Some call it the “latte factor” — small, regular purchases that add up over time. This holiday season, give your student gifts that’ll offset such expenses. Here are just a few ideas:
529 Plan Contribution: Got a college-bound relative of friend? Do the latte factor in reverse. Contribute to their 529 college savings plan. If they lack such a plan, start one for them. No federal income taxes on 529 earnings, and 529 contributions are exempt from federal gift taxes while many states offer contributors tax breaks.
Auto Club Membership: If your student drives to college and your insurance doesn’t cover his or her emergency roadside assistance, various auto clubs will. They can save lots of money in case the student’s car breaks down.
Backpack-Sized Thermos: Help your student minimize those expensive campus coffeeshop trips, especially when you match this with a home coffee maker.
Filtered Water Bottle: Your student can avoid expensive bottled water. Fill one of these from any tap and it’s internal filter will remove bacteria and other impurities.
Cash, Gas, or Gift Card: Help your student cover purchases at his or her book store, grocery, movie theater, favorite restaurant, etc.
Home Cookbook: Students, especially those who live off-campus, spend huge amounts eating out — partly because they don’t know how to fix their own meals. So create a cookbook with their favorite recipes, especially the fast and easy ones.
Non-Perishable Bulk Items: Save your off-campus student on weeks or months of necessities — canned goods, spices, cleaning and laundry supplies, toiletries.
Piggy Bank: Encourage your to put leftover pocket change in it at the end of each day and see how much builds up over a week, a month, or a semester!
Pizza Dish: Making pizza can be fun and cheaper than eating out.
Popcorn Popper: Popcorn’s an inexpensive snack, and machine-popped can be healthier than microwaved. The old fashioned (not air) poppers can also be used to heat soups and other light foods.
Space Heater: Does your student live off-campus in a northern climate? A small, efficient speed heater can save money by heating one room — e.g. the bathroom or bedroom — without paying to warm up the whole apartment.
Whether these or others, this year, give gifts that keep on giving by helping to reduce your student’s college expenses!
College Affordability Solutions offers expertise in strategies to help reduce what students spend to go to and attend college. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 366-5354 for assistance.