It’s that time of year again! And, whether or not you are happy about it, you cannot deny that the time for going back to school is upon us! Therefore, we hope that we can help you in some of your back to school shopping! We hope to provide you with some ideas that we thought were particularly helpful as well as provide some ideas for items that may be helpful, especially if you are a Freshman moving into a college dorm!
Now, we may not be able to save you thousands of dollars, but we are hoping that by doing some of the things that we have done in the past, you will be able to save some money this season.
Thus, without further ado, let’s talk about how to save when going back to school.
- Shoe Storage. In fact, any form of clothing management is crucial. First, it saves you time! When you have an 8:00 AM class, the very last thing you want to do is look for the proper clothes or shoes to wear. However, not all shoe or clothing organizers were created equal (at least not for college students). That’s why an item such as a shoe organizer, that hangs from you door, as opposed to a shoe rack, which could go in your closet or under your bed, is crucial to have. And second, having your shoes scattered all over your room is a nightmare and can cause some unneeded stress. That’s why we recommend going for the shoe organizer that hangs from your door! Abigail Gray of Living the Gray Life showcases this perfectly in her Buy This, Not That: College Dorm Edition blog.
- To Pay or Not to Pay…for Shipping. In our opinion, you should NOT pay for shipping! Yes, you could get your items before you leave for school. However, most brick and mortar stores, such as Target and Best Buy allow you to order your items and pick them up in-store. This means that you can find the item online or in a location near you, order it, and then pick up that item in the location near your school. Be advised though, as these methods of shopping become more popular, you may spend some time in line to check out. But, nevertheless, we recommend to bypass paying for shipping and picking up your items in-store.
- A Plug/Power Strip. This is one of the more obvious, yet extremely over-looked objects that is relatively cheap but is so important. First, obviously by bringing your own, you won’t have to go out and buy another one when you get to school. Second, for some reason, it always seems as though the outlets in college dorms are in the worst possible locations. Yes, it is true that you can move your furniture, but instead of causing that unneeded bodily stress, simply bring one or two long plug strips*!
- DO NOT buy if there’s only a slight chance of usage. By this, we mean that there are always going to be certain items that are going to be bought but not actually be used by the student. For instance, one of our writers had a dry-erase board that was never even unwrapped in the 3 years he had it. The point is, if there is even a slight chance that the item is a “might use” item, you could definitely save some money by holding off on purchasing those items for now, until they become a “must have/definitely need”.
- Talk to your roommates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We can’t stress how important this is when trying to save money when going back to school. Not only will it save you, your family, and your roommates’s family money when doing back-to-school shopping, it will also decrease the clutter that will inevitably reach your room. In addition, don’t just ask about the big items, such as a TV, mini-fridge, or printer. Ask about the staplers, the scissors, the vacuums, etc. that are definitely going to be needed, but, perhaps, you only need one of for your dorm room.
- Textbooks. College textbooks are extremely expensive and can put a financial burden on anyone if they are taking the right (or, perhaps, wrong) courses. Some textbooks, which are more likely to simply be novels, usually don’t exceed $20. However, there are some actual textbooks that can reach almost $350. And, with the integration of technology, the days of getting the version prior to the one you’re “required” to get are almost over. It’s probably best to put this here: We in no way condone the illegal downloading of books! That being said, there are still some ways to save money when buying textbooks. The best practice is to simply wait until after the first week of classes is over. Now, there will always be the one or two professors who will tell you that you need the textbook on the first day, and it is best to listen to them, but, for the most part, you do not need to get your textbooks right away. If you would like to learn more about textbooks, see our other blog post!
- If you can, wait until after the school year starts to get some supplies. Stores will be trying to get rid of items such as notebooks, pens, paper, pencils, etc., and thus those items might be marked lower than they were during the back-to-school sales.
- E-books. If your thing always has and always will be using a hard copy of a book, then you can skip this one. For everyone else, e-book readers are, potentially, a great way to save some money, space, and your back and shoulders during the school year. Some textbooks can be found in their e-book form for much less money than their hard copy counterparts. In addition, if you have an e-book reader, then you do not have to store or carry around all of your heavy textbooks, which could definitely save you from some back pain.
- A mini-steamer to get those wrinkles out of your clothes. This item is particularly helpful if you don’t have a lot of space, but you go on a lot of interviews or simply like to look nice while going to class. As opposed to a traditional clothing iron, a mini-steamer can be used without placing the item of clothing on a surface and is smaller, which makes it easier for storage. Abigail Gray of Living the Gray Life showcases this perfectly in her Buy This, Not That: College Dorm Edition blog.
- The Layout of the Dorm. Being prepared for any scenario is important, but you can definitely save some money if you know what the dorm room looks like ahead of time. See if you can get pictures of the dorm rooms or can take a virtual tour of the room as this will help you gauge how much space you are dealing with and thus what to bring or not to bring.
Well folks, we hope that we’ve been able to provide you with some ideas for college and to possibly save you some of your hard earned money. If you’d like some more ideas, please comment below or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter. Best of luck! Stay SAVVY!