Hacking the Health Savings Account (HSA) for College

using a health savings account to increase college financial aid

(GCC: Taxes and college tuition are 2 of the greatest expenses parents will face. But what if there was a tax hack that could reduce the cost of both? Today’s guest post shares the details… Read on!)

Hi Go Curry Cracker readers! I’m Kim from The Frugal Engineers. We are a family of three retiring in our thirties in Wyoming, and I’m here to talk tax hacking for college!

Over the last nine years of running our own engineering businesses, we’ve been tracking various tax optimization strategies. One of our favorite tax hacks is using our health savings account for college funds. By lowering our tax burden and maximizing our eligibility for college financial aid, we’re able to retire earlier and enjoy more time with our daughter. This post details part of our overall strategy for college planning in early retirement.

We max out our health savings account (HSA) each year that we’re eligible based on our health insurance. For a family of three in 2019 with a qualifying high deductible health insurance plan, that’s $7,000 a year. We pay cash for any medical, dental and vision expenses that we incur right now and save the receipts for reimbursement during the college years.

In fact, I refer to medical receipts as “future college tuition vouchers” in our house.


Blog for Sale – (Not) Sold!

Blog for Sale -- Not Sold!

I’ve been writing about random things that pop into my head on this website for a little over 7 years now. So I suppose it is natural to have a little 7-year itch.

As summer rolled around I was feeling little to no motivation. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and there was a world to explore. So I did a bunch of 100+ km bike rides with big climbs, played some guitar, did a bit of travel, and more or less let me inner laziness rein free. I did absolutely nothing productive and it was glorious.

So now what? Perhaps it was just the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, but in early fall it seemed like anybody and everybody was selling their blog. From long-time personal finance blogger superstars to recent upstarts, they were all handing over the virtual keys.

So… what the hell… why not explore the possibilities?


Our $75,000 Lifestyle Requires a $210,000+ Job Income

retirement tax strategy in action


A couple of years after leaving the workforce, an aggressive headhunter was trying to recruit me for a California based tech company.

Recruiter: “How much salary would you need to take on a role like this?”
Me: About $500k
Recruiter: “We were thinking more around $250k…”
Me: Oh, you were just looking for somebody part-time then…?

Obviously, I stopped receiving recruiting emails.

But, having the bizarre way of thinking about the world that I do, I invested a little time to calculate just how much income I really would need to fund our lifestyle via more traditional means.