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Creating Home on a Budget

Over the past few weeks, I have been getting ready to pick up my life and prepare to create a home away from home for a few months. At first, this was an intimidating task since I haven’t had to do anything quite like it before. During my time in school, I have been lucky enough to live at home. The few times that I stayed in a dorm before was for a short time and there were strict rules on what we could and couldn’t have while I was there. In this article, I will be discussing my attempts at trying to make my home away from home a comfortable place while on a budget.

To determine what absolutely needed to be packed, I found a list on Pinterest that outlined necessities when moving into a first apartment or a dorm. From here, I started making a checklist that was applicable to my situation. I broke it down into a bunch of categories to make it easier to know what 100% needs to be packed. Some of the categories I decided on were clothes, shoes, personal care products, and electronics/chargers. This helped me keep track of what I would most likely want to take with me. After creating categories, I started a second checklist of everything that I needed to get before packing. This includes items that were possibly included on a packing list that I did not already have. Before shopping, I tried to come up with a rough outline of a budget based on my list. When creating a budget, it is helpful to use a spreadsheet to determine what is a comfortable amount to spend that won’t affect bills. To also try to keep within budget, I decided to keep an eye out for sales and use coupons. With the timing of this, I’ve been lucky enough to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. If you are able to do this, it helps tremendously. 

After determining the essentials, the next step is to make a cozy space that feels like home. I decided to make a separate category in my packing list for this. Some things that I added to this list include fairy lights, comfy clothes, and blankets. Most of these items I already had. Amazon has good lights that are inexpensive if you are looking for ways to make your space cozy. You can also get lights that have cute shapes such as butterflies or stars to make your space feel a little bit more personal. To make it affordable, you can bring blankets and comfy clothes that you already had with you. If you need to get comfy clothes, a great option is Kohl’s – especially if they are having a good sale. Slippers can also be a good choice to make your space feel a little bit more homey. For the budget side, I decided to splurge a little bit on comfy clothes and also get extra lights since I want to make sure that I feel cozy and comfortable in my dorm while gone.

After packing everything, the next step is to assemble your space and make your space feel like a home away from home. Something else that I decided to do ahead of time is download a bunch of movies and shows from the streaming services I have since I’m unsure of the wifi situation. In my carry on, I packed a few outfits for my first few days in case any bags get lost. I also made sure to have my headphones and devices charged before leaving to ensure that I won’t have to worry about any batteries dying during the travel day. By doing all of these little things, it will hopefully make the process of getting settled in your home away from home smoother and also keep it fairly budget friendly.

Madison Lucas

Cal Lutheran '22

I'm a Senior at California Lutheran University. My major is business management, and I love fashion.