How To Fill Your Dorm Without Emptying Your Wallet

by on June 14, 2012

The expenses of college seem to add up quickly. Your bank account is already being drained by rising tuition, books and food. Now you have to pay for housing and in addition, all the dorm stuff to go in it. Surprisingly, it’s the dorm items that can make you break bank and dip further into your savings. However, there are a few tips to saving money on dorm supplies.

First of all, get the basics down by knowing what you need and what you don’t. Figure out whether your dorm or apartment will already be furnished or if it comes with a dishwasher or not. A dorm may provide a bed, dresser, desk, and small refrigerator but an apartment may be furnished with the same items or nothing at all. If you will be sharing living space, you will also want to work out a way to share the larger items. Communicate with your roommates so that you have everything your new place needs and no duplicates. You don’t want to unpack and find out that collectively you have three microwaves but no shower curtain. By doing this, you can also facilitate a way to split the costs for an appliance and have each of you pay half.

saving money on your dorm furnishingsOnce you’re ready to shop, know your budget. If you don’t start working on a budget now, you will end up taking a crash course in budgeting throughout college. Buying everything new could break your already hurting bank account. Take a step back and realize that there is always someone out there trying to get rid of their old stuff. Some of which may look brand new to you. Practice networking and using your resources, whether it is catching your neighbors redecorating their living room and offering to take their couch off their hands instead of them throwing it out on the curb or visiting websites such as Ebay, Craigslist, BeatYourPrice, and Oodle to connect with people selling used items that you need. Similarly, thrift stores like St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill sell good used items and when you purchase from there you are supporting charity work as well. Even decorating can be affordable by stopping at the art departments where they often host sales on student artwork at reasonable prices while supporting up-and-coming artists.

Consider your transportation needs as well. Is the convenience of having your own car worth what it will cost in parking fees and insurance? If your campus is small, a bike may be all you need. If you live off campus, form a carpool with friends. If the city has a bus system, take advantage of it; fares are usually reduced or free for students. The more you save outside of the dorm, the more you can afford to put in it.

A laptop has become a must-have for most college students but prices range from $500 to $5000. What kind of laptop do you really need? An expensive laptop may tempt you to play more video games, while a more basic option will work just as well for researching, writing papers and checking email. Buying refurbished can save you hundreds off the original price, and some factory-refurbished laptops even include a warranty. Like it was stated at the beginning, saving money on dorm stuff comes down to, not settling for less, but understanding what is actually needed.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Angel from condo in manila June 15, 2012 at 3:06 am

Wise tips here, certainly hunting season for a place to live is now open mostly for students because the school year is open. It is a fact that finding a place is not easy especially if you don’t know what type of property you are looking for. So to avoid further problems it is necessary for one to first determine what your needs are. Clarifying your goal make your mission easy.


Joe Thompson July 12, 2012 at 3:01 am

Make use of the space if things are not needed you can sell it just to have more space in your room.


Lee September 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

Hi the parking charges for a car over here in the uk now at our universities are really getting out of control. So much so in my last year I left my car at my parents house. Got on the train with my bike and used that during term time. Certainly not as cool but it saved me a packet.

Thanks lee
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LaptopForCollege September 6, 2012 at 7:45 am

You can really save money when buying a laptop, especially for college. There are a lot of student discounts on laptops, you just have to search for them. And not only when buying a laptop, if you are on a tight budget and you know how to manage your budget, you won’t find problems with you bank account. Also it is very important to make difference between “needs” and “wants”. Plus, “investment” is another term you should keep in mind. When you are on a tight budget you can still invest money in anything, but you should be aware of the failure.


Mandy from roper washer and dryer September 10, 2012 at 4:27 am

Finding place is not an easy,specially for those who can’t afford to pay high standards dormitory.One of the easiest way to save money for students is to analyze what is your need .Don’t just depend on a good looking dorm,always consider if they pass government QA.


kevin September 15, 2012 at 12:39 am

Take advantage of any community appliances that may be available on site, such as a fridge or a coffee maker instead of buying one yourself. Other than that just get the things that you must have and not items you may or may not need.
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ginakennemer October 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

A good article, covering a lot of things we should consider when moving out and into a dorm. When faced with this tough choice, we will have a lot of things on our mind and will not be able to figure out a lot of important stuff, and this might drain our wallet. The author has made everything sure to familiarize us with a few tricks of the trade, so that we do not go wrong when moving in. Maybe they will add something to the list in the future. By its own, this article is purely golden when information is regarded.


Jenny October 22, 2012 at 6:47 am

Some really helpful tips here. You can sell your older stuff to get enough money for buying things you need at present.
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cheap Bamboo Bed sheet set November 21, 2012 at 5:39 am

its is great to see, how to manage things without loosing-up wallet,
i think bamboo bed sheet set is cheaper to get you to do so with new look to your room..

Reply December 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm

We students often have troubles when it comes to arranging our finances. This detailed post brings about a lot of help and realization about the hard stuff, which this actually is. Throughout the year, there are always loose ends and too many of us are actually dumbfounded as to where to start paying first. It is good that the author has given such detailed insight. I am sure that if someone uses these tips, they will definitely get better at managing their own financial situation. Thanks a lot, and please write more of these posts in the future.


Greg Holbert February 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Great post to introduce young students on how to build their finances. Keep up the great work educating people, no matter what age, that it’s never too early to keep up with your spending. Great blog and article!


Carla March 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm

When I was a student at Virginia Union, I didn’t have much money and frequently used Craigslist, yard sales, and my local Goodwill to purchase gently used furniture and supplies for little to nothing. You’ve provided some great money saving tips.
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vinilos infantiles March 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Thanks for these wonderful tips. They are extremely useful for single guys like myself. I will recommend this post to my friends and work colleagues.


bondi conveyancing April 2, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Yes Some really helpful tips here. You can sell your older stuff to get enough money for buying things you need at present.
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Garg Ankit April 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

From my personal experience, what I can suggest is that one should not borrow any money while in college. Also, alcohol, parties, and restaurants cost a ton of money and one should skip them altogether if you want to start your adult life free of debt.
Garg Ankit recently posted..Top 13 money saving tips for 2013My Profile


Chris S April 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

That sounds like no fun at all! If you miss the parties then you miss much of the college experience. At least when I was in school you could go to house parties and pay just a few bucks to stay there the whole nite – so technically that could be another way to save money in college.
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Garg Ankit April 9, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hey Chris,
I think you misunderstood me! Or maybe my words weren’t so clear!
I didn’t mean to completely curb the parties and miss the college life experience. I just wanted to say that if properly controlled, a huge amount could easily be saved from this vertical.
Hope I’m clear now 🙂
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seno April 9, 2013 at 4:42 am


I like your post. “Once you’re ready to shop, know your budget” this word make me to realize about my budget and make me more be aware to shop. Thank you
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Olga Sanders April 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Becoming concious of the budget is the key to maintaining things in college life. However, I am also against borrowing.
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Furniture Expert April 21, 2013 at 8:36 am

The dorm room is a transition space in a journey from being a kid to adulthood. A person can try the DIY decorating tips.
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Mitchel Reverra May 6, 2013 at 2:55 am

There are a lot of student discounts on laptops, you just have to search for them. And not only when buying a laptop, if you are on a tight budget and you know how to manage your budget, you won’t find problems with you bank account…
Mitchel Reverra recently posted..The Power of QuestionsMy Profile


Dedy July 9, 2013 at 2:27 am

Well, I agree with that, the day home for college costs very bounced up, coupled with the rising transport. I am confused what to do anymore. This time I might be switching transportation by bicycle each day to minimize expenses.
thanks for share


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