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Tax Credits and Deductions for Parents of College Students

Tax Credits and Deductions for Parents of College Students

Tax Credits and Deductions for Parents of College Students

 

No one likes paying for college and no one likes doing their taxes. Fortunately there are a few ways to make the process more pleasant during tax time with tax credits and deductions for parents of college students. These college student tax credits can give you a few of your tuition dollars back from the government when you file your taxes each year.

For more posts about Paying for College:

How to Complete Your FAFSA

The Complete Guide to Paying for College

 

tax credits and deductions for parents of college students

 

Tax Credits and Deductions for Parents of College Students

 

There are 2 tax credits and one tax deduction available to parents of college students. They are the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the Student Loan Interest Deduction.

 

The American Opportunity Credit

The American Opportunity Credit is a credit available to parents of college students who claim their student as a dependent on their taxes. College students who are not dependents on anyone else’s return may also claim the credit.

If your adjusted gross income is below $90,000 for single filers and $180,000 for joint filers, you can take up to a $2500 credit per eligible student on your return. The cool thing about credits (as opposed to deductions) is that they come straight off your tax bill.

Your college student must be pursuing a degree or other recognized credential, be at least a half-time student, and have a social security number to claim this credit.

The other cool thing about this credit is that you could potentially receive CASH BACK. 40% of the credit is refundable for most taxpayers.

 

Lifetime Learning Credit

The Lifetime Learning Credit is another credit available to parents of college students. You cannot take both the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit on the same return. Usually the AOC is better, but you can only take the AOC for 4 years per eligible student. The Lifetime Learning Credit can be taken for an unlimited number of years. So, if you are still paying for expenses after 4 years, you can switch to the LLC.

Although the Lifetime Learning Credit has a lower income threshold ($68,000 for single filers and $136,000 for joint filers), its eligibility requirements are not as strict. It does not require that the student be pursuing a degree and includes courses to acquire or improve job skills and it can be claimed for one or more courses.

The LLC will not result in a refund on your return. It can only reduce the amount you owe.

 

Student Loan Interest Deduction

The student loan interest deduction is not a credit. It is a deduction, meaning it reduces your income, not your tax liability. The maximum deduction is $2,500.

This deduction can be taken by the person who is claiming the student as a dependent AND is legally obligated to pay the student loan interest.

The person who is legally obligated on the loan will receive a 1098-E from each institution to whom $600 or more in interest was paid during the tax year.

The income threshold for this deduction is $85,000 for single taxpayers and $170,000 for joint taxpayers.

 

Tax Credits and Deductions for Parents of College Students Cheat Sheet

I created a cheat sheet to summarize the information in this post. It is available in The Printables Library. You can access it below. These college student tax credits and student loan interest deduction are complicated in their eligibility, so I encourage you to consult a tax professional. I have done my best to report accurate information, which I obtained from IRS Publication 970.  

tax credits and deductions for college students

Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

More from Almost Empty Nest:

crockpot meals for two
How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30

 

Many years ago I read an article about How to Make New Year’s Resolutions. The author said that you should make a resolution in each of these categories: financial, social, intellectual, and physical. Because I was a Christian, I added a spiritual category.

Several years later, after reading Mark 12:30, it occurred to me that every goal, whether physical, financial, social, or intellectual is ultimately a spiritual goal. We are called to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30) Our entire being works together in everything we do to honor our creator. This post tells you How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30.

A FREE PRINTABLE 18 Page Workbook is available to assist you as you make your New Year’s Resolutions.

How to Make New Year's Resolutions with Mark 12:30

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30

 

Taking time to review the year behind and plan for the year ahead is a process everyone should undertake. As the Christmas decorations come down and we begin to rest from the frenzy of the prior days, sitting down for a few hours with a notebook, a pen, and a warm beverage to plan the year ahead is a gift we should give ourselves. Here are some steps to help you through the process:

Meditate on Mark 12:30.

“Love the Lord your God with all your HEART (relationships with others) and with all your SOUL (relationship with God) and with all your MIND (my intellect and skills) and with all your STRENGTH (my body, my finances, my time, my surroundings.)

HEART: relationships with others. Think about the relationships in your life. What do you need to do to improve these relationships? What relationships do you need to let go of? Who do you need to forgive? How can you live at peace with yourself and others?

Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

1 John 3:18: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”

SOUL: relationship with God. What do you need to do to become closer to God?

        Psalm 119:175:  “Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.”

