I was asleep when my daughter, Kelly, received her email acceptance from FSU. Her screams of jubilation woke me and then after the initial celebration, my wheels began to spin. What supplies, clothes, and spending money would she need? How could I afford this?
Kelly’s grades and hard work helped her earn about 75% of her tuition and her father covered the rest, but I still needed to have her ready for school by August. I live off of a teacher’s salary, so money is not plentiful. Five simple steps helped in sending Kelly to school with everything she needed and then some-
Keep the Change
From college acceptance day until the day before my child left for school, every single piece of change I accumulated went into a jar. The total amount of the jar was over two hundred dollars. Kelly used that money for the first weeks of college. I had a book bill on my plate, so I did not have to worry about coming up with the extras the first few weeks of school. The change covered all the extra expenses.
We live in the tropics, and South Florida is hot. Really hot. Tallahassee, Kelly’s destination, has a real winter. She needed winter clothes. Every single payday after her acceptance, we went to the outlet mall and purchased one item. We bought sweaters, socks, jackets, tights, boots, and hats. By beginning early, we were able to catch the winter ” end of season” sales and spread out the expenses.
Under the Bed Tupperware
I bought large rolling Tupperware containers. Three of them fit under Kelly’s bed. Each time I went to Target or the grocery store I bought a small item such as a can opener or shampoo. I put the items in the containers. Buying one extra item did not cut into my cost too much and again, spreading out the expenses meant no large amount of money was ever taken out of my account. She stacked the containers in the back of the car on moving day, and then slid them under her dorm bed when she arrived.
Every time I got a gift card, I set it aside for Kelly. Once she started college, I would dole out the cards every few weeks. Having grocery, restaurant, and gas gift cards seemed like a treat to her and saved me a ton of money.
We cleaned out both our closets and sold the items at a consignment shop. The money came in handy for the needed linens and towels. When a shop would not take any of our items, I donated them in order to get the tax credit.
A college acceptance can be a joy, and yet still create a lot of stress. Money is tight all over. These five simple steps allowed me to save money and allowed my to daughter to be prepared for going to college.