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Parallel Planning: 3 College Expenses to Save for Alongside Your 529

Mar 16, 2018

If you have regularly been contributing to a 529 plan to save for your children’s college education, you may reasonably assume that you have covered all of your bases and are financially prepared to send your children to college. Funds in your 529 plan can be used for tuition, books and even dorm expenses. However, there are some other expenses that you may not have thought about yet. These are a few of the more common and relatively expensive costs that you may need to factor into your college budget.

Transportation and Relocation Costs

The cost to help your child relocate into a dorm or an off-campus apartment can be tremendous. You will need to pay for professional moving services or rent a moving truck to do the work on your own. You will also need to pay for regular travel expenses for your child to travel back and forth to see you, such as air fare. If your child needs to drive while in college, vehicle expenses should also be taken into account.

Insurance Premiums

Your child may need several types of insurance while in college. This may include health insurance and auto insurance at minimum. If your child is leasing an apartment, the property may require the purchase of a renter’s policy. These expenses can easily add up to several hundred dollars per month, so they should not be overlooked.

Special Services

Special services are not essential, but you may prefer that your child use them as needed. For example, a cell phone is not a true necessity, but it may be the primary way for your child to reach you, to call authorities for help if something happens and more. Another type of service that your child may need or want is a gym membership. Staying healthy while in school is important, and a gym membership is an excellent way to encourage physical fitness.

Sending your child to college can be expensive, and you may feel financially stressed after realizing that you have overlooked some of these expenses. Remember that there are multiple ways to pay for all college-related costs. For example, your child can get a part-time job to partially pay his or her way. You could also trim back on your own lifestyle. While paying for college can seem burdensome and stressful, remember that this will only last for a few years. More than that, the effort to make financial adjustments is well worth the end result.

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