgeons, and the two women are and ER doc and a fourth year resident specializing in OB-GYN.

All four of these doctors are such good people. As the show progresses, you get to know each of the doctors and their staff, and even a few of their patients that are repeat visitors. There is very little gore, you never see babies being born, just the babies. You do see a little bit of some brains, but they are all so passionate about what they are seeing, that it is interesting. If you do get a little squeamish, just know that each of these few scenes only last about a minute at the most. Here is a link to the series trailer


Darkest Hour

This movie is so interesting. Winston Churchill was such a force of nature. He affected so much of our history. This movie brings it all to life, and you really get to know him as a man. If you live in central Missouri, don’t miss out on the amazing museum in Fulton! It’s on the campus of Westminster College. Churchill once spoke there-he gave his famous Iron Curtain speech, and the museum is fabulous! There’s even part of the Berlin Wall on display as well.


Learner Driver Magnet for car (3 Pack)

These are great for when you have a learning driver in your house. The 3-pack is great, one for each of your cars and maybe grandma’s car, too!


Do you have a pet that pees in your house? Ugggh! But, I just learned about this awesome product that my girlfriend swears by!! I ordered a bottle, and it is awesome! With our puppy, this has been a lifesaver! Grab it here!


Sea Moss: Ever since visiting Ireland, and reading about the health benefits of sea moss, I wanted to share these gummies. It is often called Irish sea moss, but can be harvested a few other places.

Scholarships for September:

Beldon Scholarship

Award: Two winners at $1000

Deadline: September 1, annually


  • Be seeking a degree in business, management, communications, marketing or related field.
  • Have a minimum 3.5 GPA
  • Include full name, .edu email address, and phone number in the essay document.

How to Apply:

  • Submit a 1,500-2,000 word essay entitled “BELDON® Scholarship.”


May Firm Scholarship

Award: $1000

Deadline: September 15 (also January 5)


• Must be enrolled at either a community college or university.

How to apply:

Must submit and essay 300+ words, also include a copy of your resume, including your current GPA as well as what university or community college you are attending. Topic is What is one traumatic experience you experienced in your life, and how did you overcome it?”

Ayn Rand Scholarships

This one is a little different. First off, you have to read one of her books. The 3 choices are: Anthem, The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. Each book has a different age category and different amount that you can win. This one would take some time beginning with reading the book. Get some feedback on your essay. The least amount for an award is $2000, so this one is a great choice if you are a great writer.

Then, write an essay about the book you chose. Awards up to $10,ooo. Also, there are lots of FAQs on the website, so go there for more information!

Essays due April 27 for Anthem and The Fountainhead. 

Atlas Shrugged essay due September 26.


Timely Term to Know:

Articulation Agreement: An agreement between two-year and four-year colleges that makes it easier to transfer credits between them. It spells out which courses count for degree credit and the grades you need to earn to get credit.


Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple. – JK Rowling / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Which season is your favorite? I love fall!)


Read a Book Day (6), Labor Day (first Monday in September), Sewing Machine Day (10), 911 Remembrance Day (11), Constitution Day (17), National Pepperoni Pizza Day (20), National Hunting and Fishing Day (third Saturday in September)

Hope these wins will help you all, so share this with any smart parents in September that you know! If you have something that is working for you, please let me know so that I can share–it takes a village.

Posts that are timely

Quick Tips for Applying to Colleges

Best List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School

FAFSA: What You Need To Know!

49 Movies to Watch With Your Teens for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

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Smart parents in September

Top 10 Rugs for A Teen’s Dorm Room

Top 10 Rugs for A Teen’s Dorm Room

Why a rug you ask? When you are thinking about decorating a dorm room for a girl or a guy, the rug will pull the whole room together. Rugs for a teen’s dorm room will keep feet warm, add color or tone down a brighter room, and provide a bit of hominess for your teen when they create their “home away from home”.

If you missed purchasing a rug when you purchased items for your teen’s dorm room, this is almost a necessity because colder weather will be on its way soon.

Even with socks on, both of my college boys complained how cold the floor was before we got them a rug.

A rug is a great purchase because they can take it with them when they move into an apartment -depending on how well they take care of it. And, even if your teen is in a warmer state, a rug can pull an entire room together! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.


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Rugs for A Teen's Dorm Room


Here are my top 10 rugs for a teen’s dorm room -(or teen’s bedroom) and the reasons why. 

These are all approximately 5’ x 7’ for a typical tiny dorm room. Almost all of these rugs come in different sizes, and many come in different colors.

There are so many wonderful choices of rugs on Etsy! There is no way that I could just choose one. The wonderful thing about these is that many are originals and not that much more expensive than what you find elsewhere. Just remember that these are kids we are talking about, so decide how well your teen will care for this purchase.

