Dorm life is an exciting milestone for many incoming college students, but preparing to move in can be a little daunting (and costly). It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and overspend on items you don’t really need. So before you start shopping, consider these do’s and don’ts:
Do: Review Dorm Move-In Info
Your college move-in packet (or online information) typically lists needed items and prohibited items. Read carefully before shopping. For example, many stores include microwaves in their “dorm essentials” shopping category, but some schools don’t allow them. Before you shop, make sure it’s allowed. Consider your space. You can often find dorm room floor plans online, including measurements, so you get a realistic sense of your new living space — and don’t forget to search for dorm room photos! Dorms don’t have a lot of space, plus, you’ll be sharing it with roommates.
Don’t: Buy Expensive Bedding
Most dorms provide Twin XL beds, which are unusual off-campus. You may need to shop for the right-sized sheets before you move in (or purchase them from the college). Before you splurge, consider your future living plans. Are you hoping to move into an apartment next term? If so, you’ll need to invest in bedding again for your future mattress.
Do: Set a Budget
Set a spending limit to prevent overspending. Estimate costs (or do a quick search online) for the cost of items you need. It’s a good idea to factor in a little extra to cover surprise or discretionary purchases — such as cleaning supplies or a decoration that makes your space feel like home.
Don’t: Over Do It
Stick to buying the basics before you move in. Once you’re settled and have met your roommate, you’ll know how much (or how little) space you have. Plus, holding off on buying low-priority items means you can take advantage of clearance and holiday sales later to save money.
Do: Coordinate With Your Roommate
If you have a cooperative roommate, you both may be able to save money (and space) by sharing items. For example, one person brings a TV, the other brings a printer. Committing to covering certain items instead of splitting costs also makes it easier to decide who gets what when it’s time to part ways.