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Stuff to Buy (II)

Your kid is about to leave home for college and you are no doubt excited to shop for whatever they need. Before you do, we suggest you take a breath, step back and get organized.  Start by reviewing the KnowsyMoms College Shopping List for the full story on essentials and extras.  Next, consider the following resources that are right at your fingertips, ready to save you time, hassle and money.

1. Many companies (and some school bookstores) offer student discounts on laptops.

For an Apple computer, visit Apple.

For Dell computers, click here.

*Note that some business or engineering schools may require PCs; check the college website first!

2. There are some cool dorm furnishings websites, such as Our Campus Market and Dormify that can help plan every inch of the room or that offer unique bedding and accessories.

3. Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBB) has a terrific “Shop Here, Pick Up There” program. You shop at your local BBB or online. You pay when you pick up your items at the BBB closest to your kid’s school on the date you request, and you can use as many BBB coupons as you have, since they never expire (despite words on the coupon to the contrary). BBB also has lists of the furniture your specific school provides and what items are permitted (and not permitted) in the dorm room.

4. carries just about anything you will need and offers special shipping rates for students. Target also has a great Back to College department, and recently launched a College Registry.  Also check out the Container Store, the mecca for all things organization (and great plastic containers with drawers and old fashioned trunks which make great coffee tables!) For great ideas, see: Off to College

5. There are certain items that your student will want to discuss with their roommate, to avoid doubling up on stuff and to share costs, such as microwaves or mini refrigerators or the brilliant invention—the microfridge (microwave on top, refrigerator on the bottom), which many colleges rent.  While the cost can almost match the cost of purchasing, most roommates split the rental cost and then the college takes care of delivery and servicing it if necessary (and you won’t have to worry about cleaning and storing it over the summer).  Printers can also be shared, particularly where space is limited.

6. Some students may want a TV in the dorm room, assuming there is even space for one. However, most dorms have a common space with a TV, and many kids today are just as happy watching stuff on Netflix or HBO on their computers.

In the end, although parents are usually involved in the shopping process and set the budget, please let your kid take the lead on what they think they want and need that first year.  It gives them an important sense of ownership as they move into their own space, separate from you. You can always buy more stuff later, when they have a better idea of what life is like at college.

For a peek into our favorites for the dorm room, see our post on Dorm Shopping.

And then click here to listen to what college students have to say about what they wish they brought with them freshman year.


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