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10 Back-to-School Buys That Are a Waste of Money

"My son usually just eats the meat and drinks the juice, leaving the crackers and snacks that he's not particularly fond of -- such a waste, especially since one pre-packaged lunch in New York City costs about $4-$5. As a result, I purchase deli meat to go along with my son's juice boxes and snacks that he enjoys. I use everything to create my own version of the grocery store's pre-packaged lunch," says New York parent Latasha Michelle Kennedy.

4. Tablets

For students not yet in college, tablets top the "unnecessary items" list.

"Most teachers won't allow the tablet to be used in-class and even if they are permitted your child won't likely have access to WiFi," says Andrea Eldridge, CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call , an on-site computer and laptop repair service.


And if you plan on writing school essays on the tablet, you'll need to buy a separate keyboard, which only adds to the cost. "Printing is also a challenge and while the programs available to integrate with Word, Excel and Powerpoint give you basic document and presentation production capabilities, many are limited in their function, particularly when you aren't in range of a WiFi network," Eldridge adds.

5. Printers

For college students, buying a printer for the dorm room might seem like a no-brainer. Until you need to replace the ink cartridges.

"When I first moved in, my father and I debated whether or not I would need a printer. We ended up purchasing a printer but when the ink ran out I was too broke to buy another cartridge. The printer ended up sitting on my desk unplugged for the next four years. There where computers and printers all over campus and it was no big deal to swing by the library before class to print out my assignments," says Jacqueline Jones, a 2011 graduate of Ohio University.

Some schools even give students a certain number of pages per semester that they can print for no charge.

6. Mini-refrigerators

For students heading to college and living in dorms, it's best to check with the school ahead of time to see if the dormitory provides mini-refrigerators. There's no point in spending close to $100 only to find out that there's already one in the dorm.

Also, some dorm rooms have kitchen areas with shared refrigerators, yet another reason why investing in a mini-refrigerator can be a waste of money.

7. Speakers

When living in the dorms, headphones or earphones are the best option, instead of stereos or portable iPod/iPhone speakers.

Some dorms have "quiet hours," where playing loud music is prohibited, making it a safer bet to purchase headphones, rather than fancy speakers.