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7 Ways to Save Money on College Dorm Room Essentials

Sending your college student to live in a dorm or college apartment for the first time is exciting, emotional and expensive. But it’s possible to set up a miniature home-away-from-home that’s comfortable and functional without breaking the bank. Check out these tips for saving money on dorm room essentials.  Mother and daughter unpacking dorm room essentials

Find Out What’s Included and Allowed

Standard dorm room amenities vary widely. Find out what is included with room and board and what you need to supply. Also find out what students are allowed to have in their rooms. Some dorms allow small appliances such as toaster ovens and coffee makers, while others forbid them. If you buy items they can’t use, you’ll have the hassle of bringing them back home with you and returning them to the store.

Create a Budget and Action Plan

As with all major expenditures, it’s best to set a budget when shopping for dorm room essentials. It will help you stay focused and look for the best deals, rather than buying the first things that catch your eye. Be sure to reach out to your student’s future roommate to find out what they plan to bring and coordinate your shopping so you can avoid repetition on items the roommates will share.

Shop with Discounted Gift Cards

It takes a bit of planning, but shopping with discounted gift cards is an easy way to stretch your dollars. Check out Cardpool, CardCash or Gift Card Granny to buy discounted gift cards for big box stores and other retailers. If you’re not familiar with discounted gift cards, these sites sell gift cards at a discount off face value. As of this writing, Gift Card Granny is offering 9% off Target Cards and 15% off Kohl’s cards. When you combine that with sale prices, it adds up to impressive savings.

Get the Student Discount

So many popular retailers offer student discounts of up to 20% with a valid school ID. Some of the stores that offer student discounts on dorm room essentials include:

  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Dell
  • Sony
  • Amazon
  • Sam’s Club
  • JOANN Fabric (perfect for room décor)
  • Goodwill (fun finds and furniture)

Don’t Overbuy

You want to set up your student with everything they need, but there’s a fine line between just enough and too much. You’ll want to make sure to get enough dorm room essentials for the first few weeks, but keep in mind space limitations and storage restrictions. You can always send a care package with additional supplies in a few weeks.

Look for All-in-One Deals

Inclusive deals, such as Bed-in-a-Bag sets, are almost always a good value and will save you money over buying items individually. Plus, they’re easier to pack and help ensure you don’t forget any key items. Look for money-saving inclusive sets of bed linen, towels, dishes, glassware and toiletries.

Compare Prices and Price Match

It’s increasingly common for Amazon to beat other retailers on price. But did you know that many major retailers will now price match Amazon? It takes a little bit of preparation and research, but it’s worth it for the potential savings. Here are several stores that will price match Amazon (be sure to check each store’s specific policies regarding price matching):

  • JC Penney
  • Target
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Lowe’s
  • Home Depot
  • JOANN Fabric
  • Nordstrom

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