Don't get overwhelmed by the size of the goal. The idea of saving $200,000 for college sounds terrifying.
Instead, break it down into small steps, says Amanda Priebe, a certified financial planner at PNC Wealth Management.
Write a list of tasks. Talk with the financial aid office of schools your children are considering. Perhaps visit your own alma mater for info on tuition assistance.
"There are professionals who specialize in counseling around FAFSA [the federal form used for applying for financial aid], and most financial planners are versed in education planning," Priebe said.
A planner or other professional can help your family identify how much you can comfortably contribute – not to mention helping you understand how borrowing or changing your cash flow fits with your own retirement planning.
Similarly, the snowball method lets you attack debts, one at a time. Concentrating on just one debt lets you focus on something that is much more attainable.