Finding Cheap Stuff for Your College Dorm

So you’ve taken out your student loans, paid for tuition, bought a new laptop, and spent the rest on expensive textbooks. You’re all set for college now, right?

Well, if you’re like most students and will be moving into a dorm, unfortunately, you still have a bit more shopping to do. Your dorm will probably only come with a dresser, a closet, and a bed, so everything else that you’ll want for your new room will have to be provided by you and you alone. Luckily, there are some tried and true ways to get furniture for your dorm on the cheap.

Go to yard sales.

The summer between high school and college will be spent relaxing, partying, and… yard saling? Well, if you want to get cheap furniture it will be! Summertime is the main time of year for yard sales, and all you have to do to find a great couch or La-Z-Boy for under fifty bucks is to wake up before 10 a.m. to find the best selection. Most yard sales are advertised in local papers and even online, so if you want to make the most out of your shopping trip, you’ll probably want to plan which yard sales to attend before leaving the house. Community yard sales tend to involve multiple houses, meaning the selection will be large and the deals numerous, so never pass up the opportunity to shop at one.

Finally, when shopping at a yard sale, remember that you’ll almost never have to pay the advertised price. Most people host a yard sale when they’re moving away or when they’re desperate to clean out their homes, so they generally tend to operate with an “Everything must go!” mentality. Use that to your advantage, and go buy yourself some new dorm furnishings!

Search on Craigslist. and similar sites are a great place to find deals on couches, lamps, rugs, and all the other furnishings you’ll need for your dorm. People use the free site to post college-friendsthe things they no longer want or need, and like the hosts of yard sales, most sellers on Craigslist are just looking to get rid of their old things. This means that they usually aren’t picky about what their items sell for, as long as they can get that old desk out of their garage. So like shopping at yard sales, don’t be afraid to negotiate with Craigslist sellers. Some sellers even post their items up for free!

One trap of Craigslist that many unsuspecting people fall into, however, is the trap of guilt. If they research an item and end up meeting with the seller to make a purchase, only to find that the item is not at all what they were expecting, many people still feel obligated to buy simply because they took up some of the seller’s time. Don’t fall into that trap! If the item isn’t what you were looking for, simply explain that to the seller and apologize for wasting their time. Don’t waste your money on junk just because you feel guilty.

Go to Goodwill.

Goodwill and other thrift stores are a great place to bargain hunt, but the prices generally aren’t as great as if you buy from a yard sale or from Craigslist. On the other hand, most items at thrift stores have been at least cursorily inspected by an employee for quality, meaning that your furniture should be in good working order. What’s more, some thrift stores even have a return policy, so if you take your item home only to discover that it is defective, you can probably get your money back.

Shop at IKEA.

If you’re grossed out by thrift stores, terrified of bed bugs, or for some other reason absolutely must have new furniture, then one great place to shop is IKEA. Not only are IKEA’s low prices comparable to those of mega department stores like Wal-Mart, but they’re also strictly a furniture store, so their products tend to be more appealing. They have a huge selection of everything from dressers to lighting fixtures, so you really can’t go wrong. Moreover, IKEA’s products come unassembled, and while this means that you’ll have to put your furniture together yourself, there are some hidden benefits to this. For example, you’ll be able to build your furniture right in your dorm room, meaning you won’t have to go through the hassle of trying to drag a bulky item through the stairwell or cram it through your door.

Buying furniture for your college dorm room doesn’t have to be an expensive shopping trip. By following the tips above, you can save yourself a ton of money and still have unique and interesting pieces to brighten up and personalize your dorm room. Happy shopping!

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