Saving Money

Going to College? Here are 5 Things You Don’t Need

Setting out for college is an adventure. However, as with so many other things in life, we tend to think that we “need” certain things as we head out of the house. The truth, though, is that many of the things that college students think are needed really aren’t. Here are 5 things that you can easily do without in college:

1. Expensive Housing

Forget about the fancy apartment somewhere. A basic room is all that’s needed. Look on campus first, and then check for rooms near campus. In many cases, it is possible to find a private room in a rented house with other students for a good price. My brother just found a reasonably priced studio not too far from campus. While there can be great deals on campus, consider off campus deals as well.

2. Personal Car

If you find housing close to campus, there is no need for a car. Indeed, many college students don’t have cars. Many university towns have bus systems, and large campuses usually have a shuttle that students can use. Because universities are often focal points of towns, there are usually grocery stores, restaurants and entertainment nearby.

3. New Textbooks

There is almost always no reason to buy textbooks new, breaking your budget. You can usually find used textbooks from students who have taken the class before. These textbooks are available on discount. It is also possible to check textbook swaps online and on boards in the student center. My husband even gave up on used books at the university bookstore, buying from Amazon instead.

4. University Health Plan

Many universities offer health plans to their students. In fact, some colleges will automatically enroll students in the health plan. This is unnecessary in many cases. Health care reform allows students to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, as long as parents are claiming children as dependents, and there isn’t a health care plan through a job. Make sure to bring proof of insurance to the proper department in the university to avoid being charged premiums.

5. Lots of New Stuff for the Room

Many students think that they need to buy a bunch of new furniture and other items for their rooms. The truth, though, is that there are often other options. Student housing often comes with some furniture, such as a bed and a desk. Even if it doesn’t, it is often possible to bring stuff from your old life to your college life. Before you buy anything new, check out your new digs, and then consider what you already have that can be used to furnish it. If you do buy items for your room, consider looking at student boards and thrift shops so that you aren’t paying full price.

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