2011 September 5

It’s the time of year when teenagers migrate to their new homes: student dorms, digs, shared flats and other accommodation where they will live (and maybe learn) for the next few years.

New students are easy to spot: they arrive laden with possessions and with Mum and Dad in tow – some have packed the family cars to the roof, others have even hired a van to help them move in, but how useful is all that equipment?

This year it seems there are fewer flat screen TVS and smaller cases of new clothing as the recession continues to bite. Vast amounts of new stationery have been purchased though: retailers report good sales although all more towards the ‘essentials’ than the ‘luxury’ end of the market.

In the USA, students (and their parents) are expected to spend $808 on clothing, electronic items and furnishings for their first year of college life in 2011 and Edinburgh University reckons students should budget on spending around £13 a week on clothes.

All students are looking for ways to stretch their budgets and seeking out good deals and saving money on college clothing can help them, and their parents, to make the best of the money available.

Ensuring that a student has a sensible coat and boots that will keep them warm and dry in a climate that may be unfamiliar to them, and summer clothing that can double as simple sportswear all help save money on the long run.

Choose T-shirts that can be worn to the bar or to play a game of football, and polo-shirts that double up for seminar attendance, cinema trips and attending interviews for part-time jobs to boost the budget. Ensuring the student has lots of socks and underwear can really help them save money on laundry (and maybe even mean they don’t save up all their dirty washing to bring home with them) and some parents are buying in bulk so that they can replace stained or shredded T-shirts when those rare visits home occur. It means that they can be sure their child has clothing that coordinates together and is easy to wash and wear.

Don’t let your new student take a printer to college until they’ve investigated the costs of printing on campus – with student union cards, many colleges and academic libraries can print reports and papers more cheaply than the student can.

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