Saving for college, one holdup at a time

January 20, 2011

As a humor blogger, if there’s one question I get more than any other it’s “Blog Guy, college is so darned expensive these days, how can I afford to send my kids there?”

college trump 320That’s where I can help out. Not with my own original ideas, you understand, but by quoting an expert – let’s call him Dan – who knows money secrets normally available only to the super-rich.

Here’s Dan’s blog piece on the subject, but I’ll boil down his main points.

1. Set a savings goal

“Whether it’s $25 or $250 each week, plan out how much you’re going to set aside for your child’s future,” Dan tells us.

Hey, slow down, Dan, I’m not Donald Trump! What if I save TOO much, and end up with $10 million when all I need is $200,000? Or worse, what if my kid turns out to be stupid, and doesn’t need any tuition at all?

Dan goes on to offer some specific ways to cut back. He says you can save $1,000 a year if you stop buying a latte every morning. Avoid Starbucks, and in just 200 years it’s Hello, Harvard!

STARBUCKS/2. Stick to your goals

This is important. Dan says if times get tough you should work an extra shift, have a yard sale or switch from bottled water to tap. Those are good ideas, unless the lead in your town’s water system kills you while your kid is still in kindergarten.

My own suggestion? Dust off Grandpa’s old .45 pistol from Korea, buy a box of bullets and start robbing  convenience stores. It’s night work that doesn’t interfere with your day job, and maybe you can even pick up that latte you didn’t have in the morning.

3. Leave the money alone

I guess here Dan is saying you shouldn’t dip into the college fund to pay for hookers or good bourbon or pedicures or whatever.

This is very complicated, but see, Dan’s point is if you take money OUT of the college fund, it won’t be there any longer. Who knew?

WATER-BEVERAGES/4. Open an education specific investment account

“Consider your goals, talk to your financial adviser, and then see what kind of account may be right for you,” Dan advises.

I know, now you’re saying, “But Blog Guy, are you so stupid you think I HAVE a financial adviser? Those guys aren’t free!”

That’s true, but here’s what you can do to pay for an adviser. Just dip into your kid’s college fund, take some money out, and… Oh. Wait. Maybe this deal is more complex than I thought…

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Top left: U.S. property mogul Donald Trump gestures during a media event on the sand dunes of the Menie estate, the site for Trump’s proposed golf resort, near Aberdeen, Scotland, May 27, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir

Right: An artfully poured latte rests on the counter at Starbucks’ Roy Street Coffee and Tea in Seattle, March 25, 2010. REUTERS/Marcus Donner

Bottom left: Bottles of Pellegrino are sold in a market in New York, June 15, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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The photo of the man in the kilt did remind me to save up for a Guinness in March.

The bagpipers are laughing as they’d been playing while Donald was speaking. Donald had to shout to be heard, and now that the pipers are done, he’s lost his voice.

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Blog Guy, have you ever actually had convenience store coffee?

Posted by ARJTurgot2 | Report as abusive

Not exactly, but I’ve seen customers doubled up in pain on the curb in front of the store, with half-finished cups beside them. Does that count?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Have you ever wondered how come people spend so much on bottled water? Spell “Evian” backwards.. 😉

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Crime and Punishment. Enduring themes.

Posted by ARJTurgot2 | Report as abusive

Spin, that wasn’t haiku?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

@Shra: Cool!

Loved the coffee cup :-)

Posted by fwd079 | Report as abusive

No worries, if ones child does indeed turn out to be stupid and no longer in need of a college education that child can still aspire to become an Oddly Enough photo journalist. 09/12/18/dont-drop-it-yet-im-not-focused  /

Just look how far Johnson has come!

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Well if we’re talking education, watch this :) 4U&feature=player_embedded

I love the part about ADHD meds!


Posted by REDruin | Report as abusive

One time the water in this section of town came out of the tap looking like coffee. When I’d called the city about it, they tried to tell me it would be ok for showers. Right… Fortunately, I’d had a shower. Unfortunately, I’d started laundry. Where was that icy rinsing hole when I needed it?

