Tips for Parents
Design on a Dime
As your family prepares to send a student off to school, it's quite likely that money is on your mind. First it's the tuition payment. Then the insurance. A trip to campus for orientation and the big book purchase. And, of course, furnishing a living space. Sheets, school supplies, carpets, bathroom caddies, a computer... the list goes on and on. But you don't have to break the bank in order to design a comfortable living space for your student. Here are some tricks for making the process cheaper:
- Take stock of what you have on hand already. Got an extra desk lamp lying around? There's no need to buy a new one if so! Everything in your student's residence hall living space doesn't have to be brand new. In fact, it's almost better if it's not. Stuff will get banged around during the packing process anyway.
- Make sure to coordinate with your student's roommate(s). You don't want to end up with two of everything in a small living space! Plus, coordinating could help you split the cost for big ticket items.
- Visit flea markets and garage sales. This is the season for them! You can find so many great bargains — and since the vintage/retro look is "in" right now, your student will likely enjoy hunting for cool buys.
- Take advantage of 4th of July and back to school sales. There will be so many to choose from, there's no reason to buy anything at full cost!
- Avoid buying a lot of things in bulk. Finding space to store it will be tough and it might end up being more than is needed anyway.
- Talk with other college students. Find out from them what they took to school that wasn't needed. You can definitely learn from others' mistakes, and then pass on your newfound knowledge to others.
- Take just the essentials with plans to purchase additional items after your student has settled in for some time. Of course your student will want to have everything he needs from the get go. But sometimes it's best to wait it out until after he gets into a groove.
If all of the reality TV home improvement shows can "design on a dime," why can't you? With some thought and planning, we think you can save lots of money — and still design a living space that your student will enjoy and be proud of.
Just the Essentials
It's so easy to purchase more than is needed. Don't get carried away. Instead, purchase just the essentials. After a few weeks, your student will have a much better idea of what she actually needs.
• Binders or notebooks
• Pens and pencils
• Laundry basket or bag
• Alarm clock
• Clothing and delicates
• Flip flops
• Plastic dishes and utensils
• Desk lamp
• Small vacuum
• Day planner
Focusing on one season at a time will help too. There's no need to bring or purchase heavy clothing for the winter months for September. There will be plenty of time to get this type of stuff at a later date.
Prepared for our institution by PaperClip Communications, www.paper-clip.com.
Copyright 2006, 125 Paterson Ave., Little Falls, NJ 07424