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3 Things College Freshmen Should NOT Spend Money On

student-849825_1280Starting 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.

Expensive Electronics

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

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Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.

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6 comments

  1. My mom and I flew down to my college, so we did have to limit what we took with us. But yeah, you don’t need much. I got a comforter set at jcpenney for about $80, a set of plates/bowls, a bathroom caddy and finally my mom bought a set of pots and pans.

    Otherwise, we left the room how it came. There was a desk and chair — and the room was small even before you split it in half for my roommate. There was no good place to put a TV, and there was one in the lobby area of our floor anyway.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…It’s officialMy Profile

  2. For me, it’s gadgets. When I was in college, the orientation told us that it was a requirement to have a DSLR, video cam, tripod, and a lot more. When I was taking the subject, not all these gadgets were reallyrequired. There were lots of ways to get by such ash borrowing someone’s gadget when needed.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Investing For The Future, Rather Than Saving For ItMy Profile

    • I agree, many times what they say is “required” really isn’t. Then if you need it for only one project you can usually borrow it at that point.

  3. I remember my first semester of freshman year, I walked into the campus bookstore and bought brand new textbooks. Cost me about $1k and I was shocked. After that, I only bought used and I was still able to resell them. So much cheaper.

    • Luckily, I never fell for the “new textbook” trick. I did have to buy 1 new text book once because it was a new edition (grr!) and I couldn’t find a used one anywhere!

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