OK, I get it. The last thing your teen probably wants to think about this summer is saving money for college. But let’s be real. There’s no better time.
They’re free from their normal responsibilities with classes and homework. And, after spending a ton of time at home lately, they may want to do something (anything) that gets them focused on the future, instead of the crazy, uncertain times we’re in right now.
Here are three things you can encourage your teen to do this summer that will help them add to their college fund:
1. Apply for scholarships
One of the absolute best ways to get money for college is by filling out those scholarship applications like it’s a job. I usually recommend teens spend at least an hour per day on the scholarship application process, whether that means finding the ones they want to apply for, organizing them by deadline, writing essays, etc. That’s time they would have spent on social media anyway!
You can help by pointing them toward a good online scholarship search tool. And if they already have their high school diploma, remind them to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to see if they qualify for any government-funded scholarships or grants.
2. Make a budget
This one is huge. Your teen needs to know how to make their money work for them, instead of the other way around. Sticking to a monthly budget is the way to do that. This is important no matter how old they are, and it’s a skill they’ll need for the rest of their lives.
When your teen gets intentional about tracking their expenses, and looking for ways to cut back and save, they’ll be surprised by how much extra money they have to put toward college.
Your teen can use an easy, free budgeting app like EveryDollar to keep track of their income, purchases, and savings goals.
3. Start a business
Speaking of an income, does your teen know it’s their most powerful wealth-building tool? Job opportunities look a little different now than they have in past summers, so they may need to get creative. There are still plenty of delivery services, restaurants, and grocery stores hiring right now.
Or, they may want to think about starting their own businesses. Encourage them to brainstorm ways they can use their skills to provide services people need, whether it’s lawn care, dog walking, nannying, online or in-person tutoring, or sewing masks. Here are some ideas to help them get started.
Whatever money-making route your teen decides to take this summer, remind them to take time to rest and have fun, too. And help them stay focused on the fact that all their hard work will be so worth it when they’re going to college without student loans!
Since 2003, Anthony ONeal has helped hundreds of thousands of people make smart decisions with their money, relationships, and education. He’s a #1 national bestselling author of "Debt-Free Degree" and national bestselling author of "The Graduate Survival Guide." He recently released "Destroy Your Student Loan Debt." He travels the country spreading his encouraging message to help teens and young adults start their lives off right and people of all ages succeed with money. You can follow Anthony on YouTube and Instagram @AnthonyONeal and online at anthonyoneal.com or facebook.com/aoneal.