Dorm shopping is probably one of the most exciting things to do before college. You get to completely decorate an empty room and well and who doesn’t like to go shopping? But dorm shopping can get really expensive fast! But don’t worry, I got you. Here are some tips to make dorm shopping even better! Keep reading this if you want to save money dorm shopping ;).
Make a list and stick to it
Make a complete list of everything you’re going to need while you’re in college. Here, I posted a list with all the essentials, check the downloadable version below. And here I posted a blog post of things you should’t bring to college.
I know we often can get too excited and write down things we might not even need, so if you aren’t sure if you’re going to need something, just don’t buy it. I made the mistake of buying things I ended up not using. And they took up some precious space at my dorm. So, don’t do the same mistake. Also, some things are not allowed at some residential halls, like toaster, always check your school’s list.
Talk to college students
A way of finding out what you are actually going to need, is to talk with current college students. They have lived on campus long enough to have an idea of what you might need your freshman year at the dorms. Also, they could let you know places where you can find dorm stuff for cheaper, and they can give you tips. So, just ask!
Coordinate with your roommate
…If you’re going to have one. If you don’t coordinate with your roommate who’s bringing what, then you’re going to end up having two brooms, two large mirrors and so on. So, coordinate with your roommate and you’ll end up saving some money on things she’s or he’s bringing. For example, my roommate brought the mirror and a printer, while I brought trash cans and a water filter.
Set a budget
A way to save money dorm shopping is to set a budget. Talk with your parents and find out what they’re willing to spend. Setting a budget is always better, because it keeps you in control. It also keeps you from buying things you don’t need or that are too expensive, making you search for cheaper alternatives.
One of the worst things you can do, is waiting until the last minute to go dorm shopping. Why? Because stores get cramped, and because you might not find things on sale anymore. Also, please don’t wait until move-in day to shop, because on move-in day, stores that are close to campus are often empty, and if not, they’re more expensive. So, you’ll have to drive further to get what you need or you’ll end up paying more. Also, there’re bunch of sales on stores during July and August, so check that out!
Find out the size of your dorm
You’ve probably have already heard that dorms are tiny. And some of them really are! But it all depends on the residence hall you’re going to be living at. There are buildings with bigger rooms. For example, during my freshman year I ended up staying at a suite style dorm. Which was really big and I didn’t have as many space problems as my friends staying at other dorms did. You should find out how big or small your dorm is, which will give you an idea of how many things you can bring and how big your things can be. Imagine, buying a bunch of things and some big lamps, and then finding out on move-in day that there’s no way your things will fit in your dorm.
Look for sales
I know this is obvious, like of course you’re going to be looking at sales if you want to save some money dorm shopping. But, I just had to mention it. Quick tip: Stuff that have a tag that says they’re for dorms, tend to be more expensive.
Coupons Coupons Coupons
If you subscribe to Bed, Bath & Beyond email list, they’re going to send you all the sales and offers they have every week. Also, this goes for every single store out there that sells dorm stuff. Quick tip: there’s a cash back app for target ;).
Look for stuff at your house
Remember that not everything has to be new, so just look for a couple things in your house you could take with you to your dorm. Besides, depending on what you decide to take with you, some items could give your dorm that homey feeling.
Go to thrift stores
You might find some cute decor stuff for your dorm at a super affordable price.
Go to garage sales
Because, why not?
Look for bargains
There’re some stores that are super cheap like Ross, where you can get towels, some decor stuff and organizers. But other stores are also TJMaxx, JCPenney, Marshals and Burlington.
Don’t forget about dollar stores
You can find some essential things like plates and cups for dirt cheap! As well as some cure decor stuff – get creative!
But also, think about quality
Yes, I know you want to save money dorm shopping. But saving money is fun only until something breaks as soon as you move-in and you have to buy a new item. In that case you’ll end up spending double, soooo you should put quality before price. I guess this also depends on what are the things you’re buying. But here are a couple examples of when you should put quality before price.
- Bed sheets, pillows & comforter
- Mattress pad
Ultimately a cute and fun way of saving money, especially in dorm room decor, is to DIY. You could make your gallery wall, with your own paintings. And there’s literally nothing you can’t DIY. Besides, it is so much fun! If you think you’re not crafty at all, there’re lots of fool-proof DIY projects you could try.
Buy what you actually need
This goes along with my first tip: make list and stick to it. And you should do that! Yes, I know there’re so many cute stuff at stores like target, but always ask yourself if you’re actually going to need them. And don’t make an excuse to “need them”. But that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself too much – have fun with it!
I recommend, to buy what you need, and once you move-in you could still go and buy stuff you like. Once you already know exactly how big or small your dorm is and once you’re certain you can fit more things without any problem and also once you know you can buy more things, without breaking the bank. Also, once you move-in you will know if you’re going to be needing anything else, so there’re chances you’ll still have to buy a couple things, like more storage bins.