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Not all college students' needs are the same, however, I have a list of items that a college student can do WITHOUT that would apply to college goers in general.
A High End Laptop or Computer One does not need a high end laptop/computer, an inexpensive one should do the trick. While shopping for laptops recently for my daughter, I found a Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i3, powerful and affordable for about $400 at Office Max. It has a 15.6" screen, sufficient memory & a powerful hard drive.
A Printer A lot of colleges are already charging you "technology fees" included in room &
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Pricey Smart Phone Plans Explore less-expensive, no-contract plans before signing up for a pricey long time contract with a data plan for your student. Many no-contract plans, like the ones from Walmart, Virgin Mobile or Boost Mobile, offer very reasonable plans with unlimited talk & text and even data plans. If you have a family plan which your college goer is using then make a comparison & check if you will save with taking him off and getting him one of the above listed plans.
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Cable Plans So many channels now stream entertainment & news online. All one needs is a web-enabled device like a laptop or a gaming device. One can catch TV shows on websites like Hulu.com, watch episodes of your favorite shows on the networks' own sites. College students can get breaks for some premium options if signing in with their .edu email address. Movies can be also streamed through Netflix. Most of these subscription options work out less costly than going for a cable plan.
A Vehicle According to AAA, a small car could add up to about $3,200 in expenses for gas, insurance and standard maintenance. Add to this, parking permits, repairs and tickets if any, so if your college kid is in a dorm, it would be less expensive to park the car at home.
A Big Meal Plan I have heard of the Freshman 15, so reading up on ways to avoid over doing the meal plan in college, I found that parents can start low and see how much the student is eating and review the plan midyear. This works out better since most meal plans cannot be rolled over if unused. Kids can be given gift cards to use at local groceries or eateries.
Campus Health Insurance Family Health Coverage extends to college going kids as well. Compare what the campus insurance offers if your child is going out of state to see if your plan out-of-network costs far out weigh campus insurance premiums. If they don't keeping your kid under family coverage usually works out better.
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High Bank Fees It is better to open an account for your college kid with a branch on campus and with nation-wide coverage. If she/he is going out-of-state, it will not benefit to open an account with a bank in your hometown and pay fees every time money is withdrawn from a local ATM on campus. These fees could add up. It is also advisable to know if the student's bank will charge for transferring funds online. It is safer to transfer funds than to mail checks. One could also benefit from a membership with a credit union which belongs to a surcharge-free network.
Private Loans One would be lucky to totally avoid college loans, the high-cost of education make loans necessary, they have to be incurred and paid off (See this earlier post). Staying clear of private loans can save you lot of money, federal loans have better rates and repayment options.
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