Save vs. splurge: Dorm room edition

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Back-to-school season is here and, for those heading off to post-secondary, decking out your dorm room is probably a top priority. But, with tuition and meal plan costs weighing on your budget, buying everything new may not be an option. We spoke to some savvy students to compile tips on what you should save on and what is worth the splurge.


Room décor

Decorating your dorm with the latest on-trend rugs and tapestries can be enticing—but the price tags, not so much. Thrifting your dorm room décor is a more affordable way of finding one-of-a-kind pieces that no one else on your floor will have. If you look hard enough, thrift stores are gold mines for vintage pieces. As well, anything can look new and sleek with a fresh coat of spray paint.


Whether you have a meal plan or not, everyone snacks in their dorm room. But you don’t need to buy a fresh 16-piece dish set and trendy, new utensils. Hit up family members to see if they have any extra place settings you might be able to take with you. Thrift stores also have tons of options for dishware that have plenty of character. You’d be surprised by how many compliments you’ll get on dishes that match your grandmother’s.


Now that you’re off to post-secondary, you may find your budget is tighter with tuition in the mix. Thrift stores are good for more than just second-hand furniture and dishes. You can easily fill your closet with school year essentials for cheap. Next time you’re in the mood to shop, or looking for a new winter coat, hit up your local thrift shop and scope out some second-hand treasures. It’s good for the environment, and your wallet!


Mattress pad

Investing in a high-quality mattress pad can make a world of a difference and it’s something you’ll use for years after graduation. Consider spending a few extra dollars to make your mattress your own—your back will thank you! Plus, there’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep.

Small appliances

A small coffee maker, microwave, and printer will keep you caffeinated, fed, and prepared for deadlines. Small things that can all make a big difference.

Softer lighting

There’s nothing worse than bright fluorescent lighting. But, if you’re living in residence, you may find that’s what you’ve got. Pick up some alternative forms of lighting like a reading lamp or even stringed lights. Not only will not only add to your décor, but it can make your room lit and ready for the ‘gram.