Freshers’ tip #4: To buy or not to buy

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If you’re not already getting adjusted to life in the Bubble, then you’re probably agonising over what things you need to take with you to university. Stores are full of anxious parents queuing up to buy their lovely sons and daughters things that they might find useful as students. Many people, when planning what to take, resort to the strategy of “it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it” (otherwise known as “better safe than sorry”).

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to know what you are actually going to need until you arrive and so the best approach is just to wait. If you hold tight for a week or so, you’ll be able to make a much more educated decision about whether or not you really do want / need / have space for whatever you were thinking of buying.

Here are three things not to buy for university:

1. Printer

This is one of the most common impulse buys at university and one of the biggest wastes of money. Sure, they might seem cheap. Basic printers sell for as little as £30 – a small price to pay to have the flexibility of printing whatever you need whenever you need it, you might say.

But you’d be wrong. The library, as well as many other University buildings, have printers for students to use. They are reliable and efficient, they print well in both colour and black and white and, if you’re nice, they’ll even staple your document for you. The printers work on a credit system. Credits can be bought online and can be used for scanning, photocopying or printing. All matriculated students receive an allocation of credits, and unless you’re planning on using the library to publish the novel you wrote over summer then you’ll probably spend no more than £20 throughout the whole year on extra credits.

That is significantly less than what you’d spend on ink alone in one semester (I really begrudged the fact that it was cheaper to buy a new printer than to buy new ink cartridges). You don’t need to waste valuable space in your room with a large, noisy and unreliable heap of metal and plastic – trust me on this one. If you’re not going to listen, then at least get a Kodak as their ink cartridges are the cheapest (fool).

2. Mini-Fridge

Seriously? They use a ridiculous amount of power, and as such were banned by halls a few years ago. Besides, unless you actually need this (possibly for medical or dietary reasons) then they just take up large amounts of space and look downright silly. If you want a fridge, use the one in your kitchen. Or drink your beer warm. Welcome to student life.

3. TV

Ask yourself these questions: Will I have space? Do I want to spend £145.50 extra on a license fee (mandatory if you’re watching live TV in the UK)? Will I be able to move it or store it during summer? Is it really so much better than my laptop? If the answer to any of these is no, then give this one a miss.

St Andrews has so much to offer, you shouldn’t be watching too much TV anyway. Unless it’s for the football, in which case they often show games in hall common areas and in pubs (which have a much better atmosphere than your room anyway). Many popular TV shows have similar followings in halls, which often result in fighting over the remote – just like one big family.

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