8 suggestions to spend less on dorm decor and put the savings toward tuition

A guest blog by college senior Robert Felton moving picture blog pic 2

Did you know the second biggest “season” for retailers behind holiday shopping is back to school? The average college freshman spends $1,200 on decor and room supplies. I don’t know about you, but I can think of much better ways to use $1,200 then on medusa lamps, hangers and strange wall stickers. I’m starting my senior year of college now, so please hear me out. You really won’t use much of the stuff you buy anyway, truthfully you will throw most of it out when you move into a real apartment. The thing I used most was a laptop computer desk (you know the tray with a pillow on one side so it can rest on your lap). All the stickers, lamps and color coordinated storage cubes were all destroyed or thrown away before I entered sophomore year.


Here are my 8 suggestions to spend less on dorm decor and put the savings toward tuition.

  1. This is one of the big times for retail stores and they push and advertise to make you feel like you need everything – their goal is to sell merchandise. Resist them.
  2. Many dorm rooms come with supplied appliances so check and see if you get a fridge or microwave, because truth be told you do not need another mini fridge.
  3. Any futon you buy will be destroyed before freshman year is over. Do not and I repeat DO NOT buy a new $300 futon. Find a couch from a family friend. Use a crappy old couch or if you really have to, buy a cheap one because people will jump, sleep, spill and vomit on your futon and it is not worth the money to last a few weeks.
  4. Get creative with your decor. Don’t waste your money on wall stickers and mass retailer approved wall art. Everyone will have the same crap. Do a photo collage or get artistic and crafty and do a Pinterest project. This will save you some money and save you from looking like another cookie cutter college student.
  5. You will spend your life either on your bed or your futon so chairs and bean bags are a total waste of money.
  6. A cute waste bin? Really, why? You are spending money on garbage – literally.
  7. If you buy an air conditioner, you are spoiled. People will love you for your AC, but think you are a spoiled brat. Ask your parents if they had AC. I am guessing they didn’t. Part of the fun of growing up is having to struggle. (If living without AC is a struggle). One of my best memories from last summer was my best friend and I fighting to stay cool on a lava hot day. Don’t bother with luxuries, learn a life lesson and have a reason to get good grades. Those good grades will translate into luxuries later in life.
  8. Room decorating is more fun with your roommate and creativity than with store bought crap from major retailers. After moving into my dorm, my roommate and I went shopping and bought some awesome ugly knick knacks from Goodwill. I helped my best friend decorate week by week with pictures we had taken from the school year.

One more final note. You are in college – it is the one time in your life that it is fun to be poor. The kids sitting on expensive computer and game systems miss out on all the real fun. Being freshmen, we went on nature adventures, built snow igloos, did scavenger hunts, went to parties, attended concerts and comedians and joined clubs. Skip on some of the electronics and gadgets, pocket the money, use it for tuition, because in the end you will be happy you did.

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