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Good, Bad and The Ugly: College Freshman Purchases

warningspeedbumpsStarting college is an extremely exciting time for most freshmen-to-be. In addition to planning class schedules and looking forward to meeting some new friends, many students are moving out of their home for the very first time. In order to make the transition to college life as smooth as possible, incoming freshmen should be sure they have the following items:

Must Haves

Keurig coffee maker: After long days and nights studying, chatting with new friends and watching their favorite television shows, it can be really hard for new college students to wake up in the morning. As Lansing State Journal notes, a Keurig coffee maker can help slug-a-bed freshmen get up and get going. Not only is the coffee tasty, but a Keurig can help freshmen avoid spending a lot of their money on much more expensive Starbucks drinks.

A really good chair: Many dorms supply wooden desk chairs to the residents that have been sat on by about a thousand students since the Nixon administration. In order to keep freshmen backs in good shape, invest in a really nice, supportive chair. In addition to keeping the various vertebrae happy and healthy, a high quality desk chair will help keep freshmen comfy as they study, which will keep them focused on what they are doing and less likely to want to get up and wander the halls of the dorm looking for new friends and the vending machine.

George Foreman grill: As College Fashion notes, this handy little plug-in grill is ideal for freshmen who cannot look at another portion of mystery meat in the dorm cafeteria, or who are — gasp — sick of pizza (yes, it really can happen). The George Foreman grill heats up quickly and is extremely versatile, allowing hungry freshmen to make everything from paninis to burgers and more in no time flat.

Tool kit: A handy item to have in a dorm room is a basic tool kit that includes commonly-used items like a couple of screwdrivers, a tape measure, and a small level and picture hanging tools. There is nothing worse than buying the perfect framed poster to hang over a bed and then have no way of getting it up on the wall.

Earplugs: From the budget-friendly foam varieties found in most grocery and drug stores to the more spendy noise-canceling headphones, ear plugs or another noise-blocking device are a must-have for college freshmen. From blocking out a roommate’s loud music to helping stay focused while studying, earplugs will definitely come in handy.

Don’t Need ’em

While these five items will help college freshmen have a seamless transition into college, they should avoid spending their money on the following:

Pizzas and sodas galore: As Forbes notes, one of the best ways to avoid gaining the legendary “Freshman 15” is to avoid eating out as much as possible. This includes resisting the urge to order a bunch of late night pizzas and stocking up on sugary beverages like sodas and energy drinks.

Really killer computer speakers: Although freshmen might love listening to tunes at volume level 11 while studying, their roommate and residents in surrounding rooms might like things more quiet. Noise complaints can be pretty common in dorms, and the last thing a new freshmen needs is to be branded as “The really loud one” by the resident assistants. Instead of expensive computer speakers, freshmen should buy a nice pair of headphones.

Budget for Fun

Before you go crazy buying furniture and cooking supplies, make sure you budget for hobbies and fun time. That panini grill is no good if you can’t afford to get out of your dorm room every now and again. If you have a hobby like rock climbing or dirtbiking, account for this in your budget or buy new gear before the school year starts. It’s a lot easier to buy new dirtbike pants when you have a summer job than when you are scraping under the cushions during the school year for a few dollars for the movies.

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