Some other choices from different stores are:

Here is a great rug if the color scheme is pink or grey. This is such a muted and soft pink, it would be super soothing in a room.

pink and white rug for a teens' dorm room

This rug is like a fiesta on your floor! It is multi-colored, so it would go with so many color schemes, but probably would be best if the bedding etc were more neutral to let this be a focal point! It is circular which I love as well!

fiesta rug for a teen's dorm room

This is another multi-colored rug which would go with almost anything. I love the colors, and it would be a really pretty addition to any room. This one is costs a bit more than the others.

multi-colored rug for a teen's dorm room

This lime green zebra rug comes in other colors and sizes, and would be a great addition to someone’s room who is a little bit adventurous.

lime zebra rug for a teen's dorm room

Here is a beautiful blue/white rug that would add a bit of class to a room with almost any colors. It is gorgeous all on its own, and would compliment any decor!

This boho rug in muted tones of gray would also be a great fit for any color scheme. It is a bit more casual than the other choices.

This rug is perfect with its price and muted earth tones for any room. It has a mix of all sorts of tans in soft stripes. My boys even said it would be okay in a guy’s room.

Here is another rug with a more nautical theme. It is navy with double white stripes. The orange and blue ones would be great with a more plain guy room.

This final rug is another multi-colored choice. It would go with anything, and would really make the final touch in a dorm room.

I just came across this one from Urban Outfitters, as I was finishing this post. This rug is a splurge, but it is so unique

Unique rug for a teen's dorm room

Don’t forget to order a rug for the bathroom, if that is attached to your teen’s dorm room. Many of the above rugs come in a smaller size that would be perfect in front of the sink.

And, don’t forget a spot cleaner for rugs –this stuff is amazing!!

Related posts

What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm: The 4-1-1 for Success

Ways to Keep Your Child Safe at College

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

5 Essential Tech You Need For College

9 Backpack Essentials for College


I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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Rugs for A Teen's Dorm Room

Student Loan Debt: 5 Simple Ways to Prevent It

Student Loan Debt: 5 Simple Ways to Prevent It

Does your child’s future include college? One big reason to begin making plans for college is MONEY!!! We are trying to help our kids as they go through college, by helping to prevent student loan debt or at least reduce it for them.

Something else to think about is that your child’s future will greatly be affected by the choices he or she makes today. These two factors were at the top of the list while our oldest son was deciding on a college.  *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Let your teen know about student loan debt.

**See my list of 5 things to do at the bottom!

42 MILLION students owe $1.3 TRILLION in student debt!!!!

This number is astronomical already and is growing with each semester. Make decisions based on the amount of money that you have saved (or not), the choice of a major, and what is the likelihood of earning enough income to make a decent living when college is finished. If you can limit or prevent student loan debt for your child, they will be so much further ahead in life!

Approximately 70% of graduates with Bachelors degrees leave school with some amount of student loan debt…

Be very careful when reading the fine print on the documents that each school provides. If we hadn’t paid attention to our son’s financial package information, we would have accepted a student loan. It was right there in black and white, but if I hadn’t been checking through each item, I would have missed this line item.

I now know to look for it each semester and draw a line through it. Just because something is written down on proposed tuition paperwork does not mean that you, the consumer, need to utilize it. Look everything over very carefully! This is an easy way to help prevent student loan debt.

Prevent student loan debt is challenging!

Loan payments upon graduation can be more than their rent payments…

This is a very depressing reality! Make sure that you know approximately what a starting level employee in your child’s field of study will earn. It may not be enough money to live on when including loan payments.

Find someone who has recently graduated in the field that your child has chosen, and find out this what they get on their paycheck, so that you can discuss this with your student. This way each of you are aware as he or she moves toward their future. Making a good choice in the beginning of college is crucial.

The cost of college skyrockets after the first 4 years, so switching majors can really be a financial setback if done after the sophomore year.

College grads in 2001 earned 10% more than they do now…

This is because the cost of living has increased so much, and many items that were once much more affordable such as healthcare, are now no longer fitting into even a reasonable budget. This can be super frustrating for today’s graduates because how can they get ahead if they are already behind?!

2 out of 3 students graduating won’t find an adequate job, meaning one that would pay for a reasonable living as well as enough extra for loan payments…  This goes along with what was said earlier. The fewer loans, the easier life will be moving forward. Read here.

More than two-thirds of student loan borrowers were surprised by some aspect of their student loan debt…Prevent student loan debt.

Student loan debt amounts are staggering

If loans must be taken out, then really pay attention to the total. Parents may not be paying much attention to this because they know their student will ultimately be responsible for this amount. This is not reasonable or fair.

