Dorm room essentials

Moving off to college can be expensive…and we’re not talking about tuition. If you’re heading away from home for your four-year degree, chances are you’ll be one of the 70% of college freshman who move into on-campus dormitories.* And buying what you need for your dorm room can be a money trap in itself. Here are a few tips to help you keep your moving costs down.

Check with Your University
Call your university’s student housing department and ask them what appliances or furniture are included with the room. Beds should be standard, but you might ask about study desks, bedside tables, televisions, computers/laptops, mini-fridges, as well as lamps.

Correspond with Your Roommate
Once you receive your roommate assignment, contact your roommate and share information about what the two of you have between you. Once you know what you have and what your roommate has, you can make a list of what you still need. Hopefully your roommate will cooperate in bringing some of the things off that list. For example, if you have a TV to bring and share, perhaps your roommate can bring the mini-fridge.

Pace Yourself
Once summer hits, retailers will be filling your mailbox with flyers and emails about what you need to buy. But even with their promotional prices, buying everything at once can be a huge financial burden. Assuming you know your going to college, it’s wise to spread your purchases out over your final year of high school. With the above advice in mind (checking with your university and roommate about big-ticket items) there are still multiple items that you will have to purchase for yourself. You can lessen the sticker shock by looking for bargains throughout the year. Look at brick and mortar stores, of course, but also continuously peruse online bargain sites—many provide free shipping. You can also hit the garage sale circuit for bargains, and don’t forget friends and family. Many may have surplus items that they would be happy to donate to the cause.

With this in mind, here’s a list of some of the things you’ll need to purchase. Happy shopping!

Linens:
• Towels
• Bedding (again, check with your university to determine bed size):
• Mattress pad
• Sheets
• Pillow(s)
• Comforter

Storage:
• Shelving units
• Bed stand
• Shower caddy
• Clothes Hamper/Laundry bag

Study Equipment:
• Desk (if not provided)
• Desk chair
• Lap desk
• Desk or bed lamp

Closet:
• Shoe rack
• Vertical hangers
• Storage boxes for hats/scarves/purses

Electronics:
• Desktop computer, laptop or tablet
• Printer
• Sound system
• Television
• Phone

* www.census.gov

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