College 101: 5 Purchases I Don’t Regret

Hello, friends! Today, I’m sharing my second post in my College 101 series that I started last month starting with my 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started College post. I received a lot of positive feedback so I’m super excited to continue my thoughts, recommendations, and lessons! Since the start of college always signals a trip to a local Target or Walmart to purchase all your lifestyle necessities, I decided to share my top 5 purchases that I’ve been using ever since freshman year. 🛍 From command hooks to notebooks, there’s a lot of things you’re likely to buy…but are they all smart investments?? Let’s find out!

*Please note that I am NOT a sponsor or affiliate for any external sites. I just want to truthfully share my best purchases throughout university.

Mattress Topper

I’ve already mentioned how necessary a mattress topper was for me in my first post a few weeks ago, but this instrumental investment is making a second appearance on the blog just so I can emphasize how great of a purchase it was. Most college beds are not known to be the most comfortable, but when you’re out and about between classes and clubs, you want to have a good night’s rest when you come home. 😴💤 It’s important to treat your body well, and when you don’t get enough proper sleep, you’re more likely to crash during the day.

Computer Stand

If you’re like me and you plan on using your laptop (versus a desktop) as your primary computer throughout college, let me just say…invest in a laptop stand. To put it simply, a laptop stand will help reduce eye strain and neck pain since you’re relying less on looking downwards towards a screen. 🖥 I typically leave my laptop stand in my room for when I’m studying at home because I’d rather not carry it around in my backpack and use during classes. BUT! the simple switch of using it at home has already helped me figure out a studying position that is more sustainable and comfortable.

Dolly for Moving

From moving in to moving out, you’re likely to accumulate a lot of stuff, and with all the boxes and storage units you’ll have to carry around, I highly recommend purchasing a dolly or moving unit to make the process a lot more efficient and less tiresome. 📦🚙 I bought this little rectangle dolly from Aldi for less than $10, and this summer when I had to move apartment units, this dolly became a lifesaver. I was able to stack boxes and save hours of time.

Water Boiler

For the college student who’s craving ramen at midnight or the bookworm who simply wants a cup of tea, a water boiler is one of the best investments for any college student. I didn’t have a microwave freshman year, and my water boiler was perfect to cook late-night ramen. 💧 It was also perfect to brew a cup of tea or coffee! I remember being so happy to find out that my school had a coffee shop that accepted meal points, but once I realized how much it cost, I instantly switched over to making my own.

Dry Erase Calendar

My life is easily cataloged on my Google Calendar, but sometimes, you just want to view things in a bigger picture. Like for many of these items, I recommend checking your school’s Free and For Sale page on Facebook or any local thrift shop before purchasing because I got the dry erase calendar linked above for only $5. Still, I would recommend purchasing something similar for anyone because I love being able to see all my exams and big events in a physical form.

What are your best college purchases?

Are there any items you recommend?

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27 thoughts on “College 101: 5 Purchases I Don’t Regret

    1. YES!! They’re so helpful to see everything in a bigger picture, and I love using it with my Google Calendar ❤️

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  1. Great post! I’m definitely bringing a mattress topper, but I didn’t think of a computer stand or dry erase calendar and need to look into it? I know there’s a microwave on my floor somewhere but I’m not sure how close/convenient it is to my room so I definitely might look into a water boiler too! THESE POSTS ARE A LIFE SAVER can’t wait for your next one!!

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    1. AHH I’m so so glad Kay!! I honestly remember feeling so lost and unsure of what I needed when I first started Freshman year. I’d also definitely recommend getting command hooks for decoration too 🥰

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  2. It took me until dry erase calendar to realise that the headings were links lmao (I was on twitter’s pop up browser so they didn’t look like links but it glitched out so I switched to WordPress reader where I immediately felt dumb), regardless this is another awesome post! Just a quick question; you’re allowed water boilers in your room?/where do you keep them? As far as I’m aware everywhere in the Southern Hemisphere is like nO electrical appliances because fire hazard, but it was like the one thing I’d definitely wanna bring.

