74. Save $1,000s per year – 9 ways to save money on education
1. Money for nothing. Billions of dollars of grants, scholarships, work-study programs and low cost loans are available every year. Don't pay a company to find them for you, because there are places you can search for free. The Internet is a great resource for this. Websites to check out include fastweb.com, but there are many others. Just do a search for “college scholarships.” You can also get lots of helpful advice from any college admissions office.
2. FAFSA first. FAFSA stands for “free application for federal student aid,” and its basically a standardized form that will help you find out what kind and how much aid will be available to your student. Colleges and universities use it as a basis for the tuition packages they offer, and nearly every scholarship, work-study and other dispenser of student aid also uses it. Bottom line? If you've got a kid going to college, you're going to need it, so fill it out as early as possible, especially since some grants are first come, first served. You can get the form from any college, or you can fill it out online www.fafsa.ed.gov.
3. Buy textbooks online, used or both. Used to be you were trapped paying outrageous prices to the monopoly known as the campus bookstore. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, you can buy new and used textbooks online and save serious bucks. Do a search for “used text books.”
I first learned the power of this back in college, when I discovered that I could get my textbooks for free, by buying and selling them at Amazon.com. I was paying a few bucks (at most) for my textbooks that many of my classmates were paying over $100 for.
No students look forward to spending too much money on textbooks. Thanks to Chegg, they can buy or rent used books and save up to 90%.
4. Get the Childcare Tax Credit (for children up to 13 years)
Sometimes it seems that it’s more expensive for both parents to work than for one to stay home and take care of the kids. And in many situations, it is. However, the Childcare Tax Credit eases the burden of childcare costs, especially if you work only part time. The Childcare Tax Credit is exactly that — a credit. This makes it incredibly valuable as it directly reduces your tax bill. This credit is calculated based on childcare expenses for children up to age 13 (older if they are physically or mentally incapable of caring for themselves), that amounts to 20-35 percent of qualifying expenses depending on your Adjusted Gross Income. Maximum qualifying expenses are $3,000 for one qualifying dependent and $6,000 for two or more.
7. Withdraw penalty-free from your traditional IRA to pay higher education expenses for yourself, your children, or grandchildren. You’ll have to pay tax on the withdrawals at your regular income tax rate, but no early withdrawal penalty will apply.
8. File a tax return every year you are due a refund. If your earnings are so low that you are not required to file, you’ll need to file a return in order to claim a refund of withheld income taxes. If you wait more than two years to file, the IRS is not required to issue you a check.
9. Keep track of the cost of books and equipment you purchased while in school. When you begin working, you may be able to depreciate (for tax-reasons) those items that you use for your career.