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Ramen Risks: 3 Reasons A Student Food Budget Should Be Part of Your 529 Plan

Oct 12, 2017

A 529 plan is one of the best ways to help save for college. It helps you to put money away for your child’s higher education, giving them a leg up when it comes to the expensive world of college. Unfortunately, too many family members fund their 529 plans with only tuition in mind. Below are three reasons why you should make sure that a food budget is part of the plan.

Students Need to Eat


It should come as no surprise that eating is one of the major priorities for students. It might seem a bit facetious to bring that up, but it’s easy to forget that your student is going to need to eat as well as pay tuition when he or she gets to college.




If he or she doesn’t have the money to eat, there will be options—but they definitely aren’t great. If you don’t want your student to spend his college years subsisting on ramen and cheap coffee, it may be a good idea to work food into your college savings plan.

Food is Expensive


As an adult, it’s a bit difficult to remember how hard it can sometimes be to get a solid meal. If you’ve got a steady job, you are aware that you spend money on food—but it’s just another part of your budget.

As a student who has just gone to school, though, the cost of food can seem astronomical. If a student doesn’t have help paying for his or her meals initially, you can expect him or her to struggle financially. If you don’t want to bail a student out later, make sure to fund his or her food budget early on.

Removing Stress


Adding a food budget to your 529 plan is also a good way to help remove some stress from the student in your life. While he or she will always be busy studying and adapting to a much more adult lifestyle, he or she doesn’t necessarily need the added stress of worrying about where his or her next meal will come from.

This kind of stress can contribute to issues like substance abuse or even to eating disorders, and treatment for these problems can cause more financial issues in the future. It’s also worth mentioning that severe problems require inpatient services at facilities like Center For Change and can take valuable time away from classes.

Make a food budget part of your 529 plan. Failure to do so simply puts too much of a burden on a student who is already trying to adapt to a new environment. While the budget doesn’t have to be excessive, it should be enough to help him or her survive. This small change can make a big difference in a college career.


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