Friday, August 28, 2009 10 Things to Avoid Buying for College Students

When I was a college freshmen, I wanted to buy every item listed on the school shopping list. But there is no need for parents or students to snap up every item on the shopping list, according to’s list of "10 Things College Students Don’t Need." Here's a sample from that list:

"1. New Textbooks. To avoid paying unfathomable new-book prices, see whether your university offers a rental program — or rent from a Web site such as, where you can save up to 85%. Order the book for a one-time fee—for example, about $60 plus shipping for a $180 calculus book—keep it for a semester, then return it with free shipping, or you could buy it. Or, head to the used-book lot. For example, searches the Web for the best prices on used textbooks.

2. Big Meal Plan. Brain food is important, but avoid loading up your child's meal account with enough money to feed the football team. It’s best to start with a low number of meals and see how much your student uses. Many colleges will give you the opportunity to replenish the meal plan midyear. You could also supplement your kid's meal plan with gift cards to the local grocery (or the local pizza joint). Or you can buy gift cards at

3. A High-End Laptop or Desktop Computer. An inexpensive laptop should meet your student's computer needs. For example, you can buy an Acer Aspire One, which has a 10.1-inch screen and weighs just 2.4 pounds, for less than $300 at Best Buy, WalMart or Target. Be aware, though, that netbooks don't have DVD drives or huge amounts of storage space, so it'll cost extra to get plug-in external drives or memory cards.

4. Printer. Here's what you can save by skipping this unnecessary item: about $50 for a printer, $30 for replacement ink and $9 for a pack of paper. For about $10, your child could buy a flash drive instead, save his 20-page term paper on it and print the paper in the campus computer lab, which you may already be paying for. Some schools include a technology fee in room and board costs—$100 per semester in some cases.

5. Cable TV. These days, you don't have to foot a hefty cable bill when your child can catch the latest movies and TV shows online., and let you download current TV shows for free. The movies offered on these sites are slightly old, but you can get a Netflix DVD-rental subscription for as little as $5 a month. "

The full list of 10 Things College Students Don’t Need.’s Back to School 2009 package


The Knowledge Lady said...

Thats a great list but unfortunately with the rising costs of tuition, many people both young and old will not be attending college at all. Did you know that even community colleges range in price per credit all over the USA? In Oregon it is $74 a credit, while in some states on the east coast the price per credit is $275. California seems to be one of the cheapest at $26 a credit.

Little House said...

These are some great ways to reduce college costs. As for tuition increasing, state colleges are still somewhat affordable, even though they too have increased their fees. If a student can stay near home and attend a local state university, they can save on some living expenses.

-Little House

Iris Robin said...

I wish I would have read some of these before the school year, there are some amazing tips on here! Oh well, some of them can still be used, i'll definitely be saving these for next semester, though.