        I can’t recommend enough reading the entire chapter of Psalm 119 as you think on your  relationship with God

MIND: A vast category of learning and expanding. It’s not a category of just eliminating the pollutants, but enriching our thoughts with good books, good ideas, new skills, new people. Learn something new this year and use that skill in service to God and man.

Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

James 1:5:  “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

STRENGTH: physical goals – the bulk of most resolutions – weight, exercise, diet, finances, home improvement, careers, etc. This category could be called “taking care of business.”

These items are the things that strengthen or weaken our hearts, souls, and minds. If our “business” is out of whack, it strains our relationships with others and with God and keeps our minds focused in the wrong place. If our hearts, souls, and minds are out of whack, we have difficulty accomplishing our strengthening goals.

We may even add harmful habits to distract us from our hearts, souls, and minds. Think about what business you need to take care of. What to you need to do to keep your body healthy? How are you spending your money? Are you taking care of the home you are blessed with?

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Luke 11:36: “Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

Ephesians 4:1: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received”

Put your goals in writing.

 The FREE PRINTABLE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION WORKBOOK is a great place to write down your goals for the new year! 

 

Run some tests.

  • Is it realistic? Is the goal reasonable and accomplish-able or is it just a fantasy?
  • Is it measurable? Should it be measurable? How will you know if you have accomplished your goal or not? Some goals are easy to measure. Did you clean out the closet and give unneeded items to charity or sell them as part of your financial goals? Others are not easily measured, like relationships. While there are concrete, measurable steps that can be taken in your relationships, in the end, only you will know if you are at peace in your relationships.
  • Is it about bananas? Is it a fad or a narrow dictate from an article or book? I reference the lowly banana because periodically I see an article citing the diabolical consequences of eating bananas. Having spent 7 years attending high school cross country and track meets observing thousands of abnormally skinny kids consume millions of pounds of bananas, I can assure you that banana peels make a mess, but they are not the sole cause of an expanding waistline. Realize that certain items, like health and finances, can not be improved with one gimmicky change.
  • Is it a good use of resources and time? There are things that are not worth your time or resources and can become an obsession.

Make a plan – a real one.

Write it down! All the steps! Write them down!

 Be accountable.   

I’m not talking about bearing your soul to everyone on Facebook; just decide who or what is going to spur you on.

 Finally, be patient with yourself.

Resolve to love the person God created and not the one you wished he had created. Just keep moving forward. You can do it.

A new year is a time for self-reflection and planning. Following the instructions for How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Using Mark 12:30 as a guide will help you keep your plans and goals in perspective of the ultimate goal. May you be blessed in the new year.

More From Almost Empty Nest:

Christmas Planner Template

Christmas Planner Template

Digital Christmas Planner Template

 

I use both paper planners and digital planners depending on what I am doing. This year I nerded out and created a complete Digital Christmas Planner Template because digital planners win every time there are numbers to be added.  Christmas lists and budgets and meals are items that are just complicated enough to need a digital Christmas Planner Template. I can’t imagine adding up my budget by hand or erasing and re-adding the numbers every time a change is made.

If you, however, prefer paper even when numbers are involved, check out Stress Less this Christmas for a link to a beautiful paper Christmas Planner created by a friend of mine.

Otherwise, read on to find out how to completely organize your Christmas meals, gift lists, budget, and more with my Digital Christmas Planner Template.

Christmas planner template

Digital Christmas Planner Template

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. 

 

This Digital Christmas Planner Template was created to be used with a FREE AirTable Account. AirTable is a super cool organization system that is kinda like a spreadsheet system, but WAY BETTER!! Cells can be formatted to be checkboxes, multiple choice items, dates, times, text, and more. This is awesome for Christmas organization because you need to plan meals and other gatherings, make grocery lists, make gift lists, decide on a budget, and it sure does help if your lists can talk to each other.

 

The ability for the sheets to talk to each other is one of the coolest things about AirTable.

You make a list of recipients on one sheet, then you are able to choose the recipient on your Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other shopping sheets.

THEN, it gets even better. The gifts will also appear by the recipient on the Gift Recipient sheet.

You can plan your meals by occasion. It does not even have to be a full meal. You could set up a meal for the treats you need to bring to your daughter’s classroom party.

You will then be able to select which meal or occasion every item on your grocery list goes with.

AirTable is also an APP that you can download on your phone so you will be able to take your lists with you everywhere you go. All the information will sync from your computer to your phone app.

Every good organization system needs a place for a “Brain Dump.” List everything you can think of that you need to get done. If you give it a date, that date will appear on your calendar.