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    1. LOLOL YES!! I was debating whether to use the headers as links or to just include them in text. I also definitely prefer reading on WordPress reader or the blog versus on my phone too 😅

      I keep my water boiler at my desk!! My school allows them (just no electrical appliances with coils so like toasters). It might be dependent on the school too, but I think it’s overall a really safe tool to use. 😦

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      1. Haha it was totally fine once I switched to reader, but in browser preview it just looked like headers until I was like hmm… maybe I’m meant to click on this?

        Ooh alright, I guess we’ll have to see with schools then; I shall make it a point to ask about them if I get the chance!

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  3. These posts are awesome! Unfortunately, I don’t go to college in the same way as you all, here in the Netherlands, we just go to college daily and don’t have the ability of living on campus. Nonetheless, I look forward to the next one in this series, because the calendar is a great idea, and the laptop stand as well (I actually have one at home as well!). You’re amazing for making these posts!! 😀

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    1. AWW I’m so glad that you enjoy these posts!! That’s actually so cool that you commute to college in the Netherlands. I feel like I would really enjoy that too because it might make living expenses cheaper? (unless you’re living away from home).

      Definitely let me know if there are other topics you’d love to see!! I’m so glad that you love them so far 🥰❤️

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      1. Well, it’s quite a different system here, so we’ve got a lot of college’s with different kinds of classes to follow, and most of the people either live at home still, or move to one of the “student housings” which kinda seems like living on campus, except that it’s not on campus, if that makes sense xD I myself am living with my boyfriend in the house he bought, so I just cycle an hour to school and an hour back home every day. Luckily, I don’t mind it, but there’s lots of people who’d rather use public transport, which is why, as you’re applying for college, you can also get a free public transport card for four years if you prove to be a student, so going to school is easy. It really depends on the person, I think. I moved out before I went to college, so I was already on my own, making it easier to live another bit further away when moving in here!

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  4. This is such an interesting series, Tiffany, I love it so much.I really should invest, even now, in a dry & erase calendar, that sounds so useful haha 🙂

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    1. Yay!! I’m really glad that you think it’s interesting (I always feel a little weird since it’s outside the typical book blogging posts I write) 😅 I feel like a dry erase calendar would be super useful too for blogging tracking!

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  5. that ‘get in loser, we’re going shopping’ gif could NOT have been better placed. okay but this is SUCH a fantastic and super informative post (and series).

    a laptop stand seems like an absolute essential and even though im not in college right now (figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your list is hard😭😭), i feel like i still should invest in one right this moment. kettels are just essential for life. you never know when you might have a post mid-night NEED for tea or coffee and you just CANT let yourself be without the caffeine.

    i adore this post tiffany and i cant wait for your future posts in this series💖

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    1. MWHAHA I was honestly debating whether or not to include it (and maybe use a friendlier gif??) but I thought it was too good to not use!

      ajflkadsjf a laptop stand is so good!! it’s been super helpful so i dont feel bad about staring at a computer screen as much since i’m not staring downwards?? and yes!! my kettle has been such a lifesaver lately since i’ve been sick and living off tea

      i’m super glad that you love this series *sniffle* *hugs* and aflkjflaskf let me know if you think there’s anything you want to see on it!!

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  6. This post took me back to my college days. Dry erase calendar and mattress topper were must haves then. Even though I’m not a college student, I love how informative this series is.

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    1. Yes!! I’m super glad that you’re able to relate to it still and that you also think these were great investments ❤️ Thank you for enjoying the series!!

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  7. There is literally nothing more important in a dorm room than a mattress topper. Most necessary college purchase, ever. I avoided doing computer work in bed at all costs, because I try to keep my sleep space separate from my work space. But my mom did give me a computer stand … and I never used it. because I either always worked at my desk, the coffee shop table, or at the library stacks. I was stubborn about the not doing homework or any laptop work in bed 😂

    also, I used my coffee pot as my water boiler, complete with boiling tea and making ramen in it. We love a multi-purpose necessity.

