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


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.  

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crockpot meals for two
Christmas Planner Template

Christmas Planner Template

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 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 Christmas Planner Template.

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 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.

Check out the Complete Holiday Sanity Saver Christmas Planner Template!

Still Prefer Paper?

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 2020 New Year's Resolutions.

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 2020. 


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:

Do You Need a Driving Contract with your Teen?

Do You Need a Driving Contract with your Teen?

Do Parents Need A Teen Driving Contract?


Prior to our first son turning 16, our insurance company sent us a driving contract for us to execute with him before we let him loose on the streets. It had not occurred to us to have a contract with our son covering our expectations of him in order to have the privilege of driving. The more my husband and I read the contract and thought about this new privilege, the more we were convinced we did need to make a written contract with him. What do you think? Do Parents Need A Teen Driving Contract ?

Do Parents Need a Teen Driving Contract?


We decided we did need teen driving contracts. These are the reasons.


·      Driving is a potentially dangerous activity with adult responsibilities and consequences. The privilege should not be given or taken lightly.

·      Driving is not free. We needed a clear understanding between us of what costs we planned to cover and what costs he was expected to cover.

·      A vehicle requires maintenance. We wanted him to understand what our expectations were regarding maintaining his vehicle.

·      Allowing another to ride in your vehicle involves assumption of liability for that passenger’s safety.

·      The signing of the contract ceremonially hands over the keys. It emphasizes the seriousness of the new endeavor.

·      It has become a fun family tradition for us to take our new driver out for dinner and sign it with him. (Have the ceremony a few days before the driver’s test. Once they get that license it will be hard to keep their attention.)

The contract provided by the insurance company was a start for the contract we wrote. Their contract did not completely cover every point we wanted to emphasize and some of their contract was not relevant to our family.


This is the Teen Driving contract we wrote:

Teen Driving Contract

Between ___(mom)___, _____(Dad)___ and ___(teen)__

 Understand that it is only because we love you and are concerned for your safety and the safety of others that we ask you to enter into this agreement with us. We are extremely proud of you and are excited for you as you take on this very adult responsibility.

I, ___(teen)________, promise to NEVER:

·      Text while driving. Ever.

·      Drive without wearing my seatbelt and I will require all my passengers to wear theirs.

·      Ride in a vehicle where the driver has consumed alcohol or illegal substances or prescription drugs that are not theirs.

·      Use my cell phone for any purpose while driving. If I need to make a call, I will pull over. I will not answer my cell phone while driving.

·      Engage in distracting behaviors, like eating, grooming, or adjusting the radio/cell phone music while driving.

·      Drive with more passengers than allowed by law.

·      Drive someone else’s vehicle or allow someone to drive mine unless it is an absolute emergency. (If possible at all, call Mom or Dad first.)

 I, ___(teen)_________, promise to:

·      Abide by all traffic laws and signs.

·      Check and adjust my seat, rearview, and side mirrors before driving.

·      Take proper care of my vehicle, which includes:

            Maintaining a least a quarter tank of gas at all times.

            Changing the oil at the proper intervals.

            Notifying Mom or Dad immediately if any warning lights appear.

            Keeping the vehicle clean inside and out.

·      Accept the adult consequences for any mistakes I may make while driving. Adult responsibilities come with adult consequences. Excuses will not change the consequences. All traffic tickets or damages caused by me to any vehicle I am driving and damages to any property belonging to someone else is my sole responsibility. This responsibility includes any increase in insurance costs caused by a mistake on my part. 

·      Be willing to (and with a good attitude) help my family by driving __(siblings)__ to activities or running errands for my family when asked.

 Temporary restrictions (Mom and Dad will sign off on these when they feel they are no longer necessary.)

·      I will text Mom or Dad my location and driving intentions. Mom and Dad need to know where I am and my vehicle are at all times. (e.g. Text when I arrive at and leave school, text when I leave one location and go to another.)

·      I will not enter any highway system without specific permission from Mom or Dad. (A highway is any road with on/off ramps, speeds limits over 50 mph, no stoplights, etc.)

