Just a few days before my high school graduation, I got the chance to tour the campus at my dream college and I decided that I was going to go there no matter what. Long story short, two and a half months before the fall semester, I applied, got accepted, everything, just before the fall deadline. After all that was finally finished, I realized that I might need a few things before school starts.
Packing for college is many things, but it is definitely not cheap. Not only are you having to pack away your things, but you also might find that you need a few more things as well. This can mean spending a lot of money, but there are ways to avoid spending a lot.
I know, cleaning is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about life in a dorm room, but it is something important to think about. Use what you know. Trying out a new brand of cleaner while in a small dorm room is not advisable, especially if you are sensitive to certain chemicals and smells. Be sure to stock up on these as they go on sale or while you have coupons. I just saved $10 on my cleaning supplies by stacking coupons and buying them on buy one get one.
Don’t go overboard. Keep in mind that you don’t know what your roommates are bringing. If you haven’t seen you room yet, you might want to get only a few pieces.
Get a Registry:
Just like with weddings and housewarming parties, you can create a free registry for your dorm room on sites like Target.com. Not only can you create a complete list of everything you need but you can also get your family members to help get some of those much needed items like bedding, school supplies, and even some of your décor.
Using my target registry I was able to get some family members to help out and buy me a small Keurig coffee maker, and a little rolling cart that fits perfectly under it. Both of those would have cost me $130 but because of my registry and my amazing family, I got them for free.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Not only are you having to elbow your way through the teachers and other college students, but, likely you won’t even find what it is you need because the shelves have all been cleaned out. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait.
Look at what is allowed in your dorm. Some colleges allow you to bring things like crockpots and electric kettles and then there are some that don’t. Before you go spending your money on something like that, make sure that you can even bring those items.
Smaller is better. If you have the average dorm room with one or two other people and you all have the near impossible task of sharing one room, make sure you try to keep everything maybe just a little smaller than normal. That massive coffee maker might seem really nice, but saving space is really important when it comes to sharing a room. Go for the smaller options whenever possible, plus usually the smaller an item is, the less it costs.
Ladies, you might also want to keep space saving in mind with all of your clothes. Yes, fashion is important but make sure you have a place to put all of your clothes first.
If the college you’re going to is in a different state, make sure you research what the climate is like there before you go. If the climate is much colder than where you live now, then you’ll need to start stocking up on sweaters and jackets in the summer before you leave. Because I ordered them in the off season, I was able to get two sweaters from Abercrombie for $24 vs. the original price of $108, so I saved $84 on some really nice sweaters.
Use things you already have. College is the start of a new stage in your life, but that doesn’t mean you need to replace everything you own. Save $60 on buying a new comforter, when the one you got three months ago still looks brand new.
Don’t just go to one store. Shop around a little and find the best deals. By looking around a bit for a backpack, I found a $140 Vera Bradley backpack for less than $50 on Amazon because it was a retired print. I used a gift card and spent none of my own money on a very expensive backpack.
Last bit of advice is to talk to some college students who have maybe been to the college you’re going to or if not, they can give you some practical advice about living in a dorm, for example don’t bring board games or card games, because you’ll never play them.
Despite only having two and a half months to pack for this huge new step in my life, I’ve managed to get through it all while saving money. Fully prepared, and able to put a few dollars back into my wallet, I’m all set for college life!