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    1. YES LIZ YES!! I love doing blogging work at my bed, but it’s SO ROUGH because I get so sleepy and want to envelope into the pillows 💤OMG you honestly embody the coffee shop aesthetic!!

      omg i’ve never thought of using a coffee pot as a water boiler but that is so genius 😍😍😍

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  8. I have been out of college for quite some time but I agree with the mattress topper. I think I ony used an egg crate pad and a mattress pad when I was in school. When I was college, I made sure to get a good desk lamp since the dormitory rooms don’t provide the ideal amount of lighting you need in your study area. I had a fridge and microwave during my freshman year since I lived in traditional dorms. I lived in an apartment suite setting my sophomore, junior and senior years so I only brought the mini fridge since we had a kitchen.

    I invested in a laptop cooling pad/fan since I was on my computer all the time and I didn’t want it to overheat. I also had a small ID case attached to a lanyard to keep my student ID, important cards, keys, and some cash on me. It was easy to keep everything important on me. Even during fire drills when I am sleeping, I would just grab the lanyard and go outside without worrying if I would be able to go back into my room without bothering a RA to let me back in.

    Invest in food containers so you can tote around food around campus. My college’s food was not that great so during my sophmore to senior years, I often cooked my meals and toted around the containers. I believe I had a limited meal plan since I had a kitchen in my apartment suite. Also, my rice cooker was a lifesaver! You can do so much with it!

    Great post by the way. The water boiler is genius and I wish I thought of that when I was in college.

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    1. Yes Nicole!! I honestly think a mattress pad can make ALL the difference no matter what type of mattress you’re sleeping on. A desk lamp is such a good mention I can’t believe I forgot to include it in this post!! Most dorms and even my current off-campus apartment don’t provide enough lighting for studying, so I use 2 lamps in my room.

      The small ID case is so true. I used to use a small wallet keychain for the past 3 years but I think this year I decided to just leave everything in my regular wallet because I wanted it in one place. Still, that makes it SO convenient when you need to run out during a late night fire drill.

      I definitely have to agree with you about food containers or I end up using a take out box at school. It’s really difficult when you have less meal points and need to cook all the time.

      Thanks for reading and enjoying my post!! Let me know what else you would love to see 🥰

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  9. This is such a great post, Tiffany! Water boilers are a life saver! I swear, I wouldn’t be able to function without mine. Haha! I’ve been considering purchasing a laptop stand for a while now, but still haven’t done so yet! I seriously need to buy one soon, because the neck strain I receive from staring down at my laptop is truly horrendous. Dry erase calendars are so convenient too! I really love this old one I used to own, but I unfortunately don’t have it anymore! I definitely need to snag one the next time I see it for a cheap price! ❤

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    1. Ahhh I’m so so glad that you found it helpful, Kelly!! I use my water boiler so often to make tea, especially during the winter. And I’m telling you…a laptop stand will do WONDERS for your posture and just overall experience of constantly having to rely on a laptop!

      Thanks for checking out my post! 💖

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  10. Once again, a FANTASTIC College 101 post! (I meant to comment on this agesss ago but College ammirite 😂)
    I’m a commuter, so I do have the luxury of not needing a mattress topper or dolly, but oh my goodness I did not even THINK of a laptop stand! That’s such a great idea! My favorite college purchase would have to be my planner, which is much in the same vein as the dry erase calendar. It’s so useful to have my to do lists concretely in front of me on a planner.

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    1. LOLOL IT’S OKAY CHANA I 100% UNDERSTAND. I’m currently prepping for next week which I know is going to be BUSY 😭

      That’s so cool that you’re a commuter!! Part of me would love that because you could also save so much on housing. A planner is such a great pick too!! I just suck at updating it and staying up to date. I always end up throwing it onto my Google Calendar because I’m too lazy to make things pretty and nice!!

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    1. Yes exactly!! They’re things I wouldn’t think about initially but after picking them up along the way of college, I ended up relying on them so so much 🥰

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