How Much Money To Save For College


Going to college has always seemed to be the American dream for teens who want to upgrade their living standards. Go to college, work hard, earn a degree, and climb the economic ladder to finally live the life you have always dreamed of. 

However, rising college tuition cost has put a financial strain on teens and their parents alike. 

College is a huge investment of time and money. It’s expensive, and costs are only rising. In the last ten years, the average college tuition fees have increased by $930 at public two-year colleges. While public four-year colleges have increased the fees by $2,670, private nonprofit four-year colleges have rocketed the cost to $7,390. 

This might seem a little intimidating. But, saving money for college can help you cover the cost of tuition and fees while simultaneously reducing the burden of student loans. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for ways to begin your college savings journey. 

Let’s start!

How to begin saving for college?

Before estimating how much money to save, you need to figure out the college cost to get a general idea of where to start. 

The first step is determining the kind of college you are applying to. Let’s say you are applying to a public college. A four-year in-state university will cost you an average of $10,740 in fees in 2021-22. However, a private four-year university costs students an average of $38,070.

Don’t let the cost unnerve you. These costs only represent the tuition fees’ sticker price, which is quite different from the net price. The net price incorporates any scholarship funds, financial aid, or grants you may secure. 

When should you start saving for college?

When it comes to saving up for college, the sooner you save, the better

Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to save 100% of the cost. Instead, take baby steps and split the cost into how much you need to save per month. 

You can set aside money from your part-time jobs to build the foundation of your college savings. You can also ask your parents or guardians to help as much as they can towards your college savings. 

How much should you save for college? 

If you think that applying for student loans is your only way, you’re wrong. There are many ways to pay for college without drowning yourself in debt for the rest of your life.

Besides the added fees and tuition cost, you need to estimate room, board, and school supplies for all four years. To estimate how much you need to save, you can add up all of your estimated costs and subtract out your anticipated scholarships and financial aid. 

Let’s suppose you intend to attend an in-state public four-year college; you need to save at least $43,000 in tuition fees. You can save a bit of money by using the library for books but, overall, you’ll be spending around $5000 on school supplies and books. Add the cost of roughly $48,000 for room, board, and other utilities, and the total amount you need to save is around $96,000. 

You could receive almost $32,000 in financial aid for all four years and let’s assume a scholarship of $5000 for your first year of college. Add it up then subtract it from the total college expenses, and you are left with $59,000 that you need to save for college.

A guide to saving for college

Part-time jobs are not the only way you can save for college. You need to create a personal budget and strategically improve your finances. Besides, the money saved from part-time jobs can only cover a small number of tuition fees, so we have curated a list of ways to help you save for college. 


Freelancing is yet another profitable way of earning money on the side. What’s great is that you don’t need a degree to freelance. 

Have a skill that can potentially earn you money? Whether you’re a writer, a musician, or good at applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Canva, there is likely a freelancing opportunity for you. You can sign up on freelancing sites such as Fiverr and Upwork, become a freelancer, and cash your skills. 

Plus, freelancing is ideal for students who want to decide their working hours. You just need an internet connection and a laptop, and you can start making money on Fiverr.

Take advanced placement and community college classes

Most of the courses offered in your first year are general, foundational subjects. You can skip those and save even a year’s tuition fees by taking AP classes in high school, or community college classes. Just make sure your community college credits will transfer.

Apply for scholarships

Scholarships are an excellent way to reduce the cost of tuition fees. Many scholarships don’t cover the full cost of the tuition, or even half; it entirely depends on the individual and the type of scholarship they’re applying for. However, anything is better than nothing.

Look up the best scholarships for you or you can ask the school counselor for the relevant scholarships and apply for them before their deadlines.

Earn cash through apps and websites

Earning money while sitting in the comfort of your home has never been easier. 

Now you can take surveys and earn money through PayPal. Additionally, you can sign up on several shopping applications to help you save money when you are shopping. Some of the apps maximize your money by only requiring you to watch videos, fill out surveys or play games. 


If you have a bunch of stuff lying around the house you no longer need—clothes, sports equipment, etc.—collect them all and host a garage sale to get rid of the junk. You can also sell things on Etsy and eBay.

Key takeaway

College is an investment of a lifetime. But, the haunting question of how much money to save for college is always there. There are several ways you can pay for college besides saving money doing part-time jobs. You can opt for any/all of the methods above, and begin your savings journey right away.

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