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  • #2449

    After a solid 10 months of following my SUM180 plan with good success, I had to side-step my plan to get through some hefty tuition expenses. I have two children in college and my 529 ran out in late 2015. The six-figure bill took my breath away. I did not have much of a choice but to use every bit of cash (and more) to pay the bills. Here’s is what I have learned this past year:
    1) If you have not started saving for college, start NOW. Our 529 covered close to $200k in college expenses.
    2) College costs way more than the tuition line. Add in weekly spending, books, travel home, and other miscellaneous expenses.
    3) Even if you do not qualify for need-based aid, your child can get a Stafford Loan through FAFSA. It serves two purposes: your child has some “skin in the game” and it reduces your cash outlay.
    4) If you need a loan for college there are several out there. If you have good credit, I recommend you look into Wells Fargo and SoFi.
    5) Taking a year off from paying down debt hurts. When I followed my SUM180 plan I reduced my debt and I felt in control. A year away from my plan put me almost back to the beginning.

    That said, I made it through the year and just made my last tuition payment (ever) for one of my children. I am ready to get back on board with my plan. Anyone have any advice on restarting your SUM180 plan?


    I’m with you, Suzanne. I made the last tuition payment for one of my sons (ever) this year, too! He seemed to feel even better than I did when it was complete – he was so hungry to be out on his own. I’m still providing support on some things but nothing like college costs. The most important thing for me on getting refocused on my plan was to review my expenses again. I carried around the worksheet reminding me to pull my expenses together for no less than six weeks. I’m not sure if it was more “I don’t have time” or “I don’t want to know.” Not surprisingly, there were several areas of spending that had picked up. Knowing what they are has been freeing, though, because I really don’t care about many of the things I spend money on compared to wanting to be secure in my financial future. I find the idea of downsizing very free-ing, and am looking forward to doing more of it.

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