5 Things You Shouldn’t Buy For Your College-Bound Kid

So your kid is finally set to leave home and head off to college. You might be tempted to splurge on all manner of purchases to ensure that he or she will be able to study, eat, sleep, and dress properly. But some of those commonly bought items are just money down the drain.

The folks at DealNews put together a round-up of 8 items you shouldn’t buy for your college-bound kid. We pulled out the five that we deemed the most relevant.

1. A Printer

When I started college in 1993, I went off with a brand-new inkjet printer that I used a grand total of 12 times, as I had access to faster, better and free printing in the computer labs.

Two decades on, printers are even less essential, with a large number of professors accepting papers and other class assignments via e-mail.

“Outside of home-made fliers for frat parties, modern students may find that they never have to print a single piece of paper, so why invest in a printer?” asks DealNews.

2. A Tablet

If your kid doesn’t already own a tablet, you will probably hear about how essential it will be to their college classwork. What they really mean is that it will be essential to watching Game of Thrones on HBO Go.

As DealNews points out, affordable tablets are not yet laptop replacements. And those tablets that can replace a laptop are incredibly expensive, so you might as well just get your kid a laptop.

3. An Iron and Ironing Board

While these might be essential for a small number of college freshmen who insist on wearing something other than sweatshirts and jeans, most first-year students won’t see their ironing board again until they pack up all their wrinkled clothes to come home at the end of the semester.

4. A Mini Fridge

These always seem like a good idea, but most of my memories of friends’ mini fridges involve the disappointment of opening one up and failing to find anything edible. At best, the fridge will be used to chill beer that most college freshman aren’t legally allowed to purchase anyway.

5. An iPhone

If your college-bound kid is begging you to pay for a new iPhone before they head off to school, DealNews points out that new iPhone models tend to be released shortly after the start of the school year, and that prices on previous-generation iPhones tend to drop after the latest model is released.

“It’s well within your right, as a parent, to force your kid to use his (gasp!) old iPhone until that happens,” writes DealNews.