A Guide to Shopping for University on a Budget


University is expensive. In addition to paying for tuition, you need to buy all the things that will make your student apartment comfortable. The good news is it’s possible to find everything you need, even if you’re on a tight budget.

1. Stick to the Essentials

Create a list of everything you’ll need for college — and purchase only those things. It’s easy to make impulse buys when you’re excited about the prospect of leaving for university, but this could push you over your budget.

If you’re unsure about what counts as essential, search for packing lists online and assess what you’ll need. It’s also worth talking to students who are already at university about what they ended up needing and what they could have done without. Finally, talk to your roommates to find out what they’re bringing to avoid multiples of items you can share.

2. Shop in Stores Offering Student Discounts

Many stores offer discounts of at least 10 percent if you can show a student ID. You can use this for all sorts of purchases to see some big savings. Find out if a store provides a student discount before you even start looking at what it has to offer.

3. Avoid Products Marketed at Students

Some stores (particularly those that offer student discounts) may target some of their items as being for students. These items tend to be more expensive than products marketed toward the general public and have no real benefits. Bear this in mind and make sure you comparison shop to secure the best deals.

4. Consider Quality

Purchasing the cheapest items you find can backfire later when these products wear out and need replacing. If you’re unsure about what kind of quality to expect, read reviews. In addition, secondhand items that are still in good condition are often cheaper and more durable.

5. Choose Multipurpose Furniture

You can save money and prevent wasted space by purchasing furniture that serves more than one purpose. For instance, it makes sense to choose a coffee table and bedside table that comes with storage.

6. Borrow Items

Many items may become useless after you graduate, so it may be worthwhile to rent these things instead of purchasing them. The possibilities range from appliances like microwaves to textbooks.

7. Make Your Own Décor

Depending on your artistic abilities, there may be several types of décor you can make yourself. For instance, you can create artwork for your walls (this could be as simple as a photo collage, which is not difficult to do at all), sew some pillow cases, or decorate a box to keep your jewelry organized. You can also repurpose old furniture — often, a fresh coat of paint is all it needs.

8. Buy from Stores in Your College Town

Purchase as much as possible (especially big items) from stores near your student housing to avoid costly moving fees. If you buy from a big-name brand, you may be able to place an order to pick up the item from the store of your choice.

You can save even more money by searching for affordable student rentals. Kingston, Ontario, students can find a home at Foundry Princess. Choose between furnished and unfurnished suites with one to five bedrooms, according to your budget and preferences. Join our waitlist to be the first to hear when units become available.

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