Please take care to be honest with your child about what you can and cannot afford from the very beginning. That is where the conversation needs to begin.

And, please don’t wait until your student’s senior year! However, if that is where you are, by all means, get started!

31% of students who dropped out of college referred to finances as a reason…

This is, in part, because parents did not want to admit that they couldn’t afford the school that the child wanted to attend. Please know that even though this might be embarrassing to have to admit, it will be so much worse if your child has to drop out because of something that could have been prevented by honesty in the first place.

Real life happens! We had my husband’s student loans to pay off. Then real life happened, as in we had bills to pay… We don’t have that much saved in the way of college funds for our boys, and they know that good grades etc. will really help with getting good financial packages from schools.

It has helped that we have been honest and realistic about their choices about where they can go and what we can afford to pay. We have also been very upfront with them about the fact that they are in charge of all their spending money once they are at school as well.

About half of all college graduates are living paycheck to paycheck and many have had to resort to living with parents or grandparents…

I think back to when I first graduated. I truly lived paycheck to paycheck. I paid a little more in rent than I should have, but it was in a safe neighborhood, and that was important to me living in a big city for the first time in my life.

I literally lived on about $1.00 a day after all my expenses were paid. I lived on pasta and tuna at night, and knew to the ounce how much salad I could put in my container to stay at less than $2.00 each day for lunch in the cafeteria.

I couldn’t afford to buy enough groceries for both dinners and lunches. I ate a lot of oatmeal! I didn’t even have any furniture, and I slept on an air mattress for months.

A fact that is is so sad is that many young adults consider their loans to be a life sentence because it is so hard to get rid of! Please read this sobering article. Help your child now to make a good decision for their future!

Here’s my question… Are kids today willing to do that?

I came from a nice home with most everything I wanted as I was growing up. But, I was READY to grow up and move on. I’m not sure about today’s young graduates when it comes time to move on. Parents make it really easy for them to stay home.

But, here’s the thing. Getting a couple of roommates and striking it out on their own-even if they are super poor– is probably the best thing that we can do for our kids. At the very least, help them out at first, but work out a plan with your child for how they will gradually move out and on:)

I read a story the other day about mother giraffes. As soon as her baby struggles to his feet, the mom knocks him down. The baby struggles up again. Mom knocks him down again. It happens again and again.

Is the mom being mean? No! Because, guess what? Pretty soon the little guy gets stronger and stronger and more sturdy. And, then, he can stand on his own with no struggling or wobbling. He has learned, and she has done her job by preparing him.

Tough love can prevent student loan debt.

24% of millenials who attend college think that their loans will be “forgiven”…

Loan forgiveness is very rare. It is NOT something these kids should be counting on at all. Their plan needs to be to work, work, and work some more maybe at a main job with 2 or 3 side hustles to get their loans paid down.

The real world is manageable, but our kids need to have a plan and be mentally strong and able to handle it by being prepared.

Don’t let these numbers scare you!!

Now is definitely the time to start the process of preparing your child to go to college to get a great education and graduate with little to NO debt. You and your teen have to get into the mindset that this is a challenge that can be met.

Be proactive. You and your child have to be on the same page or at least supportive of each other’s efforts. Take the time to get informed. Do some research. You can start now wherever you are, however old your child is. The sooner the better!

5 things you can do!

1. Fill out the FAFSA! Due each year October 1. Fill out every year that you will have a child in college, beginning the fall of senior year in high school.

2. Grab my high school survival kit for yourself. This will help you and your teen get organized throughout the high school years.

3. Read my book: College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School.

Here is the the blog post I wrote in addition to the book.

4. Apply for scholarships. Start now. It will make a huge difference! We have graduated 2 sons debt-free with these tips.

5. One more thing that you can do is to hire a college and career counselor.

What they do is help you to formulate a plan based on your child’s strengths and talents. They take into consideration their passions and what they DON’T like as well! I am now training to do just this for College Ready Plan. I would love to visit with you and your teen about what their future holds. Sign up for a free discovery call today!

How about you? Are you helping your kids? Do you have any good ideas for the rest of us?

Related posts: 

High School Parent Toolkit

How To Find Scholarships -The System We Used to Graduate Our Son Debt-Free!

29 Ways to Prepare for College -Start Now!

How Will We Be Able to Afford College Next Year?

How To Plan a Budget With Your College Bound Teen

My Teen is Turning 18! What Are the Legal Implications?

Read my book about college and life prep? Here is the blog post that I wrote to go along with the book with some great freebies for you to download and print for your own family.

And, my friend, Rachel Skelly Murphy wrote a great book called, I Am Not Your ATM.

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

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Let your teen know about student loan debt.

