3 Things College Freshmen Should NOT Buy
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Not only is college tuition expensive, but the experience of college can be expensive. Just take one look at Target’s back to school catalog and you’ll see pages and pages of ways to decorate your dorm room. It’s definitely fun and exciting to go to college as a new freshman, but it’s also important to have your financial wits about you.
I’ve always been frugal but I definitely made some mistakes with my money in college, and I have some regrets. If I were to go back and do it again, I’d take out fewer loans, and I would invest more. Here are some other common tips, and three things college freshmen should not spend money on:
1. Full Price Furniture
When you’re a college freshmen, whether you live in the dorm or in your own apartment, it’s important to avoid paying full price for furniture. When you’re young, you move a lot. (I had several different apartments in college.) So, your furniture can easily get beat up, knocked around during the move, and even run down if one too many friends sleeps on your couch.
For all those reasons, it’s best to just scour your local thrift stores or cruise Craigslist for gently used but still high quality furniture. I got many of my furniture finds from Craigslist and also from a highly discounted furniture outlet store in my college town.
2. Frequent Fast Food
Everyone talks about the “Freshman 15” – the weight you gain during your first year of college. This is likely due to all the fast food that is within arms reach in the student union, and we’re not even counting the late night study snacks and weekend parties. Not only will avoiding frequent fast food help you be healthier, but it can also save you a ton of money.
For a $5 Subway sandwich, you can easily buy items to make sandwiches for the whole week. The $8 you’d spend on two slices of pizza could go towards an entire homemade, fresh pizza that you can enjoy throughout the week.
College freshmen need to be taught these basic skills so they don’t waste their money on consumables and instead, can learn to make their money stretch farther.
3. Designer Duds
I know it’s fun to have nice things. I’m right there with you. I love a great bag or new dress as much as the next person. However, college freshmen typically don’t have high incomes. They either get money from their parents or they work a minimum wage job.
College students need to think about how many hours they have to work to afford a particular item. For example, if they get a $200 paycheck from working at the mall, they might think they can afford a $100 pair of shoes.
However, if you think of it in terms of hours worked, that one pair of shoes could mean a week of driving to work and dealing with customers. Is one pair of shoes worth all that labor? Instead, check out the Kohl’s clearance section to buy quality clothes, when you need them, for a fraction of the cost.
Changing your mindset and realizing that it’s better to save or invest at a young age will help you be financially fit earlier in life.
What are some other things that college freshmen should avoid buying in their first year of college? What is one thing you bought in college you later regretted? What are some simple ways for college students to save money?