 I, ______(teen)__________, understand that the consumption or use of alcohol, illegal substances, tobacco, or prescription drugs that are not prescribed for me will result in the immediate revocation of my driving privileges, as well as other consequences that are deemed necessary. I, __________(teen)_____, also understand that driving is a privilege and that none of the cars owned by our family fully belongs to me. This contract is not to be considered an exhaustive list of every responsibility and may be updated or amended as necessary.


We, ___(Mom and Dad)_____, agree to allow ________(teen)_________ to have the privilege of driving under the agreement stated in this contract!


Signed and dated,

 ________________________________________________________                              _________________________

 ________________________________________________________                              _________________________

________________________________________________________                               _________________________


What do you think? Do Parents Need a Driving Contract With Their Teens? Do you have or plan to have a teen driving contract?

The Teen Driving Contract is available in the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. Join below to access the Teen Driving Contract and all of the other printables featured in Almost Empty Nest blog posts.


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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), Bible Verse printables and more.

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables through the same link above.

More From Almost Empty Nest:

How to Teach Teens about Money

How to Teach Teens about Money

How to Teach Teens about Money



We all pray that one day our children will become not only financially responsible, but also financially independent. As we search for How to Teach Teens about Money, we have to remember that our children have already absorbed quite a bit about money whether that was our intention or not. Whether you have actively taught your kids financial lessons or have just let them watch you, they have a few things figured out.

How to Teach Teens About Money


By the time they turn 13, they have figured out where they rank in the socio-economic picture of the environment in which they live. They have figured out if they have more or less stuff or go on more or fewer vacations than their friends. They have watched you pay for things with cash, checks, or plastic cards. They have watched you withdraw cash from an ATM. They may have been told “we can't afford that” or they may  have never those words. They have also probably listened to financial discussions between their parents. Whether they had an allowance and were responsible for some expenses or mom and dad paid for everything, they already have some ideas about money and how to handle it. No matter what you have told or will tell your children about money, the number one thing they will learn about money is how you handle it.

The big change from elementary school money management to teen year money management are the times mom and dad are not around and they need money. How they get that money is something every family should spend some time thinking about. Are you going to hand them money every time they walk out the door or are you going to give them an allowance and expect them to cover some of their expenses? Will they have to earn their allowance? What items should they pay for? What do they need to know now, so that when they leave home, they can manage their money? The following steps are meant to help you as you think through these questions.


  • Even if your children are not yet teens, open a savings account for them and give them some allowance.

    Giving children an allowance in their elementary years begins their education in saving, giving, and making purchasing decisions. It amazed me how many times I saw my children decide against an item after I told them, “Yes, you may have it, but you will have to pay for it.” We gave a fixed allowance to our children. If they wanted extra money, they could earn it by doing jobs like yard work. We let them determine their own rate of savings and giving.


  • Discuss with your teens and tweens how they are going to acquire a car.

    A car is most likely the first major purchase a teen will face. We required our kids to contribute to their car purchase. Knowing this years in advance gave them plenty of incentive to work for extra money and to save. My husband took them to used car lots and showed them cars online so they would know how much money they would need to purchase what they wanted. If they previously thought they would be happy with the car they could buy with mom and dad's contribution, a trip to see actual cars showed them they needed to save for something more.


  • Talk to your teens and younger children about how you manage your money.

    They don't need to know every gritty detail of your finances, but discuss your overall financial values and strategies with them. If something might confuse them, make sure they understand why you are doing things a particular way. For example: I almost always pay with credit cards. I do this because I want the airline miles, it is convenient, and it is safer than cash. (I know someone whose purse was stolen with her cash envelopes for the month inside.) However, I have told my children one million times that I ALWAYS pay the balance due IN FULL EVERY SINGLE MONTH. Whatever your financial situation and the story behind it, share it with them.


  • Prepaid Debit Cards are great for learning.

    I am not big on carrying lots of cash. As the kids transitioned to having more responsibility for expenses (in their tween years), we gave them prepaid debit cards. Each month, they told me how much of their allowance money to load on the card, how much they wanted in cash, and how much to put in savings. It was complicated with three children, but we made it through those years by insisting they keep track of their own “extra money” hours, writing everything down on a log sheet I provided, and turning it all in to me once a month.


