College is expensive and it is not just because of the tuition fee. The costs of living can be challenging, too, so make sure you focus on buying the things you need and skip the rest. Following is a guide on what you do and do not need before leaving for college.
- Stock up on kitchen supplies.
Food is an everyday expense. Save up by stocking your pantry with snacks and whole food ingredients for easy-to-make meals. Depending on your dorm, you can also get a cheap or second-hand mini-fridge or microwave to make food easier.
- Invest in a reliable computer.
Many schools require a particular laptop for college. Shop around for the best option. There is no need to get the most expensive model. Remember that it is common for laptops to be stolen, damaged, or lost.
- Shop used textbooks or get an e-reader.
Used books are cheaper so do a quick search before buying new. If your college uses e-books, you can get an e-reader for yourself or just read the e-books from your computer.
- Invest in a meal plan.
Look for an affordable meal plan if you are living on campus. Purchasing a two-a-day meal plan and supplementing that with other foods to cover the other meal is a good money saving strategy.
- Pick up a good backpack.
You will carry your bag all the time so invest on a good one. Consider the load that you will put inside and how long you will be using it. This is money well spent.
- Don’t buy a whole new wardrone.
Casual clothing is enough. You do not even need formal clothes until you schedule an interview for a job or internship.
- Use your parents’ health insurance.
This can potentially save you money. Some providers allow children to stay on their parent or guardian’s plan until age 26.
- Leave the car.
You will not need a car to go around campus. This is particularly not necessary if you live on campus. By not buying a car, you also save on costs like gas, parking, insurance, and registration.
- Don’t bring your TV.
Most dorms have a common area where you can watch TV. Plus, you can stream your shows from your computer.
- Save on furniture.
If you live on campus, most dorm rooms are furnished. Bringing anything that is too big will cramp your space. If you live outside campus, you have the option of picking a furnished apartment, too.