Back to School Savings

In a few short weeks, summer vacation will be over and it will be time to get back to school! Whether your child is returning to middle school, going back to college, or you yourself are entering graduate studies, make a plan! Know your expenses ahead of time, separate the needs from the wants, set a budget, and discuss loan options with your credit union.

First, understand your expenses. The National Retail Federation's annual survey reveals that the majority of parents will spend over $600 per child to get ready for the upcoming school year.  College Data records the national average for college tuition at $32,405 for private colleges and $23,893 for out-of-state residents at public universities. You are one of the "lucky" ones if you are in-state and attending a public university, which are currently averaging $9,410 a year. And that's just tuition, not books and cost of living!

But these numbers are averages only and can be offset in part by smart shopping and budgeting. Not every child will need $600 worth of back to school clothes and supplies, and eating a few breakfasts in your dorm a week can help you avoid the unlimited meal plan costs. If you are a returning student, or the parent of one, recall last year's purchases - did you buy anything and end up not needing it? Can you purchase expensive class items such as calculators and textbooks from friends? Does the backpack you need to replace have a warranty? Go down your list and see where you can find economical alternatives to purchasing new!

Scholarships are not just for college students. Many local and national organizations offer scholarships from kindergarten through college; don't overlook them to help with the younger students. maintains a list of scholarships for children who are under thirteen as well as providing excellent resources for college students.

Finally, if you are in need of loans to help cover the cost of education, always discuss options with us at GHFCU before you pull out the credit card. You may be eligible for a small personal loan that will have a much better interest rate than a major credit card company can offer!

To all new and returning students, we wish you a successful and fun upcoming school year!

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