There is no question that college is more expensive than ever and that goes for tuition, room, board, books…..and decorating dorm rooms. For the parents of today’s college freshman, college dorm décor meant buying special extra long sheets and a couple of milk crates to make their dorm room functional and maybe a poster or two to make it feel like home. This is a far cry from the $900+ many college students are now spending to do up their dorm room according to Business Insider.
But you don’t need to go to these lengths to create a comfortable, cozy home away from home. There is simply no reason to break the bank in order to get all the latest gadgets and ‘must-have’ items from that list you found on the internet. With some thrifty thinking and a little creativity, you can get everything needed without having to take out another student loan.
Know What You Can and Can’t Have
This is probably the most important cost saving strategy as there isn’t any point in purchasing something that won’t actually be able to be used, hung, or kept in the dorm room. Colleges and universities have different rules about what students can and cannot have in their rooms so make sure you check the rules for the specific college being attended. Do this as part of making the list recommended in #2 below.
Make a List
This is probably the second most important strategy you can employ to stretch your dorm decorating dollars. Start by taking any list you can find on the college’s website and then add anything else that is specific to you or your student’s needs. Then go back over the list to make sure you haven’t included anything that isn’t allowed in the room. Now go back over the list again and question every single item on the list to make sure it is necessary and that it will enhance the college environment. Remember, dorm rooms are small and space will be at a premium, so less is going to be better.
Shop the Sales
When you are ready to start shopping, look for the best price for each item on your list. This may mean purchasing things online instead of buying them from local retailers. If the college is far away, you may be able to save money by shipping online purchases directly to the school rather than paying to ship them to your home and then paying to transport them to the college.
Seek Out Second Hand Stuff
There is no reason that you need to purchase new items when there is a good chance you can find most of what you need from second hand shops or on Craigslist. Seek out second-hand options whenever possible to stretch your decorating dollars as far as they will go.
Split the Cost
If you will be sharing space with a roommate, make arrangements ahead of time to decrease costs by splitting the expense of items you will both use like a mini-fridge or a television.