This entire Christmas Planner Template works with a FREE AirTable Account.

Prefer Paper?

Best Books on Parenting Adult Children

Best Books on Parenting Adult Children

 

Best Books on Parenting Adult Children

 

Are you looking for a book on parenting adult children? I think many people are, but the problem is that so few have been written. I have read many books on empty nesting, but only 3 solely dedicated to Parenting Adult Children. While I am sorry I can’t give you a long list of the best books on parenting adult children, I will share with you what I have found.

For more information about parenting adult children:

Parenting Adult Children

10 Best Books about Empty Nesting: Many of these books have sections about adult children

5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester

 

best books on parenting adult children

Best Books On Parenting Adult Children

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  

“Empty Nest, Full Life” by Jill Savage

This book is about empty nesting, but the entire first section deals with our adult children.

This book is the deepest, most vulnerable, and raw of all of the books I read. The first half of the book concerns relationships with adult children. Jill has truly struggled and come out the other side including loving her homosexual son and his friends and dealing with mental illness in another son. Her insight into what drives us as parents to try to control our adult children and beat ourselves up if they do not “turn out” like we would have wanted is unmatched in any of the other books I read.

A quote:

“… I’d made my children’s behavior an idol. I was using them to define myself. In order to have a healthy relationship with my kids, I had to let go of my idols.”

 

“Doing Life with Your Adult Children” by Jim Burns

Best Quote in the Book: 

“No parent wants to see a child end up homeless, make unwise decisions, or lead a negative lifestyle. But this is where parents must face their fears and decide what is best for their child in the long run.”

“Doing Life with your Adult Children” is a practical guide to having good relationships with your grown children. He covers topics such as when to insert your opinion, avoiding entitlement, in-laws, and stepfamilies, grandchildren, and financial planning (including estate planning) with your kids.

best books on parenting adult children

“Praying the Scriptures for your Adult Children” by Jodie Berndt

Best Quote in the Book: 

“God doesn’t want us to trust in an outcome, he wants us to trust in him.” This quote comes from the Epilogue of the book, but it is a great summary for the book.

“Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children”  is as much about praying over ourselves as it is praying for our children. One of the biggest struggles we moms face as our children grow up is letting them go and giving them and their decisions to the Lord.

best books on parenting adult children

“How to Really Love Your Adult Child” by Gary Chapman  and Ross Campbell, MD

 

At first I was not too sure about this book. It starts with a long dialogue about our culture and its affects on our kids. While culture is always a factor in all of our lives, I don’t find it helpful to wring our hands over it and give up. As I moved into the chapters the advice became much more practical and helpful.

Ross Campbell is a psychiatrist specializing in children and family issues. Gary Chapman is a minister and counselor. I appreciate the expertise of a physician especially when dealing with depression, ADHD, and other issues in our children.

Unfortunately that’s all there is folks in my list of Best Books on Parenting Adult Children. I reviewed one more book. It was written in 2008 and seemed out of date. The author was talking about being pregnant in 1965! Her child is older than I am, so I did not include it. 

 

What is Your

Empty Nest Super Power?

How to Own Your Nest, Live your Passion, and Love your Life!

 

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crockpot meals for two
Small Coffee Bar Ideas

Small Coffee Bar Ideas

Small Coffee Bar Ideas on a Budget

Looking to create a small coffee bar? Here are some small coffee bar ideas that you can create on a budget.

For more apartment ideas:

College Apartment Kitchen Idea

New Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Care Package

College Apartment Recipes

small coffee bar ideas

Small Coffee Bar Ideas on a Budget

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

THE PROBLEM

One of the problems with an apartment is a small kitchen with a small amount of counter space. This picture shows my daughter’s apartment kitchen counters on move in day – not much there!

small coffee bar ideas

So what is a little apartment kitchen with no counter space to do? Add some with a bar cart. You can use a bar cart for a lot of things – for drinks, to serve food to a gathering, or as a coffee bar. These girls start their days with coffee so we chose to make a small coffee bar.

And if you are in college or just starting out, you need small coffee bar ideas on a budget!

