Dorm Shopping on a Budget

Whether you’re looking for trendy, cozy, colorful, or simple, you can do it on a budget. Thrift stores, clearance sections, and even your parents’ attic often have the most fun and unique items at little to no cost (and it’s better for the planet, too). With an open mind, decorating your dorm room can be one less thing you have to spend your summer savings on, making for a better start to the semester for your wallet and mind.

Thrift Stores

Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other local thrift stores prove to be the best places to find wall decor, desk supplies, and clothes inexpensively for your dorm. Thrifting requires a lot of patience, time and perseverance; sometimes you can walk away with a bag full of items, while other times you may leave empty-handed. Stopping regularly at thrift stores is the best way to find great items!       

There are always cool prints, frames, mirrors and hand-painted art at thrift stores. Even a bunch of funky, random pieces can make a fun gallery wall in your dorm. In this section you may also be able to find corkboards and whiteboards for your dorm, perfect for tacking pictures or writing to-dos on.

Desk supplies youv'e always borrowed from your parents are items you should look out for in thrift stores. Tape dispensers, staplers, hole punchers and desk organizers can easily be found. Also, dishware, organizational bins, and an entire new wardrobe for college await you at the thrift store!

Sale Sections and Dollar Stores

Whenever you find yourself out shopping, always make sure to check out the clearance and sale sections for items you are looking for. Perhaps you can find a similar bed comforter to the one you’ve been eyeing online for a much cheaper price. Maybe you can find a mini fridge for half the cost it would normally be. Keep an eye out for sales! If you are planning on buying towels at Target, wait until a special deal pops up. Sales happen all the time, you just have to be patient. Also, it’s important to stay on track with what you actually need, as it can be very easy to get caught up in a good sale!

The dollar store can be a great place to find, well, anything. Use the dollar store as a last resort, however. Items are generally not made to last and are produced in unethical and non-environmentally friendly ways, always try the thrift store first! Though, if you need some picture frames but can’t seem to find what you want inexpensively anywhere else, go to the dollar store. Same goes for small organizational bins and school supplies.

The Attic

Chances are that your parents have a lot of stuff that they aren’t currently using. Ask them if you can go through the attic to find picture frames, décor or other items for your dorm room. Try asking older siblings who went through college if they have leftover dorm room stuff. One man’s “trash” is another man’s treasure!

Get creative! It is very inexpensive to make collages or your very own art. You can also ask an artistic friend if they could paint something for your dorm room, a piece that is both beautiful and sentimental.

You have the power to control your budget. With a little extra time and thought, you can save hundreds of dollars, and no one would even know it!