Gas hike means accounting for yet another college cost

costsThe junior year has ended for my daughter, but after a ten-day break, it’s back for the spring session for her. In the meantime, my wife and I are prepping for our senior son’s high school graduation. In less then three months, the realization that both our children will be college students at different schools will set in.

Are we prepared? We could never envision the idea of being empty-nesters years ago. Visiting that aspect of life is a scenario yet to be played out. Monetarily, we are comfortable in that all avenues of scholarship, loans, and grants have been researched, applied for and sent in, but is there ever enough money to feel totally at ease, especially with higher education?

We have done our homework, so-to-speak, on the myriad of choices for paying for college. We also realize that with two kids it will be taxing at times and though we have built-in buffers (anticipating more then expected for books, emergencies etc.) there will be variables that arise that we could not envision. One such expenditure will be gas. When we budgeted our children’s 2008 fall college costs, fuel was not in the equation.

However, with $4+ a gallon for gas, some train of thought for this expense will have to be accounted for. Will this mean that coming home once a month or so is not an option? Or will our visits to their campuses be cut to twice a year? Or weekend trips to friends at other colleges becomes a rarity not a given? Maybe. Even with the high MPG cars they own, filling up their tanks will be as mentally strenuous on them as it will be with us.

Just when we think we have this money thing a bit in control, we are thrown a curveball that we never put into the equation. As if tuition, room and board, books and daily living expenses were not enough, now we have to account for another debit – gas. At least with this cost we do have some control and more options. However, I think not seeing my children as often as I like because of exorbitant oil prices is just wrong.

Back to the drawing board! How about a second job? Maybe a local gas station is looking for help this summer.


College Finances and Bills