12 Money-Saving Tips for the Great College Sendoff

#1  Before you buy anything for your teen’s dorm room, find out what the school already provides either in the room or somewhere in the building.  Some dorms have shared kitchen areas, vacuums that can be borrowed, etc.

#2  It’s also important to learn about which items are not allowed in the dorm room so you don’t purchase something that can’t be used.

#3  Have your teen connect with their roommate and talk about what shared items will be in their room, and who will be bringing them.  They likely only need one mini-fridge, rug, etc.

#4  Don’t pack seasonal clothing and items your teen won’t need during the first few months of school (like a winter coat).  If your teen will be coming home to visit mid-year, they can return to school with these additional items.

#5  Did you know that some colleges offer rentals of mini-fridges, microwaves, and other bulky items?  This may be a cost-saving option, especially if it saves you the cost of shipping items to the dorm room.

#6  If your teen’s college is a plane trip away, you might want to take advantage of stores that offer in-store pickup, and arrange for heavy and large items to be shipped to a store close to your teen’s school.  That will save you money on shipping or airline fees for checked baggage.

#7  Hold off on items that aren’t needed immediately, and have your teen shop online during the first few weeks of school.  By then, they will have a better idea of what they need, and YOU won’t have to carry it, pack it, and bring it (or pay to ship it).  Have your student sign up for the student version of Amazon Prime (read the cancellation details carefully) to get free shipping!

#8  What about electronics?  It pays to shop online to compare prices for laptops, tablets, and scientific calculators.  Once you’ve chosen a brand and model, take advantage of price-matching tools different big chain stores offer.  You can also often get a brick-and-mortar store to match an online price of a competitor.

#9  If you’re purchasing big-ticket items, you may want to sign up for the store’s rewards program and use the points/rebates earned to purchase something else on your teen’s list.

#10  For college textbooks, it’s often a good idea to wait until the class starts and see which texts are really required, and which are just supplemental.  Your teen can borrow some of the supplemental books from the college library or local library, either in print or electronic form.

#11  When purchasing books, opt for the used version if available, and don’t forget to sell them back at the end of the semester.  Amazon has a good selection of used textbooks and quick shipping times.

#12 You can also look online for services that rent textbooks to students for a period of time.