Frugal Dorm Room Ideas: College Essentials On a Budget

Updated June 3, 2020

dorm room ideas

It’s the summer before your freshman year of college. Need some dorm room ideas? You’re moving into a small room in a few weeks that will become your new “home away from home,” and you’re going to need some stuff. You’re probably being inundated with package offers to outfit your room with matching comforters and rugs and USB night tables and fancy wall decor.

But here’s the big secret: You can find a lot of what you need for your dorm room pretty cheaply. With some careful planning, and a good list and organization, you don’t have to break the bank to have a functional yet stylish dorm room, no matter what Pinterest tells you. And this goes for women AND men!

RELATED: 10 Things to Bring to Move-In, and Then Leave Behind

Find Sales Before Back-to-School Time

Around mid-June, a lot of big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart are getting rid of things they deem “school supplies” before they start setting up their big back-to-school sections in July and August. Look in the clearance items for sheets or blankets too. Additionally, you can get individual pieces of cutlery at these stores, instead of buying a full set.

Other “constant coupon” stores like Kohl’s have big discounts on the every-popular Twin XL mattress pad, sheets, and towels almost constantly. Do some compare/contrast online against Amazon and other retailers too. Their online selection is much bigger than in-store.

And with the downturn in the economy due to the coronavirus, more stores are having sales as they open up. Be sure and check them out.

Second Hand Saves Money

Craigslist, LetGo, and even good old eBay (local) can have great deals, especially on bigger ticket items like minifridges and microwaves. It’s easier than going to yard and garage sales, and you can do it from the comfort of your computer or phone.

Here’s an insider tip from someone who lives in a college town: College town Craigslists can be jam packed with items graduates and other students are trying to get rid of. Look for the closest Craigslist for your college town, and see if you can pick something up around move-in time. That’ll also save you from moving it with the rest of your stuff!

Goodwill or The Salvation Army: Huge Stockpiles of Stuff

Along those same lines, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other charity shops can have great deals, and during the spring coronavirus lockdown, many people spent time de-cluttering their homes. That means more bargains for you!

Charity shops usually have a variety of items, from plates to furniture. And the same college town tip applies. Research what donation-type stores are local to your dorm. You might end up with a serious deal.

RELATED: Dorm Needs 2020: Masks, Cleaning Supplies, Hand Sanitizer

Finally, be sure and text your new roommate often as you find stuff. We’re not saying things have to match, but there’s no need for you both to bring the fridge. Coordinate and communicate!

What are your best frugal dorm room ideas? Tweet or FB us!

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