It’s the summer before heading off to college, and you’re working on getting everything ready. You’ve organized your favorite books and already packed your best clothes, but you’re still missing a few dorm supplies–bedding, decorations, electronics. Just thinking about picking out the cutest comforter ever is exciting, but you’re hesitant about breaking the bank. To stay within your tight college kid budget, here are a few DOs & DON’Ts for when you hit the mall & your dorm:
–Research your dorm hall. Google pictures of what your specific dorm room may look like. Scour Facebook for upperclassmen and ask what they know or their opinion of the dorm hall that you got assigned. Be prepared for positive and negative reviews, but keep an optimistic mindset. This will give you an idea of what and how much you can pack based on the size and layout of the room. You won’t need everything from your closet because it definitely won’t fit in your dorm closet, so pack smart.
–Get to know your roommate early on. You want to make sure you know who you’re going to be living with for the next semester or so. Look up your roommate on Facebook or email them. Get in contact to introduce yourself. Be sure to coordinate who will buy/bring what.
–Get organized. Dorms are small, and there won’t be much space for all the things you normally have in your room at home. Buy storage bins, cosmetic organizers, drawer organizers, shoe racks, over the door hooks, etc. You want to make sure you have a comfortable number of items and that they’ll be able to all fit in your dorm.
–Make an essentials list. Can’t live without your stuffed teddy bear? Do you get cold easily and need extra blankets? Are you allergic to anything? By creating a list, you’ll be able to filter out what you don’t need and make sure you don’t forget the essentials.
–Buy everything offered in stores. Retail stores usually set aside an entire department for dorm shopping. Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond create checklists for their student shoppers, but these lists are often full of unnecessary things. Will you really need a Keurig? Is a gold-plated bathroom caddy really a “must-have”?
–Get your books months in advance. Your schedule might change, or you may find out your teacher doesn’t even require books. For more general classes (like biology or English or math), get information from other students that have already taken those classes to see if the teacher uses the book.
–Pay full price for your books. Many students sell their books every semester for much less than full price. You can also rent your book from different sources like Amazon or local bargain bookstores. Chegg allow you to rent books out for a very, very low price. They also have a good return policy, so if you got the wrong book for class, it’ll be easy to return or exchange.
–Bring an excessive amount of electronics. Unless you have your own apartment, bringing your Wii, Xbox, and Apple TV might not be essential. You also have to remember that any valuable device you bring is always at risk of being stolen, and most of the time, the institution you’re attending isn’t held liable for any stolen items.
Be sure to shop smart and pack smart when you’re getting things ready for college. With proper planning, you can have a successful move-in day!
By Maria Vasquez