Tuition, fees, room and board, and books are not the only college costs that can empty your bank account. If you’re a new student, or are moving off-campus, there’s an often neglected cost that can sneak up on you: furniture, appliances, and, yes, even decorations.
Whether it’s a coffee table, a blender, or a microwave, there’s things you need to live, on-campus and off. Here’s how to save on them:
- Check with family and friends. People usually have used stuff tucked in their garage or basement that never gets used anyway. Each used chair, or table, or mattress, or poster saves you money.
- Find free stuff. Many local newspapers have “to give away” sections in the classifieds, and often contain used household items. They may not be in prime condition, but if they work, so what? Also check out Craigslist and the Freecycle Network—both are great places to find great stuff for free, or very, very cheap.
- Bargain hunt. You probably won’t be able to find everything you need for free. But when you do have to buckle down and spend some money, do so resourcefully. Don’t just go to the store and buy the first thing. Comparison shop. Go online. Use eBay, Amazon, Overstock, and other bargain sites to save big.
- Get creative. Who says you need to buy a picture to hang on that empty wall? Why not paint the wall yourself? Or put a whiteboard there and do daily doodles? It’s more fun and cheaper.
- Go multipurpose. Why get a couch and a bed if you can have a futon that is, in essence, both? Think about all the corners you can cut, then cut them.