Tuition, housing, and books may be the biggest expenses of a college education, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other significant costs associated with earning your degree. A lot of those unexpected costs start to pop up right before you move into your dorm room in the fall. Here are a few to look out for, and a few you can avoid.
Twin XL Bedding: Yep, that’s right. Your regular twin size sheets at home probably won’t do you much good on your dorm bed. Be sure to check with your college about their bed sizes, but typically dorm beds are longer than your average twin bed. Unless you’re a fan of having 6 inches of exposed mattress, you’ll need to buy bedding in the twin XL size. Early in the summer, when high school seniors are just graduating (and getting cards stuffed with cash) the price on twin XL bedding is higher. This is one instance when procrastinating will pay off. The closer you get to the start of the fall semester, the bigger the sales will get on twin XL bedding.
Mini-Fridge: Let’s be honest, there’s a good chance your cafeteria will have nothing edible at least once or twice a week. Unless you plan to survive solely on Styrofoam cups full of noodles with dehydrated vegetable pieces and lukewarm soda, you’ll want a mini-fridge. Before you buy one, check with your roommate. Many dorms will only allow one mini-fridge per room and your roommate may already have one. If not, try to buy used. This is an item that can be completely bleached if necessary and you’re only going to use it for a few years. Ask friends, family members, and neighbors if they have one they’re trying to get rid of.
Electronics: Let’s list the most important ones: laptop, TV, coffee maker, and microwave. While your campus undoubtedly has one or more computer labs you can use, you will probably really appreciate the convenience of having your own laptop. If your budget forces you to choose between a laptop and a TV, always go with the laptop. When it comes to the TV, communicate with your roommate. They may already be planning to bring one. If they’re not, don’t waste money on a huge screen. In case no one has told you think, dorm rooms are small (really small). Not only will you want to save space, but a 55” TV is pretty excessive when you can never be more than 10 feet from it. A microwave is a must, but you can get these on the cheap from yard sales, thrift shops, or discount stores. If you can’t function without your morning coffee, you need to do your research and find out 1) if you’re allowed to have one in your dorm and 2) what the restrictions are. Oftentimes you will not be allowed to have a coffee maker with an exposed heating element, like the warmer under the pot. Single cup coffee makers generally pass dorm inspections.