3 Budget Hacks to Save Thousands for Baby’s College

Father reading with son and teaching him how to save for college.

New parents need to take advantage of every opportunity to save money. Those sweet bundles of joy are expensive! But what if there was a way to find a little extra cash in your monthly budget? We’re talking about painlessly trimming a few dollars here and there that, down the road, could add up to thousands in your baby’s college fund.

Money Hidden in Plain Sight

Go through your list of monthly expenses and recurring charges. Cancel or cut down on things you don’t need or even use anymore:

  • Newspaper and magazine subscriptions — catch the headlines on a free smartphone news app
  • Music streaming services — do you really need Spotify and TIDAL?
  • Video streaming services — do you really need Amazon and Netflix?
  • Beauty sample subscription service — when was the last time you loved all the products?
  • Gym membership — the one you no longer use. (We’re not judging!)
  • Cellphone bill — you spend most of your day connected to the WiFi at work or at home. Do you really need a large data plan?

Cutting just a few of these monthly expenses could easily add up to $50 a month or more! There are a lot of things you could do with that money, like saving in an NC 529 Account for your child’s college.

If you took that $50 and set it aside every month for the next 18 years, the savings could grow to more than $13,000. That money will come in handy for college expenses like room and board, tuition, and books.

Turn Fast Food Night into Sandwich Night

Instead of stopping for fast food on the way home from work once a week, have sandwiches at home. It’s healthier, and the $15 a week you might spend as a couple can add up to $60 a month in college savings for your baby.

Over 18 years, sandwich-night savings could turn into some real bread! We’re talking about more than $15,000 in your child’s college saving account. And the money can be shared with future siblings too.

Combine money-saving hacks #1 and #2 and that’s $110 a month. When college rolls around, that could be more than $28,000 in their college saving account.

Hooked on saving? Keep reading!

Make Your Own Baby Food

Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! This is super healthy and a real money saver, especially if you’re into organic foods. The beauty of this hack is that it starts with a healthy meal for you.

  • Make extra veggies while cooking your own dinner each night.
  • Puree veggies in a mini food processor with a little water.
  • Puree fruit, especially anything that’s getting too ripe.
  • Mix pureed fruits and veggies together for amazing combinations.
  • Freeze puree in ice cube trays.
  • Store the “baby food cubes” in labeled freezer bags. You’ll have healthy meals for days!
  • Defrost a couple of cubes at a time for baby’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Have fun and create yummy combinations such as carrot-peach and lima bean-banana. It may sound disgusting to you, but your child could love it.

This will cost you pennies. A four-ounce jar of baby food runs about $0.50 each. Multiply that by at least three jars a day, and that’s $45 a month.

Add this money-saving hack to #1 and #2 and that’s $155 a month. Invest that money in your child’s NC 529 Plan, and there could be more than $40,000 when it’s time for college in 18 years.

Remember, the money can be used for children you have now, and the ones you may be planning to have in the future. Earnings grow tax-free as long as they’re used for educational expenses, including two-year colleges, four-year universities, trade schools, and qualified K-12 tuition expenses.

The sooner you start saving for college, the more likely it will become a good financial habit. Anyone can open an NC 529 Account with as little as $25. Friends and family can make donations too! Don’t forget to share these money-saving tips with them as well!