College tuition is on the rise all over the country, with some schools having raised their tuition rates by nearly six percent last year alone. While loans, grants, and scholarships pay for tuition and housing, students who are facing their first year of college are finding themselves short on money for all the supplies they will need. Supplies for college go beyond just paper, notebooks and pens: today, no college student can complete his or her work without a laptop computer or tablet, specialty supplies for their chosen major (professional art tools for artists, sports gear for athletes,) and supplies for their dorm room in order to make their first time away from home easier. If you are going away to college for the first time, there are several ways that you can save money on all of these supplies and still have some left over for a specialty drink at the campus coffee house at the end of the week.
Saving Money on Laptops and Tablets
One of the best ways to find a great deal on a laptop is to look for deals online. There are two ways this saves money; first, buying online from a company like Dell will allow you to custom build your laptop so that you aren’t paying for any extras you will never use. Secondly, when you custom build a computer, you may get a coupon from Dell for $100 off just for giving them your business. Deals for electronics, such as high-speed tablets that come with all the apps you will ever need to help you with your classes, are also available at a number of sites online, and many of them include free shipping. Don’t forget the laptop that you may already have. In many cases, you can save a bundle by having it retooled with a new anti-virus program, having more memory installed, and by increasing the RAM. Most electronic specialty stores can make your old laptop new again for the fraction of the cost of a new unit.
Gifts and Gently Used Items Can Save You Hundreds
If you have already signed up for classes and know what you need, ask your parents to throw you an off-to-college shower. These showers are increasing in popularity as both students and parents try and offset the cost of these extra supplies. You can register for sheets, blankets, small appliances, and even décor for your dorm. Giving cash is also acceptable at these showers, and what young college-bound student couldn’t use a few bucks in his or her pocket? If a shower isn’t possible, then consider gently used supplies for your dorm. Items such as small microwaves, drapes, furniture, and storage bins can be found at yard sales or may even be found for free on trade list Web sites. The first year of college can be the most expensive, but it doesn’t have to bankrupt you or your family. By shopping smart for all the supplies you need, you can save money and begin the semester by concentrating on your studies instead of worrying about being short on what you need.