FIRST THINGS FIRST

The first step to creating a small coffee bar on a budget is to find a reasonably priced bar cart. Many affordable carts in all finishes are available on websites like Amazon and Zulily. This iDesign bar cart cart came from Zulily.

idesign bar cart

ASSEMBLE THE CART

A budget bar cart will come in a box and will need to be put together. Don’t let that scare you. Assembling a bar cart is super simple. My daughter and I were able to easily put it together  in about 15 minutes. The only tool we needed was a phillips head screwdriver. I even forgot to take my Covid mask off. (I was wearing it because the other girls and some of their parents were in the apartment.)

college apartment kitchen ideas

One of the best things about a bar cart is that they almost always have casters. Being able to move the cart around is handy in a small space if you want to rearrange.

coffee bar

SMALL COFFEE BAR IDEAS

Your coffee bar will need several items:

The first is a coffee maker. A Keurig is easy to use and the pods are inexpensive compared to other types of single serve coffee makers. You can save money by buying refillable pods and putting your own ground coffee in the pods. If you use refillable pods, I recommend filters. I make a pot of coffee every morning in my Keurig caraffe. Using filters in the refillable pods is the only way to go to avoid the mess of cleaning the pod all the time.

A fun addition to the coffee bar are coffee flavoring syrups. Don’t forget to get the pumps as well.

Add a plant or other decorations to add personality to your cart.

We added a mug tree. The gold looks modern and sets off nicely against the black cart. The gold mug tree came from Amazon.

You need mugs for your coffee and you cannot go wrong with white mugs. They also set off well against the black cart. The white mugs came from Target. Here is a similar white mug set from Amazon.

coffee bar

If you have room, you can add water bottles or a container for your coffee pods. These green Perrier water bottles add more personality and color to this small coffee bar.

college apartment kitchen ideas

DOESN’T IT LOOK AMAZING!

This small coffee bar is so cute. What fun to grab coffee from this coffee bar every morning on their way to class. (Or to their desks in their rooms. It is 2020 after all.) You can use these small coffee bar ideas to make a coffee bar of your own.

Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

More from Almost Empty Nest:

first apartment ideas
7 new apartment expenses
new apartment checklist
College Apartment Kitchen Ideas

College Apartment Kitchen Ideas

College Apartment Kitchen Ideas 

 

My daughter and her friends moved into their first college apartment last week. I was overjoyed to help them with some college apartment kitchen ideas. We worked to set up and organize their pantry and their refrigerator. We also styled a bar cart as an adorable coffee bar.

You can find all of the details, cool things for a college apartment, and the steps we took to organize their college apartment kitchen.

 

For more college apartment ideas:

New Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Care Package

College Apartment Recipes

college apartment kitchen ideas

College Apartment Kitchen Ideas

This post is sponsored by Zulily. All opinions are my own. For more information see my disclosure page.

 

COLLEGE APARTMENT KITCHEN IDEAS TO ORGANIZE YOUR REFRIGERATOR

A shared refrigerator can turn into a big jumbled mess pretty quickly, so we worked to give each girl a spot to store their food. We started with 4 – 8″ Fridge Binz Caddies from Zulily – one for each girl. I made labels for each bin with their names. It is nice for each person to have their own space in the refrigerator in a shared college apartment kitchen.

college apartment kitchen
The girls selected mostly grab and go items like cuties, yogurt, and individual snacks as well other refrigerated foods they wanted to have at home.
college apartment kitchen

Their refrigerator is organized and super functional thanks to these bins from Zulily.

college apartment kitchen
COLLEGE APARTMENT KITCHEN IDEAS FOR THE PANTRY

They decided they wanted to organize the pantry by category. We used food storage bins from Zulily. I made labels for categories like pasta, breakfast, baking, and snacks.

college apartment kitchen
college apartment kitchen
college apartment kitchen
Organizing their pantry from the beginning will keep them from having to conduct a major cleanout later. The bins give them a place for each type of food and they will be able to put groceries away right into their proper spot.
college apartment kitchen
We had an extra bin and decided to use it for cleaning supplies under the sink.
COLLEGE APARTMENT KITCHEN IDEAS: HOW TO MAKE A COFFEE BAR

College apartments often have very little counter space. A bar cart is the perfect solution. It can be added to the living area of the apartment and set up as a coffee bar.

idesign bar cart
This iDesign bar cart from Zulily was easy to transport from home in its box. My daughter and I were able to easily assemble it in about 15 minutes.
college apartment kitchen ideas
The casters on the bottom are a great addition. They will be able to move the cart around anytime they wish.
coffee bar

We had the best time styling the cart with their coffee maker, syrups, Perrier, and some mugs.

coffee bar
college apartment kitchen ideas
By the end of the day four college students with the help of their parents had moved into the apartment. They are all set to go for the year with these college apartment kitchen ideas and items from Zulily.
college apartment kitchen ideas

Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

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