Back to school is right around the corner and for incoming college freshmen, it’s time to start packing up your things to start a new chapter in your life! Shopping for your college dorm room can be fun if you love to shop, but it can also be a huge hassle because there is so much to get. Not only is there a large variety of items to choose from, but there are a lot of unnecessary and expensive things that you don’t need in your room. Here are some tips to help make your dorm room feel like home without breaking the bank!

Make a list
Before you head to the store, make a list of the items you really need! This will eliminate the impulse shopping. Stores like Target and Wal-Mart reel you in with all of their back to school stuff on display right when you walk in the entrance! Heck, I graduated five years ago and it still gets me sometimes! Be smart and don’t give in to the cool – but unnecessary items!

Here are 5 things that I DO recommend buying:
1. Mini Fridge
2. Storage Bins
3. Shower Caddy and Shower Flip Flops
4. Laundry Hamper
5. Mattress Pad

Shop at home
Before you go shopping, go through your school supplies from last year and figure out what will still work for you this year. There is no point to purchase new school supplies when you have left overs from the years before! You most likely have a backpack and a calculator left over from high school that you can reuse.

Partner with your roommate
Chances are you and your soon-to-be roommate have similar shopping lists. Avoid doubling up and wasting money by touching base before hand to figure out what you each can bring. After all, in a crowded room who really needs two printers? If you are assigned a random roommate, dorm furnishings are a good way to break the ice via email or Facebook!

Ask friends and family
Who said hand-me-downs are a bad thing? Check with your friends or family to see if they have any dorm furnishings they are looking to get rid of! This will save you money and you may be doing them a favor by cleaning their basement and getting rid of their unwanted stuff! First-time students can turn to family and friends for more than a used microwave or rug, though. Those who have been to college recently may just have some tips for your first year on campus!

Make Craigslist your new best friend
Craigslist in a college town is an awesome way to get nice and affordable furniture and electronics! Many students move away after graduation and sell all of their college stuff on Craigslist! Take advantage of this! Spend some time to look for those items you need such as a mini fridge, mattress or futon! This time of year you will be sure to find good deals on these items! Just remember to be smart and safe and always take someone with you when shopping from a random person on Craigslist. If shopping online isn’t your cup of tea, check your local consignment stores! They always have used college necessities and more often than not, they are as good as new!

Use shopping apps
Between coupons, clearance and back-to-school sales it is good to shop around to ensure you are getting the best deal. Instead of spending hours scouring department stores and websites such as to try and score the best deal, use mobile shopping apps such as Amazon Price Check, which allows you to scan the barcode of an item to see if it’s available for less via the online retailer.Coupons can also offer a deeper discount! Instead of clipping 20 percent off squares from ads in the Sunday paper,  use apps such as Coupon Sherpa to maximize your savings.

With these smart tips to save on college dorm needs, you can save yourself some much-needed cash. Your wallet will thank you for thinking ahead when school is back in session. Now that you are all ready for college make sure to have fun and enjoy the next four years! Cherish these moments because they will be over before you know it!

Good Luck!

Jessica M.

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