Statistics show that the cost of higher education per child is about INR 20 lakhs or approximately 30,000 USD. This takes up a huge chunk of one’s income. So how does a family save for higher education? Here are some simple tricks that work:
- Pre-plan menus – How often do you order a pizza or burger online? Your budget is busted every time! Plan your week’s dinner in advance. One example – At the weekend, prepare some vegetable/meat patties, wrap them in foil and freeze. When needed, shallow-fry and serve with brown bread. You have a tasty meal at one-tenth the cost.
2. Check stock – Once you have planned the week’s meals see which ingredients are in stock. If something is missing check for alternatives. Now your shopping list has come down to the bare minimum. See if you need any household essentials and make just one trip to the supermarket and save gas.
3. Reusable containers – It is worth investing in steel or aluminium boxes for storing provisions. Also, refill packets cost less than their packaged varieties. Cotton cloth towels can be washed with the daily laundry and reused. Look for other disposable items you could replace with the reusable containers.
4. Budget trips – You can search online for scenic weekend getaways around your town/city instead of travelling far. If you are staying overnight, look for a resort that offers tents as they are a lot cheaper. This is a simple trick that helps to save for higher education and you don’t have to forgo pleasure.
5. Buy second hand – Pre-used furniture, home appliances, televisions, bikes, automobiles, etc are easily available online. Keep a lookout for clearance sales offered by local shops. Convert saris or dresses that are in a reasonably good condition into curtains and cushion covers. Sofa-cum-beds with storage space will reduce the cost of wardrobes.
6. Save energy – Make it a rule that all the family members spend time together for at least 2 hours in the living room each evening. This will help in two ways
- You will get more quality time as a family;
- You can switch off all the lights, fans, ACs, TVs, heaters, music systems, etc in the other rooms.
7. Borrow, don’t buy – There are some items that you use just once like books and magazines. Wouldn’t a lending library be a cheaper option? But borrowing DVDs should be limited to once a month because if you forget to return you have to pay a fine!
8. Enjoy fresh air – Instead of the movies an hour at the jogger’s park with the family will give more pleasure and cost nothing. Carry a ball or Frisbee and have fun! You can buy some board games for rainy days. Give incentives to kids and take their help with gardening. Whoever tends the plants gets to select the TV channel. Whoever mows the lawn decides Saturday dinner menu, and so on.
You might ask – Will saving a dollar make you a fortune? Take my word for it. These steps may be apparently very simple to follow, but implementing them will help you to save for higher education to a large extent.