Thursday, August 16, 2012

5 Essential College Dorm Room Tips that Save College Students $100's

Would you like to have an extra $50, $100 or even $500 in your bank account in November, rather than spend all that hard earned money right before you go to collge?

Well, I thought so. So here are some great Back to College tips that might help keep hundreds of dollars in your bank account with just a few simple adjustments.

Before Heading Back to College

1. Make A List of Needs and Wants
    Before you even start to buy things for college, make a concrete list of everything you think you may need (you can always add on if you think of something else) and want. Making a list will help you visualize everything you are planning to purchase, help you prioritize what you really need, and prevent impulse buys.

The key is to a. ) Prioritize the List and 2.) Determine whether to Purchase, Borrow or Pass on Items. 

2. Don’t Be Afraid of Hand Me Downs
     When it comes to furniture, bedding and even some electronics look towards family and friends that have traded up to new items. In many cases, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even neighbors may have items that they have been sitting around for years and they will be happy to give it to you rather than those it in the trash.

If you have not luck with family then check out thrift shops and yard sales to find unique items at a savings of 50 - 90% off retail. Lets face it, these items will get beaten up with all the moves back and forth to school so why not save where you can?
3. Shop Around and Wait
    Back to school is a big money maker for stores like Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store and others like it. They are all vying for your attention.  All of these stores will have sales, coupons, and competitive prices.

However, if you don’t need the item right away and as long as the item is not crucial to your survival, wait and watch the savings add up! Many times stores bring in special products in July for Back to College / School and once it hits mid-September it is time to mark down and discount those items to make room for holiday merchandise. Savings window Sept. 15th - Oct. 15th.

Also, your school might have special deals or events at big name stores nearby. For example, George Washington University holds a Target Takeover every year and supplies their students with coupons and useful free stuff that saves you money.
4. Team Up to Split It Up
    Get in touch with your roommates before you move in. It is so much easier to split big items like chairs, a fridge, throw rugs and bookshelves up between you before you arrive. It not only saves you money but prevents you from having double or triple of items once you move in.

Plus you can also opt to buy things together after you move in. My roommate and I split the cost of the rug and cleaning supplies after we knew where we wanted everything in our room to go.
5. Textbooks
    First of all, I recommend that you wait to buy your textbooks. You may not even use them in some classes, and they might also be listed incorrectly online. At the very least, wait until your Professor either post their syllabus online, or gives it to you in class.
    Second, do not purchase your books from the bookstore. You will be overcharged! When your books are listed, and ISBN number will usually be provided and this can then be used to find the exact textbook online. My personal favorite place to buy books is Amazon. You can buy them new or used for less and they have competitive prices.

Besides Amazon, check online. There are a plethora of website that sell used textbooks. You can even buy the international version of the book, which is usually almost identical to the American version, and also cheaper. (Just be wary, because the international versions are usually harder to sell back).

Another option is to check your school’s Facebook page (although this is better for the second semester of the year). I guarantee many students will be looking to sell their books and there will be no shipping charge. While shopping around, make sure you pay attention to what addition the book is, professors can be picky about having the latest addition.
    Third, sell your books back at the end of the semester. Unless you will need it for another class as reference, or particularly liked it you do not need to keep your old textbooks. The sooner you can sell it back the better, before your professor changes the addition for the next year. FYI - Amazon buys used textbooks too.

A Special Thanks to our guest blogger
Bekah Troutman of George Washington University

Additional Related Blogs
5 Overlooked Dorm Items, You Dont Know You Need BUT You'll Want

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