College students will soon be headed to campus as the beginning of the academic year nears. At this point, most students have ironed out their class schedule and purchased books and supplies for the year. As move-in approaches, now comes the fun work of stocking the dorm! Although it’s been a minute since I was in college, I’ve still got some fantastic tips for saving on dorm necessities.
We are incredibly lucky here in KC to have an Ikea store nearby! In my opinion, that store is the authority on affordable small space solutions, which are fantastic for dorm rooms. Although most dorms come ready with a bed, desk and dresser, Ikea has fabulous storage options. The three-tiered utility cart is perfect for odds and ends. They also have a variety of handy door hooks and mirrors, mesh bags in all colors and sizes and towel drying racks. I also love the DIY desk peg boards you can make using their desk tops, which are ideal for storing homework and study supplies.
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Since most dorms come equipped with a mattress, all you’ll need to pick up is bedding. I have a piece of practical advice on this subject. While it’s tempting to get the expensive bed sets with all the decorative pillows, comfort should be the top priority. These are college kids, who are unlikely to make their beds daily. For rooms with bunk setups, you won’t even see the bedding up top! Soft egg crate material, comfortable sheets and a heavy duty or fleece blanket do the trick. While comfortable sheets are a matter of preference, jersey knit material is usually a dorm room favorite, and come reasonably priced in every color at stores like Target. Look for back-to-school sales to pick up yours.
Toiletries and groceries
Not all college towns offer the same shopping options, so for everyday items, I’m a big fan of a shared Amazon Prime account. This allows for delivery right to the student at school, and ensures competitively priced items across the board. Buying items at a campus store last-minute out of necessity can really add up in the long run.
Lastly, even if you have a meal plan, it’s nice to keep snacks and drinks around to avoid impulse vending machine purchases. This is where a Costco or Sam’s Club membership can really help out. Stock up on those dry-food essentials and store extras under a bed or in a closet.
Follow these steps and you’ll avoid the financial stress of prepping your college student’s dorm this school year. Happy shopping!
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.