15 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe at College

15 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe at College

How can you keep your child safe at college?

This is something that I think we all worry about when our kids are gone to college or out into the real world. This worrying will never stop for us, but we can rest a little bit easier if we prepare our kids. Here are some easy ways to keep a child safe at college -or as safe as possible without the bubblewrap!

These are discussions that should probably start a little bit at a time in middle school as they start to go out with friends. We trained our boys to always be aware of where they were. To look for exit signs. To pay attention to where they were going, and listen closely to directions.

Our kids are getting drilled at school, and we need to talk with them about things that are happening in the news, and have them think about what might be the best thing to do in each situation.

I have come up with some safety ideas that will hopefully ease my mind as well as yours! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Here are ways to keep your child safe at college.

Keep your child safe -prepare them

Have some conversations with your teen before they leave for college.

Discussions:  About date safety. About “no means no, no matter when she says no”. About having a campus buddy. About being aware of their surroundings. About locking up medications.

College can be so much fun, but our teens need to be make aware of all of this and more. Talk with your teen!

Keep your child safe when going out

Drink scrunchie -Do you worry when you know your teen is headed out? This nifty little drink cover will keep anyone from easily putting a pill or powder into a drink. It can be worn AS a scrunchie until it is needed! Guys need to use these too, and they could have it in their pockets until needed. Rape is a serious issue, and this is a great defense against it. It comes in 4 colors.

This bracelet is the bomb for your daughter! -And, here is the necklace. These are a little more pricey. They are are pretty, though, and if needed, they would be great to have around. She can just push the button, and it activates a GPS device. No one would ever know!

This hair clip is actually a survival tool! It can be so many things… bottle opener, box cutter saw, screwdriver, wrench, and more! It can also be put on a keychain, just in case.

Here is a great tool to carry for safety. It has pepper spray and a stun gun. It is small enough to carry in a purse or pocket.

Here is a tiny portable charger for your teen’s phone. This is something that they should have charged at all times. If your teen has their phone, they can call for help, take a photo (or video) of their attacker or situation, and find their way home with its built-in GPS and flashlight.

This small device adds onto a lock for a door for more security. This would be good for anyone who would like some added security!

And, here is a door stopper alarm that your teen could put under their door at night if they wanted to fell more secure. 

ICE : Personal Safety App -This will: share your Real Time Location with someone you trust -they can see your current location using this app or any web browser. Keeps track of important medical or support information on Lock Screen for First responders and Doctor.

  • you can save useful information for rescue workers (allergy, medication, condition, identity, organ donor, blood type …) and doctor contact “in case of emergency”.
  • 3) ICE contacts for call in Emergency.

(There are lots of safety apps. Be sure to check into these to get the best fit for your family.)

Guy or girl, they need to be prepared. No matter what we envision for our kids’ relationships, I want them safe.

Once your teen turns 18, a lot of things change for both you and your teen. Check out this post to be sure that you both know the legal ramifications for this big birthday.

Keep your child safe -car safety 

Here is an entire post about travel safety for our teens (and ourselves!)

A road distress kit is an easy thing to throw into the back of your teen’s car -just in case!

Personal safety keychain

Anti touch opener -This is great to have in the car for opening doors etc without having to touch them -if covid continues to be a thing…

If your teen is anything like mine, they wear shorts year round. If they end up in a bad situation during cold weather, an emergency blanket is a great thing to have! They fold up tiny, and can also be something that is thrown into the back of the car.

Keep your child safe -health matters

Mental health safety for your teens

Here is a first aid kit for a dorm room or car -full of supplies that might be needed.

Our son had to purchase a safe for his meds after he them stolen. This is a must if your teen takes any sort of prescribed medication!

**Here is some advice from my son who graduated from college last year to your teens going into college, he was president of his fraternity for 2 years, and saw a lot of things… Remember that no one and no club should ask you to do things that you would not normally do. This should be a red flag.

If you have never had an alcoholic drink before, then don’t have a bunch all at once. No one should be making you drink. If you get into a situation that is uncomfortable, say that you have to use the bathroom, and use that opportunity to leave wherever you are.

If, for some reason, you cannot leave, text someone, anyone, for help. Tell them exactly where you are and what the situation is.

Keep your child safe -online safety 

This company has great plans for keeping your teen safe online as well as limiting their screen time, if that is something you are concerned about.

Be sure that your teen knows these basic rules for online security.

Make sure that your teen is aware of the ramifications of sexting. Even if you are sure your teen isn’t doing this, they still need to be made aware -just in case. It is a serious crime, especially once they are 18…

Related posts

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

Travel safety for teens

Sexting and your teen

Mental health safety for your teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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Here are ways to keep your child safe at college.