Behold the college freshman! Loose from the cages of home and hearth, he suddenly realizes he's broke and needs a few more things to make his dorm room feel like a home for the next year. From Microsoft Office licenses to twin bed tents, these secondary necessities for first-semester college students are smart deals designed to help him get ahead.
HP Officejet Pro 8600 Premium e-All-in-One Printer
Price: $209.99 via coupon code "HPUSAVE30" with free shipping
Lowest By: $70
Is It Worth It?: First-year students tend to learn quickly how much the computer lab stinks. With this printer your student can not only avoid a series of potential paper jams, but also copy, scan, and fax wirelessly. This setup features up to 20 ppm black / 16 ppm color, up to 4800x1200 dpi, 4.3" touchscreen LCD, 802.11n wireless, Ethernet, USB, and memory card slots.
If you're looking for a simpler printer, look to OfficeMax for HP models that are priced 30% off via coupon code "HPUSAVE30". Prices start at $66.99 after the coupon and all items qualify for free shipping.
Targus Ultralife Wireless Laser Mouse
Store: Best Buy
Price: $12.99 with in-store pickup
Lowest By: $12
Is It Worth It?: The transition from the family's desktop to a personal laptop is harder for some students than others. But this wireless mouse will make the switch over a little easier. It features an ambidextrous design, scroll wheel, two buttons, nano receiver, and a AA battery.
Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Home and Student 3-User Family Pack
Store: LA Computer Company
Price: $115 with $6.44 s&h
Lowest By: $4
Is It Worth It?: Like a mighty triumvirate of computing power, Excel 2011, PowerPoint 2011, and Word 2011 are the three programs almost every student needs. (Sure there are freeware versions and Open Office, but for the sake of consistency and compatibility, this trio is royalty.) Each of these programs come bundled with a single license that allows up to three installations on separate machines.
Note that Outlook is not included. Requirements include an Intel Mac running OS X 10.5.8 or later; 1GB RAM and 2.5GB hard disk space.
Cuisinart Single Serve Keurig Brewing System
Price: $69.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $52
Is It Worth It?: Coffee is second to water in most freshmen dorms. But we know most cafeterias don't brew the good stuff that'll keep a student fueled and focused for an all-nighter. That's where this K-Cup Cuisinart comes in. With a starter pack of 12 samples, the tired student can be caffeinated in under two minutes. What's more, this Editors' Choice deal is tied with our June mention as the lowest total price we've seen for a Cuisinart K-Cup brewing system.
Privacy Pop Bed Tent
From $89.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $40
Is It Worth It?: When roommates strike back, dealnews privacy edition! Combat an inconsiderate or always-around roommate with this bed-top pod designed to offer alone time in a shared room. Available in Twin Twin Extra Long or Full, it includes a tent, four poles, and carrying bag. (Note that non-members will be charged $4.50 more.)