Fall semester is almost here and (unfortunately) it's time to prepare to head back to campus. Whether you're a freshman starting a new journey or a senior looking to just make it through the next few months, there are things you should and shouldn't buy. Plus, it's important to figure out your budget before the stress of the semester sets in.
There are so many guides out there with long checklists of what to buy for your college apartment or dorm, but here are eight things you really don't need to spend money on.
1. A Brand New Wardrobe
It's fine to upgrade a little from your high school or early college outfits, but spending hundreds on a brand new wardrobe just isn't necessary. You're still young, and your style will likely change within the next few years whether you'll still be in college or starting a post-grad career.
Plus, there's no reason to pretend you won't end up wearing jeans and a t-shirt to basically every single class no matter how many cute styles you stocked up on.
2. Expensive Tech
Of course, everyone wants the newest Macbook, but it's just not practical. Unless you need some serious technical capabilities as a design, music or tech student, a cheaper laptop will be just fine.
If all you'll be doing is taking notes, writing essays, binge-watching Netflix and browsing Facebook, opt for a much more affordable laptop, like the Lenovo Chromebook , which retails for $250. Check in with your school to see if they offer any discounts on laptops -- chances are, they probably do. You can also usually get the software, such as Microsoft Office, for free or at a steep discount.
Another tech item you should avoid buying is a printer. Virtually every school has somewhere you can print for free, or for a few cents per page. A printer can be expensive, and so is the upkeep. Avoid paying $40 for ink cartridges and just make an extra stop at the library or student resource center to print out your paper before class.
3. All The Decor From Urban Outfitters
It's totally fine to customize your space, but buying decor for every inch of your dorm or apartment is never a good idea. Plus, it's just more stuff you'll have to move.
Avoid the temptation to buy things based on the cute rooms you see on Instagram and wait until you move in and see what you're really working with to start decorating.
This one might seem counterintuitive, but buying furniture before moving in could cause a serious headache. See what your roommate has and how much extra space you have before you start buying any furniture. Most dorm rooms are already cramped, and some off-campus apartments come furnished.
5. Cleaning Supplies
No, I'm not saying to never clean your place. But it's important to wait until you move in to stock up on cleaning supplies. You'll be sharing your space with at least one other person, so you can split the cost of cleaning supplies with your roomie(s). There's no reason for everyone to show up with a broom and Lysol wipes.
6. A Set Of Towels
You'll need a couple bath towels and maybe washcloths for showering. But other than that, you don't need to bring a ton of towels with you. More towels = more things you need to find storage space for, and more laundry to do. And we all know how hard it is to figure out storage when you're sharing a living space with other people.
7. Space Savers
You will need to purchase these, but it's best to do so after you move in and really see what you're working with. Instead of going crazy in Target's storage bin aisle before heading back to campus, get a good look at the space you'll be living in first. The bed might not have as much room underneath as you originally thought, or the extra space you accounted for may get taken up by your roommate's stuff.
8. A Set Of Dishes
A few plates, bowls and maybe a mug or two is fine, but you don't need to be hauling around a 16-piece dinnerware set. Honestly, paper plates are much easier to use and you won't have to wash them after. But if you still prefer a "real" plate, only bring a couple. Anything extra just winds up being extra dishes to clean, and you really don't want one of those nasty sink pileups that take on a life of their own.
Take note on what not to buy will help you save money . Some of these items you'll never need to buy, others are best to purchase after you've moved in. If you buy some of this stuff ahead of time, you could end up with the same items as your roommates, and then you'll have to deal with returning it. Nobody wants to have to deal with that.