OT: saving for college vs. life experiences


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  • mrsmccardell

    I’m opening up this discussion to the group hoping that it will provide more thoughts to consider as my husband and I have  our discussion(s).  We have been trying to determine what to do and have been in prayer and keeping thoughts/communication open with each other.  We may seek the advice of an expert but we are not yet there.

    We have 4 dc: 3 girls, 1 boy (ages 2-9)

    Do we put all “extra” money into savings for college?

    Do we spend it on the opportunity to raise livestock in the backyard (pigs, chickens, goats, or horses).  They are very interested in these things.

    Raising animals (farming) is a wonderful opportunity to develop character and work habits.  We feel this can also go a long way towards career interests/goals.

    Anyway, what has your experience been?  Or what are you and your husband discussing about preparing for college/future.


    Is this money that you suddenly came into? Or do you mean “extra” money that is left over in the budget from time to time?

    Myself personally, I would invest it in the opportunity to raise livestock. Not only is it an excellent life experience, you’ll be raising your own food. Eventually you may see some cost savings in the grocery bill which can in turn be put into college.

    The other thing is, once you have the initial set up cost, you could then take any extra and split it between maintaining the livestock and college.


    Also, while horses and goats would be nice, myself, I would invest in livestock that are beneficial to you – chickens, pigs and cows. I would wait on horses until after you have some college savings built up, or until they’re old enough to start working and earn some money towards the horse. Horses are also typically a more expensive animal to maintain than the others, without the benefit of adding to your freezer (lol.


    We’re in a slightly different situation because we’re dairy farmers — so we have the animals.   But we don’t have money! *L*

    What we’ve decided to do is we give each heifer born to a certain cow (her name was Gina.  She has since moved on to that great farm in the sky.) and her daughters to each of our daughters in turn.   So, Cow Gina had a heifer and we gave it to our firstborn daughter.   Then Cow  Gina had another heifer and we gave it to our second-born daughter.  And so on.   When Gina’s daughters (Gillian, Gino, Gillo, etc.) give birth, it goes to whichever of our daughters is next in line.  So, none of our daughters are only getting Gina’s hiefers or Gillian’s heifers, etc….. it’s just that particular cow family is the one we’re using to “save” for our daughters’ futures.

    If we have to sell a heifer/cow (Ginette was sold), that money goes to whichever daughter “owned” her.  So, it’s sort of luck of the draw.  Right now our second-born daughter’s savings account looks fat for a 9yo!!!  Everyone else’s cows are still with us, so they have no money! *L*

    Our idea is to invest in IRA CD’s as the girls save enough money to do so.  (I’m thinking that depending on their ages, the CDs might be in our names with that particular girl as the beneficiary – but we will talk to our accountant when the time comes and get her recommendation.)

    Doing this is easier money-wise on us, because we don’t really have extra money each month…..and if we get extra money, it seems like we need to spend it right away on the farm.  When we sell a daughter’s cow, we can “borrow” it and then pay it back as we’re able, so that works nicely for us.

    Then, when they’re ready, they can either use the money for college or for a house or a wedding or whatever.

    All that to say this:  if you invest in animals, it’s sort of risky (the animals could die, etc.).  But, the children will gain invaluable experience by working with the animals.  If it ends up working out, the sale of the animals or the product from the animals could fund a “college” fund better than simply putting that extra money in a bank account or college fund right now.


    Thanks for the responses so far.  Yes, it’s money leftover each month from our budget.  We try to plug it into a category as if it’s an ongoing expense so it doesn’t get spent.  Some months it’s less than desired!

    At the cost of college these days I feel like we should have started this 10 years ago before they were born!

    The goats would certainly help with brush control so they would be tools AND pets.


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