Starting your freshman year of college is exciting and very scary at the same time. It’s also expensive. For most students this will be the first time they live away from home and the first time they’ll have to responsible for making all of their own decisions.
Mom and dad are only a phone call away for advice, of course, but for the most part you have to figure it out for yourself and hope that you are adequately prepared.
Even though it’s been a few years since I was getting ready to head off to college for the first time, I still remember it well. I was excited, but I definitely made some financial mistakes in my haste and excitement. Now that I’m older, I can see there are some things that are just not worth it for incoming college freshmen to spend money on. Here are some examples.
Cutesy or Matching Bedding and Décor
When I was getting ready to head off to college, I was stoked to spend all the money from my high school graduation to make my dorm room look cool and I didn’t want to re-use anything I already owned. I wanted all new bedding, wall art, a rug, a comfy chair, and more. I saw college as a chance to re-invent myself into one of the cool kids since hardly any of my high school classmates were headed to the same university as me.
Luckily, I quickly got my head pulled down out of the clouds. Buying all new bedding and décor was not what I needed to be spending my money on and these things aren’t what makes you “cool” anyway. I did buy a few new things, but I’m glad I didn’t go all out as many of these things were only used for my freshman year of college anyway since I only lived in the dorms that one year. If you do need to buy any items for your dorm room, make sure to compare prices, plus check out Amazon, to get the best and lowest prices possible.
Lots of Groceries
Most dorm living arrangements come with a meal plan for your school’s cafeteria. While eating in a cafeteria doesn’t sound awesome, it actually is. The food in my university’s cafeteria was really good and there were always lots of choices to choose from at every meal. Unfortunately, I got a little carried away my first time at the grocery store. I had never gone shopping for only one person before and I had no idea how much food I really needed to supplement my dorm meal plan. Most of the food I bought on that trip went to waste.
Having a few snacks in your dorm room, and a mix between semi-healthy foods and junk foods, is probably best. You want to shop smart for any groceries you’ll need, so you can have the things you want and/or need without wasting money in the process through food waste or at the on-campus convenience store.
I lived in a dorm room with three other girls and one of them bought a huge TV that she probably only used four or five times all year. In fact, I’m pretty sure I used it more than she did! The other three of us all bought our own printers and two of them never did work right so we ended up using the printer in the dorm lobby for all of our printing needs anyway. Both of these are examples of expensive electronics you don’t really need and can be a great way to cut down on college costs.
Most college classes use digital materials, so you don’t need to print things out very often. If you do, you can easily access them in your cloud storage or on a jump drive in the library or somewhere else on campus that has printers.
Plus, having lots of expensive electronics to your college dorm, like my roommate’s TV, is just asking for your room to get broken into and robbed. If that doesn’t happen, chances are that it will get broken during one of the 1,000 times you re-arrange the furniture in your room to try and make more space.
Did you buy any of these things when you were headed off to college? What else can you think of that college freshmen shouldn’t spend money on?
Photo courtesy of: Startup Stock Photos