Let’s be honest – college is expensive. You’re already facing a pretty steep bill between the application fees, tuition, buying books, and paying for housing. And if you’re heading to college for the very first time, you’ll also need to purchase everything from sheets and pillows to toiletries and cookware because they just might need to buy their own groceries.
While you probably need a fair amount of stuff to get started, many families make the mistake of over-shopping before sending their students off to college. If you’re looking to save a few bucks when stocking up for school, here are a few tips to help you get what you need without blowing your budget:
Wait For The Deals
Many big box stores like Walmart and Target run some serious back-to-college specials as schools get ready to come back into session. While you might be tempted to knock out some shopping early, if you can wait, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the sales you’ll find. Things like clothes hangers, plastic storage bins, and laundry hampers will be available at rock-bottom prices – and in lots of fun varieties to suit your personal style.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
Want to do some back-to-school shopping online? As soon as you get your college ID and .edu email address, you’ll gain access to tons of deals and discounts available only to college students. Many of those big box stores mentioned above will send out exclusive coupons and promotions exclusively for those getting ready for college, so keep your eyes peeled on your inbox for discount codes and other offers. Amazon Prime offers a special membership for college students at no cost for the first six months, so you’ll be able to pick up anything you forgot to purchase with free two-day shipping.
Shop Second Hand
Need to furnish your dorm room? Don’t splurge on brand new, high-end furniture. Instead, head to your nearest Goodwill or check out your area’s Craigslist page and see what you can pick up second-hand. Gently used furniture is significantly cheaper than buying new stuff, and with the number of times you’ll move throughout college, you don’t want to invest in anything you’d be disappointed to get rid of.
Don’t Go Crazy
It can be easy to go overboard when shopping for college. After all, when you’re leaving home for the first time, it can be a little shocking to realize how much stuff you don’t have and buy a ton of things to compensate. Instead, aim for the “less is more” approach. Get the basics, get settled in, and then reevaluate to figure out what you really need. Instead of making your shopping list based on the things you think you’ll need, you’ll have a legitimate list of stuff you want – and you’ll know what you can probably live without.
Getting everything you need to go to college can be expensive, but it certainly doesn’t have to be and there are lots of things you do not need. By shopping strategically and taking advantage of the many deals and discounts aimed at college students, you might be surprised to see just how much cash you’re able to save – and spend on other things! Have you found any clever ways to cut costs when shopping for college stuff? Leave a comment and let me know!