11 Things You Don’t Need for College

College sticker shock when you first see the bill for tuition, room and board (and all those nebulous activity fees) is bad enough.

photo of students in classroom
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it came time for her first child to go off to college, New Jersey mom Jill Tang went a little overboard with dorm shopping. “I was excited and overspent,” she concedes. “I would say that my daughter used about 70% of what we actually bought. The rest of the 30% we donated or tried to salvage in our own home.”

It’s easy for anxious families to let their guard down and fall victim to the back-to-college marketing ploys, especially after the disruption that COVID-19 had on learning. Deloitte estimates that in 2021, $26.7 billion will be spent this year on back-to-college purchases, with an average of $1,459 spent per child. But every “dorm essential” checklist has items that will still be unused or unopened at the end of the year. Here’s a college un-checklist: everything students do not need.

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Editorial Intern, Kiplinger.com