If this is the first year your son or daughter was away at college, you probably learned much during their first term away from home.

Unfortunately, some of that you were totally unprepared for so during the coming break you want to see to all those things you didn’t think would be important but turned out to be more so than you could have ever imagined. Here are some of what other parents found to be significant oversights the first term out.

Transportation Is More Important Than You Thought

If you are like so many parents out there, you probably believed that having a car simply wasn’t important because your child is living on campus. That isn’t necessarily true, especially when some of the shops they need to visit for food and clothing are not within easy walking distance from their dormitory.

You can get good buys on previously owned vehicles and if you add your kids to your car insurance, you can get better rates most of the time. However, that isn’t always the case so it pays to do a bit of price comparison for car insurance that offers multi-driver discounts.

Don’t Go Overboard with Cards

Another ‘mistake’ a huge number of parents made on that first semester was to worry about providing an ample expense account for their kids. They believed this was important so that they had enough to eat and drink, money for all those incidentals like supplies for their classes and any clothing or other items they might need. Unfortunately, they learned the hard way.

When left to their own devices, many college students use their expense accounts for entertainment, then nearing end of term start calling home for more money. Make it absolutely clear that this is their budget and there won’t be top-ups if they overspend. Of course, you will probably have a separate account for just this reason, but don’t make the mistake of telling them that!

Dorm-Size Appliances

This is something you may need to check on before sending your kids off to second term with a small dorm-size refrigerator or microwave. Some campuses allow these appliances in dormitory rooms and others forbid them due to safety issues they’ve encountered in the past. That said, most campuses will allow at least a tiny beverage type refrigerator in dorm rooms, but it really does require talking to college administration before going out and buying something they can’t use.

Sufficient Bedding and Linens

Let’s face it. Mum isn’t there to do laundry every week and that’s something many college students leave by the wayside. It always pays to provide an extra bedding set for their bed and a few extra towels for daily showering. Most college kids will put off laundry until weekends, if then, so you need to know they have enough to get them through at least one week. You might want to also ensure they have an extra pillow. That’s something most kids need when sitting up in bed reading for the next day or working on their laptops at night.

All the Necessary Electronics and Gadgets

Most college students these days do have a laptop for use at school. However, printing can be a real problem because some professors require hard copies of papers due each term. Then there are mobile phones with enough talk time to ensure you can reach them whenever it becomes necessary. Many mobile phone service providers now offer unlimited data plans, so that is something you will want to check on as well.

With that said, the one thing you want to be wary of would be sending too much in the way of entertainment like those gaming systems they live in front of at home. They are in school to get an education, after all, so you don’t want them spending study time hooked to their favourite games! Choose gadgets they are likely to need for school!

Keep the Backup as a Backup

For just a moment, let’s return to those expense accounts mentioned above. The one thing you really need to do if you are going to make it through four years of this is to keep those backup accounts as backups. Once you let on to your kids, even if they are technically adults, they will expect to be able to draw from that when they’ve overspent what you’ve allocated for the term.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t keep money in reserve for those little emergencies that might come up. For example, you’ve found them a previously owned vehicle that looked like it ran well, but perhaps something needs repair. If you have an account to draw from that won’t take money they need for expenses, you can easily help them make it through the term. The bottom line is to always keep something in reserve because chances are you will need it.

Up your camping game in 2023

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