10 things NOT to buy for college

College is expensive. With tuition, room and board, and decking out the dorm room, your budget can seem completely blown. Looking to save money as your kid heads back to school? One way is to stick to buying the essentials. According to dealnews.com, here are 10 things college-bound kids can leave off of their lists.

—A printer

In an age where nearly everything is going digital, and being environmentally conscious is a trend, many professors prefer students to submit projects via email rather than printing and stapling a stack of paper. If you ever do need to print anything, most campuses have student printers you can use for free or for a small fee.

—A tablet

While tablets may be perfect for browsing social media and playing games to kill time between classes, they’re not great for research papers and other major projects. It’s best to stick with a laptop and switch to a tablet after graduation.


While it may not happen to everyone, the “Freshman 15” is a real thing. Adjusting to creating your own meal plan (and late-night mozzarella sticks in the dining hall) can lead to weight gain. That’s why it’s better not to invest in a whole new wardrobe that may not fit after the first semester.


One word: Netflix. Despite tons of movies and shows to watch on affordable streaming services, and most other primetime shows available online on demand, a TV is really a waste of space and an unnecessary hit to your budget.

—An iron

Most college students don’t have the time, space or energy to iron anything. Instead, opt for a wrinkle-release spray like one from Downy.

—Expensive bedding

Dorms have limited seating, so it’s likely your bed will double as a study area, kitchen table and couch for guests. Stick to inexpensive bedding that you won’t mind getting dirty, ripped or ruined.

—An external hard drive

Instead of buying a hard drive to store and save your work, use free cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive.

—A high-end laptop

Most inexpensive laptops have all of the tools you’ll need to get your work done, so there’s no need to invest in a high-end model.

—A mini fridge

This may seem like a dorm room staple, but most students tend to chose the dining hall over the food store during freshman year, leaving the mini fridge empty for much of the semester. Skip it. If you do wind up needing one, most dorms have a common room with a fridge to share.


New iPhone models are usually released right after school begins, so it’s best to leave it off your back-to-school shopping list. Even if you don’t want the newest model, the release will likely cause earlier versions to drop in price.