While going away to college is exciting, you likely feel a little anxious too. You have no idea of who the college with pair you with in a dorm room or what your classes have to offer. One of the big things that worry college students is money, especially how to use their money to get the most out of it. When it comes to your dorm room, you don’t need to spend nearly as much money as you might think. You can put your stamp on the room with the right decorations and still stick to your budget.
Look for Extra Money
Any extra money that you find can go a long way towards decorating your dorm room and helping you stick to a set budget. Most colleges have part-time jobs that are open to all students. You may even find that you can apply for those jobs from home. Student loans can help too. Most loan programs provide money for students to cover their living expenses, which can include a new computer or some fun decorations. Private student loans can often bridge the gap between what the government and school give you and what you need. When you have a solid co-signer, you can get a low-interest rate on a private loan too.
Take Inspiration from Home
Far too many incoming college students think that they need to buy all new things to take to college, which causes them to go over their budgets. An easy way to save money on your decorating is when you draw inspiration from your bedroom and home. Taking a few things such as throw pillows and posters not only help you decorate the space, but those items can also help you feel at home in your dorm room. While you may want an all-new look at school, you can still take a few things from home.
Hit the Thrifts
Thrift stores are a great place to find decorations that range from pictures for the walls to new furniture. It’s helpful to get an idea of the room’s size first, which will keep you from buying a large desk or futon that won’t fit in the room. Many thrift stores located near and around college campuses have cheap decorations donated by former students. You might want to check yard sales in your hometown and online ads near the campus too. Not only do these cheap decorations help you stick to your budget, but you’ll also reduce waste.
Work with Your Future Roommates
Whether you share a tiny dorm room with one other person or an apartment with three or more people, you can work together to save on costs. If one of you can bring a new couch for the living room, you might volunteer to bring a mini-refrigerator from home. Most schools give incoming students the addresses of their roommates to help them connect before the semester starts. Both writing standard letters and sending emails or text messages can help you work out who will bring what and let you go in on different pieces.