“Are you ready for Back-to-School?”, a reporter recently asked me. “No.” I replied, a bit disgruntled at the thought of my sunshine euphoria coming to an end. Now, reality is setting in on this 1st day of August, as a mother of a college student…..20 days and counting until my son goes back to school. *sigh*
When your children are college age, the “back-to-school” preparation is a whole new ball game from the typical, books, supplies, new backpack, new sneakers and clothes routine, which after 22 yrs, I can do in my sleep, or from my laptop, or the weekend before school, or the day before…i digress. You can imagine there’s a bit of angst for those parents who have to transplant and create a living environment for their child on the other side of the country (we live in New Jersey, and my son goes to school in San Francisco), but never fear, it CAN be accomplished with relative ease, and here are a few tips to get you through the back to campus season:
1. Finish all necessary paperwork and forms when you college students comes home for the summer break (in May)
From the FAFSA, to housing, I’ve learned that it’s best to have all your ducks in a row before you’re in summer bliss mode, or on vacation and forget an important deadline. This will also help in allowing students to register for classes earlier, and know what supplies and possible electronics needed for their courses so you can better plan your budget. In the case of students who’ve hit the “21” mark, find out if your son/daughter plans to return to a dorm or have they created a master plan to get off-campus housing with some friends, as you will need to do some research to ensure they’re staying in a safe neighborhood and have a responsible landlord.
2. Find a reliable (yet affordable) storage facility
This is an ABSOLUTE necessity for long distance college students. It saves you time and money buy keeping the essentials in a storage facility close to campus (dishes, towels, bed linens, a stash of clothes, etc.). Nowadays, there are some really affordable and turn-key options for storing and moving college students to campus that doesn’t involve exorbitant shipping and transportation costs. Long gone are the days when you needed to rent an entire space, but now you can simply rent containers that fit your needs complete with drop off and pickup from your desired location all for less than $20 a month (compare that with $20-45 per box you ship from home!!). I highly recommend CityStash or CollegeBoxes.com
3. Nix the care packages (unless it’s delicious baked goods of course) and set up a local grocery , and/or subscription service
I cannot tell you how much money we spent shipping boxes of supplies, dry good foods, and other needed items across the country to my son at college. Trust me, it can be a hit to your wallet. Then I wised up and looked for other options that would save on time and costs. Since we opted out of the almost $1800 cost for the meal plan as he had a kitchen in his dorm/apartment, I sought out alternatives. I already used my local grocer’s “shop from home” service as a busy working mom, I figured why not sign up for a local grocer near his school? Bingo, I signed up for Safeway, the rewards card, and saved a shopping cart of the typical items my son would eat. When his food supply got low, he could call/text, or order himself and the groceries would get delivered. This cut his food costs down over 70%!! Another useful trick in lieu of hand made care packages are the box subscription services that have grown ever popular. For the lady college students, there’s a bunch of box services to meet their “monthly” needs, check out the list here from Women’s Health. For the fellas, there’s of course Birchbox for Men, and a very economical option with Gillette’s Subscription Service where the college guys can get the best blades for about $1 a week, and avoid the college “scruffy” look for those times they may have an interview or internship. Grooming is key when entering the working world kids! 😉
4. Put your name on their bank account and set up a “replenish” schedule and tight budget
Wiring cash to your kids at college can add up at $20-25 a pop in transfer fees. This prompted me to have my son re-arrange his bank account and have my name added to it. In the event he needed cash, I could just transfer it to his debit card from our accounts online and safe the fees, time and the hassle of sending him the transaction # and going to a local money wire center to collect the cash. However, you must set some ground rules and account for the x-factor known as ‘grandparents’. Don’t be surprised if you find out your child has ‘double-dipped’ in their request for funds (i.e. ask grandmom and pop-pop on Monday, then ask you on Wednesday 😕 ). Stay firm, and let them suffer a bit if they do this, and of course, there’s always getting a part-time or campus job as long as it doesn’t affect their grades/studies. This is the perfect time for young adults to learn how to manage their living expenses, so be sure to make this a teachable moment and be consistent with the rules and timing for getting funds.
5. Sign them up for the Student Advantage program
I asked my son if he or any of his friends signed up for the Student Advantage card. His reply: “what’s that? none of my friends have heard of it either”…. My response: #facepalm. I cannot believe how many students more than half way through their college careers have not heard of Student Advantage and all of the perks, discounts, and savings that come with it. Everything from movie tickets, to shopping at Target, and yes, even making sure you get a discount on sending mom flowers on Mother’s Day since 9 times out of 10 your student won’t be home, but studying for finals at this time of year.
Do you have any tips on how you get your kids back to campus? Share them in the comments below or on your social channels with hashtag #Gillette #BackToCampus!
Follow Gillette on Facebook
About the Brand:
For over 110 years, Gillette has delivered precision technology and unrivaled product performance – improving the lives of over 800 million men around the world. From shaving and body grooming, to skin care and sweat protection, Gillette offers a wide variety of products including razors, shave prep (gels, foams and creams), skin care, after shaves, antiperspirants, deodorants and body wash. For more information and the latest news on Gillette, visit http://www.gillette.com/. To see its full selection of products, visit http://www.gillette.com/en/us/shop now.aspx.
About Gillette’s Subscription service:
Stocking up for school can be hard when a dorm room provides limited space for storage. Gillette’s blade refill subscription service (available at www.Gillette.com) is a practical, hasslefree option that delivers Gillette’s blades directly to your door, meaning one less thing to think about and leaving collegeaged sons no reason to come home looking scraggly. And, Gillette’s best blades are more affordable than you might think—only about $1 a week for most guys. College kids have enough to think about. With Gillette subscription they can put more time toward “studying.”
About Gillette Fusion ProGlide with New FlexBall Technology:
The Gillette Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology is the first razor of its kind, with a new handle that adjusts and pivots to respond to the contours of a man’s face for fewer missed hairs. Using existing Fusion ProGlide cartridges, the new handle lets the cartridge move in three dimensions for maximum contact. The result is #ShavingRebuilt for an entirely new shave experience. Men who tried the Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology prefer it 2to1 over the standard Fusion ProGlide. And since it uses the same blades as the Fusion ProGlide, it’s a onetime purchase for a 2X better shave.