The 5 C’s of Saving Money While Your Child’s in College

Believe it or not, parents can actually SAVE money with their kids heading back to school. Crazy, right?

Aside from paying for tuition and rent, the average household can cut down on their monthly costs by at least $500 a month while their child is away at college.

Half a thousand dollars a month adds up. Before you know it, you’ll be having an extra $2,500 in the bank by the time your student comes back for the holidays.

Saving that extra cash to pay for your child’s tuition next year or using that money for a well-earned tropical getaway to reward yourself for being such a good parent all these years? Well, we leave that up to you.

Of course, the only way to save all this extra money is to know what to cut back on. The financial experts at Miss Money Bee have compiled a list of ways you can save money as the school year quickly approaches.

Here are the 5 C’s of saving money while your child’s away at college:

1. Cut back on groceries – Did you know the average cost of feeding boys ages 14 to 18 on a “moderate-cost” grocery budget is $298.60 per month? The cost of feeding girls in that same age range is $243.30, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Your shopping trips will be reduced greatly with the kids out, and so will your grocery bill.

2. Cancel memberships – Whether it’s a gaming membership, a Netflix account or even a monthly gym membership, cancel it. With all the late night excitement and restless studying, your child will barely get a chance to use their memberships, and not having access to it will prevent them from getting distracted. Most college campuses have a nifty gym that is paid for by tuition, so there’s no longer a need to pay $50 a month for the gym at home.

3. Cut the cable – If your child is no longer home to watch the NFL Network, HBO or ShowTime, cancel the subscriptions. Downgrade to the most basic channel package if you’re not a big TV person. This can save more than $40 each month. In addition to downgrading, completely cut the cable off in your child’s room. Each modem costs between $5 to $10 a month, so if there’s no one there anyway, why pay for it?

4. Call your car insurance company – Overcrowding and inadequate parking spaces are a problem on just about any campus. (It took me two hours just to find parking once!) Many students, especially the ones who live on campus, opt to leave their car at home and save on the semester parking fees and hassles. While your child is away, not only will you not have to pay for gas, you also don’t have to pay for their car insurance. Depending on the type of insurance plan you have, you can either completely remove the car off your insured list or change it to the “100 miles away” plan. That plan, known by other names I’m sure, is basically a discounted rate for college students who are residing at least 100 miles away from their car.

5. Cover the plugs – All the outlets in your child’s room should be unplugged and even covered, especially if there are pets or small children who may go in and out of the room. By unplugging each appliance, you can actually lower your electricity bill. Appliances such as televisions, computer monitors, and chargers use up energy even when they’re not on. This type of energy consumption, known as phantom energy, accounts for about 10 percent of electricity use in the average household. So, since the appliances in your college kid’s room will be unused for a while, unplug them and save money!