Best Web sites to shop on the cheap for your dorm
Today's guest blogger is Max Levitte, founder of Cheapism.com.
You've thought about it all summer and now it's almost here -- dorm move-in day! You'll probably want to be fully outfitted but still have money in the bank for things like a social life.
So here's college lesson No. 1: Living on a Budget and Doing It in Style. This includes getting the most bang for your buck when furnishing your dorm room.
Chances are you'll have a roommate (or two), and you've already talked and planned at length about what each of you will supply. Just to be sure you've got everything covered, use this handy check list: sheets, pillows, towels, shower caddy/tote, shoe rack, clothes organizers, extra shelving, laundry basket, and larger items like a mini-fridge, microwave, toaster (if it's allowed), area rug or carpet, television and iPod speakers.
There are numerous web-based resources for dorm dwellers that can make settling in a cinch and your dorm room downright dormelicious. At Cheapism.com, a Web site dedicated to finding the best cheap products, there's tons of information on items within your limited (think starving-student) budget.
It's not enough to just buy cheap stuff; you want it to last longer than two semesters in the dorm and to leave you with extra cash for fun. Some items you'll come across on the site that will help you pimp out your room include microwaves for less than $80, toasters, LCD TVs, cheap iPod speakers, and a water filter/pitcher that fits into a mini-fridge. There are other items as well, like cheap laptops, laptop bags and smart phones (although these might be wants, not needs).
Other cool Web sites can also help plan for the big move and for all sorts of college stuff.
For the nitty-gritty on the must-haves for your new pad, check out DormBuys.com, a Web site that offers tons of affordable products like bedding, laundry basics, shower stuff, décor items, furniture, gadgets, storage options, and so much more. Plus, the site's blog, 2East, gives you the skinny on dorm decorating and college living.
Then there's Amazon Student, a new special deal that gives students with an active .edu e-mail address access to Amazon Prime for free for a year. This means your order will arrive in two days rather than the usual three to nine days without costing you an extra penny.
Wal-Mart can be helpful in gathering essential dorm accessories, from bedding and storage to furniture and decorative trimmings, organizers and electronics. The Wal-Mart site has a dedicated college page that offers free shipping on college items. It has also placed numerous bigger-ticket items on "rollback."
If you must pare your list, two must-haves for your home-away-from-home are bedding (check to see if you'll need long sheets) and a mini-fridge.
Long sheets are a fact of life in many dorms these days, and many retailers have promotions on extra-long fitted sheets. There are trendy Tommy Hilfiger long sheets at Overstock.com; starting at $22.99, you get a fitted sheet, a flat sheet and a pillowcase.
You can also find bedding in cheap package deals, such as COEXIST by Cannon Dorm in a Bin, costing only $49.99 at Kmart. The package includes an extra-long comforter, flat sheet and fitted sheet, pillow case, two bath towels, four wash cloths, one throw blanket and one desk lamp all in a nifty storage bin that can be used to transport items on moving day and for storage later.
A mini-fridge is another priority item. Keeping food in your room is a great way to spare your stomach from the dreaded dining hall fare and to make sure your snacks are fresh for those upcoming all-nighters. We like the Kenmore Black Compact Refrigerator ($99.99) from Sears because the model receives good user reviews, Kenmore is a trusted brand and, last but not least, it's relatively cheap.
One site we absolutely recommend is Unigo, which tells you everything you need to know about college, including the dish on individual schools. You can use the site to connect to students at your school, learn the best way to pay for your education, pick up starving-student tips, or just browse the selection of articles on college life.
Armed with all this practical information, now's the moment to start pulling together everything you'll need to make your room feel cozy and look smart. Better yet, you'll be the savviest new arrival on campus given all that reserve cash jingling in your pocket.
September 1, 2010; 1:24 PM ET
Categories: College 101 | Tags: College 101, dorms
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Posted by: kaponiew | September 1, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse
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