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College Tips?

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      My son will be off to college soon. Do you have any tips for frugal dorm life?


        HI mj, nice to meet you.  From what I have seen and heard.  The seniors dump their microwaves, small fridges etc.  Check around for these at yard/tag sales this summer. Don’t wait till the stores are loaded with back to school items to get them, a folding hamper, milk crates, get them now! (Is he rooming there?)
        HTH (hope this helps) ;)


          What would the milk crates be for?


            Plastic milk crates!  They are pretty expensive in the department stores, when you realize you can get them at yard sales and “other” places.  The kids will use them, I have seen them raise their bed on cinder blocks and stack the crates on their sides, like cubicles.  I have also seen it done, on either side of a desk with a board across to make space for more “stuff”

            Oh and I just realized, it’s that time of the year, the graduating seniors are just about to empty their dorm rooms, so….I bet you could get some really cool deals about now!
            One thing to be careful about as my neice experienced she bought a second hand book, somewhere on -line and some of the pages were missing,  >:(
            Better to buy them after you see them!
            Have fun in the hunt!


              I bought a used textbook from barnes and noble online and it was missing two chapters. But B and N sent me a sticker to mail the book back, postage paid. I saved hundreds of dollars getting my books used!! Only spent 150 dollars on five college books!


                MIlk crates can store papers, clothes, books, soda or whatever.  Stack them one on top of another.  Put boards across 2 or so and put things on top like a dresser.  

                I bought a rug for my dorm room at an auction for a few dollars. Check yard sales, flea markets, auctions and thrift stores for nice things for the dorm.  

                Regarding books make sure they have the correct edition when buying it.  I once bought a used book for a class and found out it was edition 3, I needed edition 4.  Also some teachers require you read a bunch of books for their tests.  One teacher let you read 1 out of 3 and test on that book.  I saved money by not buying them all so check with the teacher (if possible) prior to buying your books.  Kids  advertised used books in the dorms and wash rooms, when I went to school.


                  Make sure he takes advantage of his student ID card.  Many local shops and restaraunts give student discounts.  Our local Papa John’s always had student specials.    


                    Invest in Cooking Outside the Pizza Box : Easy Recipes for Today’s College Student, by Jean Patterson.

                    It’s $14.95 on and probably even cheaper at

                    Cooking is the frugal persons number one survival skill.



                      You can also find used text books for really great deals at


                        I have a great alternative to Starbucks, For great iced coffees, even milk shakes try Quik Trip gas stations! They are very affordable, and taste great. You fix them up yourself!


                          Dorms are great places to dumpster dive. Even before the discards go outside, rich kids will usually dump perfectly good items wherever the trash receptical is on their floor. This often happens at the ends of semesters and before such holidays as spring break. My pals and I would take our extra belongings home early, before exams, and then have space to put others’ discards in our rooms and cars to take with us. We’d get curtains, coffeemakers, candles, clothing, clock radios, all kinds of things. What I didn’t use myself, I’d put in a garage sale at my grandma’s house back in my hometown. I could earn $100-$200 for my next term from the stuff we sold. You just can’t believe all the brand-new stuff college kids, especially those in sororities and fraternities, will throw away — after all its only their rich daddies’ money.

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