When your child is accepted into college, your first thoughts are probably tuition. Once that shock wears off, you’ll need to consider the necessary supplies for your student’s success. Save yourself a headache and use a college dorm room checklist to get started.
Then, you’ll have to start paying for college basics. You’ll need to budget for additional, but necessary, expenses. You want to make sure you are ready for these and you don’t forget to include everything on your list.
- What To Know BEFORE You Pay for College
- Fun Gift Idea for Your College Freshman
- How You Can Save on Expensive College Text Books
It’s The Little Things
There are the essentials such as an alarm clock, a desk lamp and maybe even a mini fridge. You can also help prepare your student with a care package or going away present filled with these often overlooked but ultimately highly appreciated items:
- First aid kit
- Filtered water bottles
- Cleaning supplies
- Basic tool kit or multi-tool
Another smart consideration for your student is signing up for Amazon Student. With two-day shipping, subscribe-and-save options, streaming of music and movies and the first six months free of charge, it’s worth looking into.
Also, suggest that your child call their future roommate ahead of time to coordinate some of the bigger items. When I headed to college, I purchased a microwave and futon and my roommate got a printer and mini-fridge that we could both use.
Depending on the course load and how many credit hours a student takes, college textbooks can cost well over $1,000 dollars a year. Due to copyrights, specialized materials, and even sheer volume, the cost of textbooks has only increased in recent years.
Some classes use books that contain removable pages, which double as worksheets. For the courses that don’t require customized books, there are many money saving options.
Around 70% of students believe that older editions of their required texts are usable. If there are multiple editions of the book, it doesn’t hurt to send an email to the professor or to their TA inquiring if an older edition will suffice. If this isn’t an option, skip the lines at the bookstore and use the web to broaden your search.
Websites like Big Words and BookRenter are trusted online options for buying (and selling) college textbooks. Big Words does the searching for you while BookRenter provides the service its name implies. Encourage your student to sell their books back at the end of the semester. Many parents mistakenly believe that their student ought to hold on to their textbooks, which quickly depreciate. And, of course, there’s also the growing trend of e-textbooks.
With technology so highly integrated into today’s college experience, a student with reliable equipment at their disposal has an edge in the classroom. Granted, there are computer labs and printings stations on every campus, but let’s face it, laptops and tablets have replaced the college-ruled notebook. Professors record podcasts of lectures, provide PDFs of study guides and some even require discussion through online forums.
Spend the money on a dependable laptop or tablet, but take advantage of back-to-school sales. Big Box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco are also worth looking into as well. If you don’t find what you want there, contact your school’s IT department.
They can typically provide university sanctioned promotion codes to stores or websites for equipment and for necessary programs, such as Microsoft Office Suite. For peace of mind, don’t overlook purchasing an external hard drive and a USB stick, just in case.
Click here for friendly advice from the CommunityAmerica Credit Union Savin’ Mavens. This post was written by Maven Kat Hnatyshyn, a branch manager at CommunityAmerica.