Cans, Coins and College – My Story

The whole premise of One K Ways is to help each other reach our financial goals. I started my personal journey when my son was born. I had sticker shock when I discovered that it would cost about a quarter of a million dollars just to send him to college, so I decided that I needed to get myself in gear and start saving. I had a monetary goal and a specific timeframe to achieve that goal. I decided that it would be fun to share my adventure. In additional to the $250,000, I am on a quest to come up with 1000 different ways to earn extra money without taking time away from your family. There are a multitude of different and creative ways to make extra money without getting a new boss and working a second and third job. I’m going to try and explore as many as I can and share what I’ve learned with you; as well as have some brainstorming sessions and looking at ways to save some money. I hope that you join me on my expedition.

My Story:
My son was born in May of 2012; A blessing and an unexpected addition to my life.  People always tell you how much your life changes when you have kids and boy, are they right.  The year before my son was born I bought my first house, bought a new pickup truck (which made moving much easier), got engaged, she got pregnant and we added my son to the Family Unit (The “FU”) over a 10 month period.  And in one day, my paycheck got stretched to the point of fraying.  It was stretched between a mortgage, car payment, living expenses, etc. to picking up two more mouths to feed, more health insurance, additional medical bills, additional car insurance, and the list keeps going. 

I prepared for this as much as I could; within reason.  I didn’t stop eating out, but I did cut back.  I didn’t cut back to living on rice and beans, but I tightened the belt a bit.  What I did make sure to do, was to pay off as many of the medical costs as I could.  We prepaid the known expenses so we were only hit with some of the typical fees after we were home from the hospital.  I was also careful about watching my debt.  The credit cards were in the black and I had a little cushion in savings.

So there I was, living on a new tight budget and getting creative to make sure that we were able to make our ends meet and stay out of debt.  I calculated the budget and if we played our cards right, we could pull of a single income home for a while.  That’s all well-in-good, but I was perplexed with all of the unknowns and how to be prepared for what was coming down the pipe.

Heavy on my mind was what to do about college.  I did manage to graduate college, but I did it the hard way.  I worked 50-60 hour weeks and went to school at night and on the weekends.  The advantage was that I was able to remain self-sufficient with the income that I earned, I was able to continue to grow and advance within the company and my employer had a tuition reimbursement program.  So, I was able to work from the bottom of the totem pole to a management position and managed to graduate with no student loans or dept.  It was exhausting, but a beautiful thing!

Now I’m figuring out how to save to make sure that my son has the opportunity to go to college.  I have lots of ideas and I know that I’m not going to make all of the right decisions, but I invite you to tag along and share ideas, successes and stories of your adventure/quest.

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