Packing For College: What Should Stay and What Should Go?

college blogAre you heading off to dorm life soon or know someone who is? Well, it’s good to make a plan before the packing begins. Don’t waste precious space on stuff that isn’t needed. We’ve put together a helpful post on what to bring – and what to leave at home.

Do not bring: A television.

Chances are, your school will provide internet TV access, so you can stream your favorite shows. On the same note, don’t pack more than a few books to read or DVDs to watch in your spare time. Your schedule will be fuller than you can imagine and space is tight.

Do bring: Noise-canceling headphones.

As considerate as your roommates may be, they’ll sometimes feel like chatting when you most need to concentrate. Noise-canceling headphones will help you create that quiet space you need.

Do not bring: A ton of food and stockpiles of toiletries.

Unless you’re heading into the wilderness, you can fill up on what you need as the year goes on. It also makes sense to wait until you adjust to dorm life and can realistically determine what you will need.

Do bring: Several weeks’ worth of easy-to-prep food and basic toiletries.

We’re looking at you, ramen noodles. During those first few crazy weeks, you won’t want to bother with complicated food prep or shopping trips to town. Same goes with toiletries – bring enough to last a few weeks.

Do not bring: A mini-fridge.

Your dorm may have one in the common room.

 Do bring: Energy superheroes.

Think portable power banks, power bars and a nifty gadget called BedPower.

Dorm rooms, especially in older colleges, can be skimpy on outlets. Make sure your technology always has enough juice by outfitting an outlet with a power bar.

Similarly, you never know where you might be when your laptop is suddenly low on battery. A portable power bank can really come in handy.

For a power bar that also saves space the BedPower attaches right to your bed! This can be helpful for freeing up desk space and for providing you with that nighttime charge so your phone is powered up to wake you in time for class.

Do not bring: A lot of wall decorations and furniture.

Contrary to what college commercials will have you think, you cannot decorate your room to your heart’s desire. You’ve got your roommates to consider, as well as what are usually tight quarters. Your dorm room probably won’t be able to fit a futon, chair, end table, ottoman and bean bag. You also won’t have the wall space for 500 photos of your besties.

Do bring: A few photos and things from home, as well as space-saving furniture and necessities.

When homesickness strikes, it’s helpful to have something from home to help ease the ache. Photos are also great – as long as you don’t overdo it.

With regard to furniture, shop smart. An ottoman that doubles as a storage container will help you maximize the space you have. Bed risers that double the available under-bed storage are a smart choice. Huggable hangers will let you fit more clothing into your dorm closet.

Do not bring: Textbooks.

Before you buy any textbooks, find out about your library privileges. Chances are, you can borrow the books you need instead of purchasing them. Renting textbooks has also become a popular option.

Do bring: School supplies!

It may sound obvious, but it’s often overlooked with everything else you need to pack. Some super helpful supplies that you may forget to bring include: adhesive page markers, highlighters, citation style manuals and student planners.

Remember: If you have to ask yourself whether you really need to pack something, then you should probably leave it at home.


What do you think is the number one essential when packing for college? Share with us in the comments!


Tax Free Back to School Shopping

TaxFree blog

With the start of the new school year days away, shopping for clothes and supplies is probably at the top of your to do list. This weekend’s tax holiday is the perfect time to get that task done. You can enjoy tax free shopping on clothing, school supplies, personal computers and much more! The tax exempt sales run from August 4 through August 6.

Sales tax will not be collected on purchases of:

  • Clothing, footwear, and certain accessories priced $60 or less per item
  • School supplies selling for $15 or less per item
  • Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories priced $750 or less per item.

This is a great time to take inventory of your home or office space as well as your closets. Do you need new work shirts or a new laptop? Now is the time to buy

You can certainly use this weekend to grab savings for the entire family or you can purchase items and donate to someone that is less fortunate. There are a number of organizations that will be taking donated school supplies during the upcoming weeks. Check out your local news outlets for school supply drives in your area.

We know shopping for school related items can get expensive; however, you can save quite a bit of money by purchasing them during the tax free weekend. Click here for more information and for frequently asked questions about Florida’s sales tax holiday.

Happy Shopping!

Helping Kids Succeed with Back to School Supplies

It may seem like school just ended, but the first day back will be here before you know it. We know school is probably the last thing on your mind, but we believe it’s never too early to start collecting supplies. Here at Insight Credit Union we want to get a head start on giving students the tools they need to succeed for the upcoming school year! Keep reading for more information.

Where can I donate?
Visit any of our branches to drop off supplies.

How long will you be taking donations?
We will be collecting supplies in Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake, Marion, Citrus and Sumter Counties until July 29, 2017.

What supplies are needed?

Pens and Pencils Staples
Binders and Dividers Backpacks
Crayons and Colored Pencils Calculators
Markers Paper Clips
Highlighters Index Cards
Glue Sticks Erasers
Scissors And more!

Who will benefit from the supply drive?

Proceeds will benefit Central Florida schools and charities, including United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, United Way of Citrus County, Lake County Schools through the Red for Ed initiative, the Marion County Education Foundation, Howard Middle School and A Gift for Teaching.

We enjoy giving back to the community and want you to join us in helping kids go back to school confident and ready to learn!

We’d love to see photos of you dropping off your contributions. Share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.



5 Tips to Get Your Kids Ready for the School Year

Back2SchoolIt’s hard to believe that summer break is almost over and your family is once again preparing for another school year. Stress a little less with these great tips to get your kids ready for the new school year.

Summer schedules often differ from school schedules. Kids are in the habit of staying up late at night and then sleeping in late the next day. Changing these habits immediately when school starts can be a shock to their system, adding additional stress and battles to your morning. In order to make the transition as easy as possible, start bedtime about 10 minutes earlier each night and wake them up 10 minutes earlier each morning until they are back on track.

Important Dates
Make sure to mark your calendar with all important dates, especially back to school nights. When you have more than one child in school and need to juggle obligations, this will give you the opportunity and time to prepare.

During the last couple weeks of summer, encourage your children to read or color instead of watching TV or playing video games. This will help them transition back into the learning process and school routine.

Best practice is to designate a place to study and do homework. Younger children should have a designated spot in a family area, such as a family room or kitchen. This enables you to monitor, encourage and help during difficult tasks. Older children should have the option to study in their room or another quiet area of the house.

From an early age, set certain expectations and responsibilities with your children. One way to do this is to set a specific spot in your home for their lunch boxes and backpacks. Have your children set aside any items that need your review in this designated spot, such as important notices or information sent home.

Have any other great back to school tips? Share them in the comments below!

Help Us Stock the Shelves with School Supplies

School may be the last thing on your mind as you enjoy the warm summer days, but here at Insight we’re gearing up for our 2nd Annual Back to School Supply Drive. Help us stock the shelves with much needed school supplies for the upcoming school year! Visit any of our 17 branches between July 1, 2015, and July 31, 2015, to donate.

Supplies needed:2015_SchoolSupplyDrive_WG_Logo

  • Pens and Pencils
  • Binders and Dividers
  • Crayons and Colored Pencils
  • Markers
  • Highlighters
  • Glue Sticks
  • Staples
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Backpacks
  • Calculators
  • Folders
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • Index Cards
  • Erasers
  • And much more!

Proceeds will benefit Central Florida schools and charities, including Heart of Florida United Way, United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, United Way of Citrus County, Red for Ed (Lake County School District), the Hernando County School District, and the Public Education Foundation of Marion County.