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Money

Purchases to Avoid at the Start of A New Semester

WIth the spring semester coming soon, it can be exciting to get some more school supplies, but your wallet is probably asking if you really need it. While you’d like to start the semester off on the right foot, some purchases are unnecessary for each semester (and even each year!)

more pencils and pens

This could be something you need, but if you have plenty left over, you don’t need to buy more. They might look cool or pretty, but this is an easy purchase to cut out when you could have so many extra laying around.

another planner

Planners are cute and they will totally keep you organized, right? If you didn’t use majority of your planner last semester, don’t get a new one. Buying a new planner won’t make you use it more. Instead, do research and try to find ways that will keep you more organized for the long run. Whether that is an app like Notion, a blank notebook, your notes app on your phone or a custom planner online, find what works for you. Buying the cute cover planner won’t help you if you haven’t used it in the past. These can be expensive and there are better ways for less money.

A new notebook for each class

I love notebooks, (they can be so pretty and so clean!) but you don’t need new ones unless you are out of pages. There is nothing that says you can’t use a notebook again. Just staple, tape or paperclip the old pages and use it again. It saves you money and reduces your waste! Also don’t buy a notebook until you know you need it for your class. I have extra notebooks because I bought one for each class and then it turned out that I didn’t need them — not because I was slacking, but because the class didn’t need one.

a whole new wardrobe

When I was a kid, I would go back-to-school shopping every year with my mom and get a whole new wardrobe. Now that I am older and stopped growing every year, I have realized how wasteful that can be. I can save my money for things that I would like to experience, instead, or splurge on something I have wanted for a while. If you don’t like an old shirt, if it doesn’t fit or it has a hole in it; by all means buy some new clothes! There isn’t and shouldn’t be a need for you to get a whole new closet when the season, semester or year changes.

A new backpack

Another thing as a kid I got on a yearly basis was a new backpack. Once I got to high school, though, this stopped. Unless it is broken or you find something that is more efficient for you, you don’t need another one. If you really want a new one, go for it, but a new semester isn’t a reason to get another backpack. Backpacks can be expensive and sometimes reusing a bag you already have can be just as effective.

all new books

If your teacher requires textbooks, then by all means, you should get them. But, you don’t have to buy a brand new version. Check online for a free PDF version or a used copy of the book. You can look off eBay, Facebook Market, Next-door and tons of other sites to find a version that can save you money!

New technology

You don’t need the newest technology to be good at school. Use what works best for you: if you prefer to write your notes, then use a notebook. You don’t need a shiny new tablet and stylus that everyone else uses. These are big purchases. If you are on a budget and need a laptop or tablet, then try to find one used that will work just as well!

Overall, a lot of these are on a need basis, so if you need, it buy it! But before you go shopping, look at what you already have and ask yourself if the money is really worth it for this semester. Is this purchase something that will actually make you more successful, or something that you need more of? Or is it just a habit of buying before each semester?

(she/her) Madison Thompson is a junior at The University of Missouri- Columbia and has direct admission into the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism School. She is an older sister and loves to read and write. In addition to Journalism, Madison loves creative writing. Madison has a self-published poetry book titled "The Journey". Her Poem Supermarket was a finalist in the 2019 KET writing contest.