Growing up knowing that my dad was a dentist I knew my family made plenty of money, however even at a young age I assumed it went to buying the things that surrounded me. Cars, houses and so on. I also knew that I liked to learn and loved going to school, so I made a personal decision very early, about 12 or so, to save for college because I was not sure how much my parents were going to be able to help. I lived in South Dakota at the time so I could start bagging groceries and mowing lawns at that point. I'd only work an hour or two after school and a couple hours on the weekend.
By the time I was 16 I had already saved quite a bit, and making so little I never had to pay taxes because it was less than the deduction. At this point I started working at a coffee shop for 2.5 hours every day before school and at a bank for about 4 hours after school. I did this through graduation, not to mention that I got my first year of college paid for by the state because it was also my last year of high school.
College starts and I go to the state school and live on campus. I quit the coffee shop but transfer to local branch of my bank. After the next four years, completing a double degree, I graduate and never once had to walk into the student finance office.
At a dinner with my parents to celebrate graduation they told me how proud of me they were that I had done this on my own. It was then that they revealed that they HAD saved money for college and cash flowed some money into that account according to the plan they had set out. Thankfully the money was not set aside in some education account, but in the hands of our family financial planner in a taxable account for minors/students which allows my dad to pay the taxes on the money earned, thereby keeping the account a secret. There was enough in this account to pay for all of my college expenses and now it was mine to use as I pleased. I ended up using some as a down payment on my first residence, and the rest has been left alone being transferred to my name solely.