  • Transition them to a checking account with a debit/ATM card.

    After they had the basics down, we put their allowance straight into their savings accounts. They were then responsible for transferring spending money into checking and going to the ATM if they needed cash.


  • Decide what expenses they should pay for with their allowance.

    This decision is personal and each family has to make their own decisions. Our kids have been responsible for gas, birthday gifts for their friends (this is a biggie as sometimes there are several birthday celebrations every month), meals out on their own, and entertainment. We provide for their “needs” as determined by us. Our daughter sometimes buys extra clothes. Our sons would wear ratty shorts and a t-shirt on a 15 degree day rather than buy their own clothes. We also have a driving contract with our kids. If they follow their part of the contract, we pay for insurance and maintenance of their vehicles.


  • Encourage (coerce) them to get a job.

    We have enough yard work at our house to keep our kids busy and in money in their younger teen years, but later we like for them to learn to work for someone else. Our oldest (now in college) was blessed with a very flexible job with four hour shifts, which enabled him to work even during the school year. Our middle son has been an entrepreneur transferring people's VHS recordings to video, shooting and editing events, working as a camera man for his school's football stadium “jumbotron,” and other odd jobs. Our youngest is still on the yard work detail, but is excited to get a job that does not involve our tractor.


  • What is the plan for college?

    Discuss with your teen as you begin the college search how much you will be able to contribute to their education. This number will not necessarily help you rule in and out schools at the outset because the “sticker price” at most schools is not the final price. But make sure that your student applies to at least one “safe” school that the family can afford if scholarships and financial aid do not work out.


  • Set a spending money budget for college.

    This can be a difficult allowance to determine. When our oldest went to college, we made our best guesstimate of what he would need for gas, groceries, personal items, meals out, and entertainment. At the end of the first semester, we re-evaluated and upped his allowance a bit. Another hurdle is the college meal plan. Almost every college will require freshmen students to purchase a meal plan. Many require them to live on campus and purchase one of the pricier plans. My post “The Real Cost of a College Meal Plan” will help you decide on a plan and then budget for meals not eaten at the school.


The teen years can be a challenging time for many families financially. Teen activities are often expensive. Teens want freedom to go out to eat and buy entertainment. They want a car, fashionable clothing, and a smart phone. College is looming. Every family will have many decisions to make and there is no one right way to teach teens about money, but the end goal is the same: rearing financially responsible and independent children.

There are many resources available for managing money. I have listed some below.

  • Apps (too many to list) that help you track your spending.
  • Your bank app (Ours lets us easily transfer money to and from our kids accounts.)
  • Square Cash app is a free app that also allows you to transfer money.
  • Homey is a free app (with in-app purchases) that assigns chores to family members and keeps track of allowance or other rewards earned.
  • Do your kids need a reality check? Go to Jumpstart and complete the reality check exercise. It will tell them how much money they need to earn for their desired spending.
  • The mint has lessons and information for about financial responsibility for kids, teens, and parents.
  • Personal finance books.


Another great post about teens and money from my friend Holly at Phase2Parenting:  Teaching Children about Savings and Credit

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Adulting: 7 Expenses to Consider When You Enter the Real World

Adulting: 7 Expenses to Consider When You Enter the Real World

Adulting: 7 Expenses to Consider When You Enter the Real World


This is a guest post by Melanie Studer of Parenting High Schoolers


Many of our friends have kids who have graduated from college and are starting life out in the real world. It is such an exciting time!  I remember my first year away from home, and the beginning of adulting on my own. There are so many unexpected costs in the real world, but most boil down to finances when you think about it.  Here are 7 Expenses to Consider When You Enter the Real World to discuss with your young adult as they move toward independence.

Adulting: First Apartment Expenses

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.   


Your young adult may need to put a deposit down on an apartment for the first time themselves. It is usually something like the first and last months’ rent, all at once.  This can be a huge expense, and might be an amount to borrow from parents with the understanding that either it will be paid back, or maybe it will be a gift from them for the exiting of their financial care.  