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

BG, you missed number five: “Let your kid figure it out himself so you can enjoy your hookers, good bourbon and pedicures while telling other people you want to ‘instill a sense of independence, self-reliance and responsibility’ in your kid.”

That’s what I’m doing, and my kids are too little to understand why I smile smugly at everyone around me as I prance into Starbucks every morning. That latte is practically raising the kids for me! Maybe I’ll go for TWO every day so as to make them even more independent!

Posted by sarabelle | Report as abusive

@Onedoor – Once upon a time, in a far away city in the Middle East, every shower taken was with lukewarm coffee-water that would sometimes run out halfway into a three-minute combat shower, and if the coffee-water was accidentally thought to be coffee, the result would be dysentery. I hope you didn’t make your coffee with that water. Also, don’t eat your socks straight out of the washer.

Posted by sarabelle | Report as abusive

…But when picking up the missed coffee, make sure it’s at a DIFFERENT store than the one you robbed ;D

Posted by Swimmy | Report as abusive

My kids are getting the same deal my sibs and I got: After high school they can either go to college and I’ll cover room & board & incidentals or they can stay at home, work and only contribute for food for 4 years. After that, they’re on their own, but get a “back to the nest free” card for emergencies)
For the six sibs in my family, the final score was 2 Doctorates, one Masters and 3 Bachelors.
Like my father, I just think it means more if you have to dig in and work for it. (Of course, I’m sure there are as many differing opinions on the subject as there are readers out there, but as far as my kids are concerned, my opinion is the only one that matters.)

Posted by AllThatJazz | Report as abusive

Thanks, Jazz. Just to clarify, you’re only educating your sons, right?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Oddly Enough, needadegree and Sophie Harding, cabun. cabun said: [Oddly] Saving for college, one holdup at a time […]

Posted by Tweets that mention Saving for college, one holdup at a time | Analysis & Opinion | — | Report as abusive

@Sara & Spin: Socks? Children? Ok, I’ll admit to having socks.

Actually, as I am usually up fairly early, I went to the store that morning and bought some bottled water and left one in front of my three neighbors’ doors. Then I raised a bottle (of water, alas) to toast the tossing of a permanently discolored pair of slacks. The rest of the laundry was salvagable.

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

No way I’d give up a pedicure just so my kids could go to college . Instead, they should try a career in pedi- and manicuology and maybe get a job doing something about the Donald’s hair.

Posted by slick9 | Report as abusive

Kinda hard to answer that one, BG, since both my kids are girls. Currently, I’m busily brainwashing their tiny little minds into accepting my evil plot for their future. That is to say, getting the best education that they are capable of, scratching and clawing every inch of the way. It’s the American Way, after all!

Posted by AllThatJazz | Report as abusive

Slick, I have to say that between yesterday’s reply on the ice hole item, and today’s on saving for college, you’re coming across as kind of a Hard-Hearted Hannah.

I like that in commenter, welcome aboard!

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Jazz quite like what you have planned out… My Dad payed for all my education… I repayed by leaving his house 2 years after I graduated…
I keep repaying him now and again by buying him Hugo Boss perfumes…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Being the youngest of 9, I couldn’t expect my parents to pay anything toward college. That gave me an entirely different attitude toward education than almost all of the people I knew in college, except my wife, who also had to finance her education on her own.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

I am footing the bill for my degree. My father cosigned with me to help lower the interest rate but other than that it’s all on me. It’s all worth it though to fly da planes. Well at least I would be if I could afford to. :p

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

@Unca, no degree necessary. One only really needs money to fly planes and I am in short supply these days. I got the degree cause I thought edumacating myself would make me a better person. As it turns out all it did was make me more in dept.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Funny that Dan bloke didn’t mention anything about learning to navigate the FAFSA, lowering costs by going to in-state public higher ed, or looking for a college that will support part of the costs from endowment proceeds…

Posted by I_dont_know_1 | Report as abusive