Anyone who’s ever moved a child into a college dorm room knows that part of the experience is waiting in line at local stores to buy things like laundry baskets and mini-fridges. By the time you say goodbye, your emotions and your wallet can take quite a beating. So we looked to the financial site Kiplinger.com for a list of five things college students don’t need:
- New textbooks. According to The National Association of College Stores, the average price of a textbook is $60. Many classes require multiple books and some cost as much as $200! To save money, try used bookstores, and see if your university offers a rental program. Or check out a textbook rental website like Chegg.com..
- The 2nd thing college students don’t need: A printer. Instead of paying a hundred bucks for a printer, paper, and ink cartridges, spend $10 on a USB flash drive and let your child print their papers in the campus computer lab.
- Unnecessary college expense #3: A car. According the American Automobile Association, the average cost of operating a vehicle for a nine month academic year is $5,600. It's even more if you include parking permits, repairs and tickets. You’ll avoid all those expenses – and lower your insurance premiums – if you keep their car parked at home.
- This next one is important: A credit card. The average freshman runs up over $2,000 in credit-card debt their first year. New federal laws make it tougher for kids to get a card in their own name. Your best bet: Give them a pre-paid credit card. That way they can’t spend more than what’s on it.
- One last thing a college freshman doesn’t need: The best and biggest meal plan. Most schools include a certain number of meals per day. Or allow a set amount of charges against the account. Most students skip a lot of lunches and dinners, and sleep through a lot of breakfasts. Your best bet: Start low and see how much your student uses. That way you won’t be wasting money if they hate the cafeteria food and wind up living on microwave pizza, and mac and cheese.