One huge decision is whether or not to have a roommate.  Having a roommate (or 2 or 3), will really help with the cost of rent as well as utilities and food, etc.  Your young adult needs to understand that rent needs to be paid by a certain date each month.  

Be sure that they know to ALWAYS pay their rent on time because there will be a penalty or fee if the deadline is missed.


This is another deposit situation.  It is usually a set amount to cover the utilities being turned on in your young adult's name at a new address.  Parents may need to be paid back for this as well.  

There are many ways to manage this monthly cost.  One way is to unplug anything that's not currently being used.  Even if something is unplugged, it will still pull amps–this costs money!  Also, watch the length of showers, hot water is not free! These seemingly minor adjustments can make a big difference.  

Keep track.  Look at the bill for one month of not paying any attention to doing either of these things. Then, have them make a conscience effort to do just these two things.  Look at the bill again. Is there a difference? There was for our family.  

Another thing to consider is budget billing.  Once your young adult has lived somewhere for a year, they can contact the utility company and set it up as a monthly budgeted amount for the following year. If less is used after this, the utility company will readjust the following year at a smaller amount–and credit any extra amount accumulated.  If more is used, they will adjust the amount upwards.

Remind them that all bills must be paid on time.  A life lesson would be to show them how to set up a scheduled payment from their bank account.

 Home Decor:  

This is an area that your young adult can get creative with on any budget.  A lot of furniture can be obtained from relatives or picked up at second hand stores and garage sales.  It’s the little things that make a house/apartment a home though.  

So, if your young adult is crafty and likes to DIY, they can sort through items at craft fairs and flea markets. There are many uses for a can of paint, washi tape, fabric and other fairly inexpensive items that will brighten up their apartment.  They can look on Pinterest for decorating ideas.  

 Kitchen Supplies:  

You never know how expensive things are until they are needed.  Kitchen gadgets are expensive, even things like trash cans! Parents if you are wanting to upgrade any of your kitchen tools, give them to your kids, that way they can get theirs for free!  

Look on Ebay, Craigslist, and garage sales for the gadgets.  They can ask for these things at Christmas or birthdays. If your young adult is truly on their own, they can just purchase these items one at a time.  

 Renter’s Insurance:  

Your young adult should really consider getting this.  Renters insurance is personal property coverage, and may help cover the cost of replacing their things if the items are unexpectedly damaged or ruined.  It can apply to certain risks or (perils) such as fire or theft. Some landlords require it. 

It is also good to have if they have a rental unit for furniture etc.  Insurance will cover many circumstances and is worth paying for.


Yes, they will have to pay for this when not living at their parents house or a dorm.


Stocking up on groceries when your young adult is first starting out is a challenge.  Items such as sugar and other baking goods can get expensive. Paper goods don’t last forever and have to be replaced.  Eating healthy can get expensive too.  

I encourage them to try the Dollar Store for paper goods and even canned items, and sometimes, the items in their freezer section are good too.  Aldi’s is a great option for everything else! I have found that they have the best prices, even usually beating Walmart most of the time.  

Freezing their own food is a good option as well-many things can be frozen! 


These are just  7 Expenses to Consider When You Enter the Real World.  I encourage you to help them set up a budget and try to stick to it. Help them to readjust after a couple of months to see what needs to be changed.


Good luck!

What are any other unexpected expenses?  Have you found some good ways to help your young adult to deal with them? Please share!


Melanie has a BS in Education with more than two decades of parenting and classroom experience. She has worked with students preschool through high school. Her oldest two sons are in college now.

She is passionate about helping families to know their options and keeping the lines of parent/child communication open. She encourages students to expand their world through service, leadership and volunteering–”a well-rounded student makes a better citizen.”

Melanie is a wife and mom to three boys and two dogs. She is a lover of reading, teaching, and writing. She blogs for parents of teens at

You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

She has also written a book, College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School. 

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), Bible Verse printables and more.

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables through the same link above.

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crockpot meals for two

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