Shopping for your first year of college is incredibly stressful. You're probably on a tight budget, and wondering whether or not you will actually need everything on that shopping list you found online. And especially as the year goes on, the pressure not to spend very much money just grows. To help alleviate some of these anxieties, I asked the Class of 2021 to share the best purchases they made during their freshman year.
1."Cold Turkey Blocker Pro and Cold Turkey Writer Pro. It was a one time purchase of $35 for the bundle. It was the best thing I bought because I wasn't able to get on anything else until I finished the word count I set or the timer I put. It also helped me re-regulate my sleeping schedule because I set it to lock my computer down at certain times, which meant that at midnight, I would find myself staring at a lock screen and not binge-watching Parks and Rec for the fourth time." - Li, Haverford College
2. "I LIVE for Spotify Premium. They have a sweet student discount ($4.99 bundle with Hulu)! Making and downloading playlists is super easy and I have one for exercise, study, walking, sleeping, chilling with friends, whatever." - Anneliese, Williams College
3. "I bought a budget planner this past year and it has been really helpful. I know that being a low-income student, I felt intimidated and was always spending money cause the people I was around could. Buying a budget planner has forced me to sit down, see what I've spent, what I can cut back on, and when I can treat myself. I just started my first job during the summer and I've been using it and it's helpful and love it!" - Naa, University of Chicago
4. "It got so cold in PA and I wasn't used to being out in that weather for longer than getting from my car to somewhere. I bought a knit hat but with a sweatshirt material lining and I wore it so much. I bought it at the campus store and it was expensive, like $30, but normal knit hats are super uncomfy for me so the liner was amazing!" - Rachel, Arcadia University
5. "The beds in the dorms are really uncomfortable so investing some money into one of those memory foam mattress toppers could be really helpful (because we all know how much sleep college students get). It's really nice after a long day to jump into a really comfortable bed, especially if you go to school somewhere that has a colder climate." - Brent, Carnegie Mellon University
6. "The best investment I probably made was my portable charger. It has been a lifesaver. I am very forgetful, so after every use, I just set it to charge. That way, if (and when) I forget to plug my phone in overnight or I’m out at night and it’s almost dead, I have something to charge with on the go. It’s gotten me out of some potentially sticky situations." - Shania, University of Florida
7. "I bought a $70 dollar jacket (I know it seems expensive for my best purchase). But I've used this jacket so many times and I actually love it, so its a great value unlike other things I bought that are less expensive." - Enriko, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
8. "My best purchase was easily my IKEA Raskog cart. It kept my most used items mobile so I didn't have to constantly be moving stuff lose things in the shuffle. I kept my bed at a level where it was perfect to put my laptop on the cart so friends could pile on the bed and everyone could see the screen for movie nights. Like, I freaking love that cart and it's super easy to take apart for summer storage. That thing is gonna be with me all four years, unlike anything else I bought freshman year." - Alissa, Pomona College
9. "$20 rainboots from Target! I come from a super dry climate and was not used to places being as wet and rainy as where I went to school. They saved my other shoes, I got to jump in puddles like a child, and they came in handy on snow days too!" - Veronica, Duke University
10. "Definitely command hooks! I put these up all around my room because I had a lot of items I wanted to hang (jackets, paintings, bags, etc.). They were a lifesaver and made my room seem cozier and helped me use my space more efficiently." - Moshian, Columbia College
Spending money can definitely be stressful, but hopefully this made it a bit easier. And if you're concerned about getting lots of use out of the things you buy, reach out to current students at your school (usually there are a few in your class Facebook group). They have the best idea of what is needed for the environment you're going to be in. If you're not sure about a purchase, you can always wait until after you start to see if you really need it.
Happy shopping, Class of 2022!
Note: Submissions may have been edited for length and/or clarity.
Lead Image Credit: Unsplash.com