Second Time Around Aug01

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Second Time Around

When it comes to sending kids off to college, the second time around comes with its share of rewards. You’ve got the dorm room shopping and move-in day wired. You book their flights and doctor’s appointments early and know just where to look on the college website for important info.

But now that each of us has sent our second, and last, child off to college, we’ve learned a few more things along the way. Here are our top 5:

  • What works for one kid will not necessarily work for another. Each is different and each has different needs. Sounds cliché but oh so true! Be flexible and adjust your expectations.
  • Encourage them to sign up for Amazon Prime for Students. Amazon offers a six-month free trial for students and membership after six months is at 50% of the regular yearly cost while they remain a student. This has proved to be an invaluable resource! Click here for a direct link: Amazon Student. Since Amazon carries pretty much everything – toiletries, school supplies, printer ink, books, shoes, blankets – they can place an order and receive a package in two days with no shipping cost. (Of course, if your credit card is tied to the account, make sure they clear all purchases with you in advance.)
  • If they don’t know about this already, turn them on to Venmo and encourage them to download it on their smartphone. This is one of those apps you wish you’d thought of yourself. Roommates often share supplies, friends go out to eat or to the movies, and it’s very common for one person to pay and allow the others to pay them back later, especially since few kids carry cash. Venmo makes it impossible to welch on your friends! It allows friends to send money to each other in an instant. Some parents are using it to send money to their kids because it’s so simple and fun to use. And it’s free! Click here for more info: Venmo
  • Your kids may already be familiar with Uber but, if not, encourage them to sign up for an account on this – or some other – ride sharing app. With a driver at their fingertips, there’s never an excuse to get in a car with someone under the influence and you can be assured that your kid will have a ride home in an emergency. While many taxis today accept credit or debit cards, not all do. With Uber, no cash is ever needed, and the ride can be much cheaper than a taxi. Also, if they ride with a friend, Uber can split the fare between the parties, assuming they both have accounts.
  • And when it comes to textbooks… In addition to renting or purchasing used or new books at the bookstore, have your student look into on-campus book swaps. This option can save TONS of money! So many students sell their used books directly to other students at a deep discount through these programs. Also, the library is such a great resource. Many on-campus libraries have textbooks and will let students check them out for the entire semester – for free! It’s been a great lesson for our kids to take the lead on finding the books they need at the best price.

As you’re trying to wrap your head around the reality of sending your baby off to college (because somehow your youngest one will always be your baby), stop for a moment. Take a breath, and relish this time. You know from experience how quickly the college years go by. Before you know it they’ll be moving on to their next adventure — and hopefully so will you!