In continuation of yesterday's blog post, I decided to talk more about what you should bring to college. Yesterday's blog discussed how to save money while buying textbooks and other necessities before starting your semester. Today, I am going to talk about the different things you may need for your dorm room and how to keep the costs down as well. Generally dorms come equipped with a few things, but it's nice to know what you need to bring in order to ensure you start off on the right foot. Here are some things I found helpful when I moved out of my parents house the first time.
The benefits of living in a dorm is that you generally have meal plan of some kind and can eat at the different dining halls. Unfortunately, those halls are not always open and there may come a time when you get hungry. Make sure you pack different snack foods to hold you over. Granola bars and trail mix are two good food choices to have around in case you get a bout of the hungries. Ramen noodles are also a good food to have around. They are dirt cheap and even without a stove, can be cooked in a microwave. Which brings me to my next point.
Some college dorms allow you to have different appliances in your room, depending on where you go. Most every dorm will allow you to have a microwave in your dorm, but some won't let you have things like coffee makers. Figure out what kind of appliances you can have, and plan accordingly. Also, sharing appliances can save money in the long run. See what your roommates have and what they are bringing to campus with them. There's no need for two of the same appliances. Nobody really needs two microwaves or toasters. One will do just fine. If you need to buy these appliances, I encourage you to check out a second hand store or yard sale. Chances are, you'll be able to find what you need for under $10.
Again, it's nice to know what you are going to have when you move into your dorm, so you have an idea of what to bring. I have found that futons work well in dorms, not only because they are cheap, but because they also double as a bed. You never know who may need to crash at your place for a night. Having a futon is a nice and easy way to make sure people have a place to stay if need be. While I never actually lived in the dorms in college, I spent the night on my fair share of futons when the weather was less than desirable. Bean bags (or I prefer the Foof. Kind of like a bean bag, but much more comfy) are also good to bring into dorms because the take up little space, and are relatively cheap to buy. Once again, check out second hand stores. They often times have these items kicking around and at a much cheaper price. There's not need to spend a ton of money if you don't have to.
I find that many people overbuy for college and end up having much more in their dorms then they really need. If you are going to a college that is near a department store, I suggest not buying a ton right off. It's important to have some things, but just because a back to school item is on sale, doesn't mean that you have to run off and buy it right off either. If you end up needing it when you get to college, it's not a big deal driving and picking up that item. In some instances it may be better to be overprepared, but if you buy something that you end up never using, it's a waste of money. Save money at the start, and it can add up in the long run.
What are your money saving tips for college?