Parent and child saving for college in a piggy bank

The unexpected expenses of the past month, totaling several months' worth of my take-home income, have disappeared almost overnight. 

On top of my regular expenses for daily living, such as commuting, groceries, and utilities, I had to cover my son's college fees and home repairs. 

Smart planning saved me from additional finance charges, interest payments, and other loan-related costs.

The most significant of those expenses, my son's college education, was considerable but not entirely unexpected.

I've been investing in a 529 plan for his education since his birth. 

The current interest rates for direct student loans are 5.5%, and PLUS loans to parents are 8.05%, according to the US Department of Education. 

I could have used my Home Equity Line of Credit to cover the education and repair expenses, but that would still have meant facing a 7.49% interest rate, without any additional fees.

To put it simply, if I had borrowed the entire $26,000 against my home equity at 7.49%, it would have resulted in roughly $1,950 in the first year's interest alone.

 By saving for my son's college from the time he was born and having an emergency fund in place before the water damage occurred, I was able to cover the immediate costs and also prevent future complications.