Cutting Costs on College: Things You DON’T Actually Need

Written by Scott Benjamin

November 8, 2021

Most parents end up going all out and overspending, especially when it is their first child going off to college. Your child will hopefully use a majority of goodies you purchase, but there is almost certainly going to be a number of things they never touch. With the cost of tuition and fees itself being so expensive, you want to save money where you can. It is very easy to fall for all of the dorm marketing ploys, especially the “dorm & college essentials” checklists. Below is a commonsense list of things you do not actually need for college!

  1. Brand New Textbooks

Brand new hardback textbooks can cost you a small fortune each semester. Many books have an e-book option, which is typically much less expensive. With e-books, a student can access the textbook on multiple devices. If there is not an e-book option, have your student explore renting a textbook from the school bookstore, Amazon, or Chegg. This is also much cheaper than purchasing a brand-new textbook.

  1. A top-of-the-line Computer

Nearly all lectures, assignments, and exams are done through a student’s laptop. A laptop is necessary for college, but you don’t have to break the bank buying one. All the laptop requirements can be satisfied on models priced under $1,000. You can find a great selection of sensibly priced computers whether your student prefers Windows or Mac.

  1. A Printer

Very few assignments need to be physically turned in. Now, students electronically submit their documents to their professors. There is little need for a personal printer since there are very few assignments that will need to be printed over the course of your student’s college career. Students have access to printers on campus that charge a few cents per page for those assignments that actually do require a hard copy.

  1. Their Entire Closet

Dorm rooms are known for their exceptionally small closets. Your student doesn’t need to bring their entire closet for all four seasons. Instead, they should plan on switching out clothes as the year goes on when they return home. There is no need for them to have their puffy winter coats and snow boots in August; it will just take up space they do not have.

  1. Extra Furniture and Decorations

Your student’s dorm room will come with the essential furniture, a bed, mattress, desk, small dresser, and chair. There is little space for extra furniture with the room being so small. Decorations can make the dorm feel at home but be sure to not go overboard. It can make the room feel cluttered and less functional if you have too many decorations.

  1. A Car

While this depends on personal choice and geographic location, you should be aware of the costs associated with having a car on campus. Bringing a car to college can be more of a hassle than expected. On campus, you will have to pay for parking all year long, in addition to the regular gas, maintenance, and insurance costs. A car should not be a necessity if your student is living on campus and has access to all the things they need.

College is extremely expensive on its own, not to mention all the other things your students may need or want along the way. If you are concerned about how you are going to pay for your children’s education, give us a call at Firethorn Wealth Partners.