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What To Buy When You’re Moving Off Campus


You’ve already been attending the school of your dreams for at least a semester. But now you have another big decision to make: Do you want to continue living in a dorm room, or are you ready to move somewhere off-campus?

If you choose off-campus living, you’ll have some distinct advantages. You’ll likely have more space to spread out, and you won’t be subject to campus rules. Plus, if you want a roommate, you’ll get to choose who you share your place with.

But when you’re shopping for your new college life, you’ll need different items for your apartment than, say, if you were moving into a dorm room.

Here’s what you should buy for living your best college life off-campus:

1. Mattress

Tulo Liv Mattress
Image: Tulo

Let’s be honest. The twin XL mattress in your dorm left much to be desired. Now that you’re in control of your sleeping destiny, opt for a mattress that ensures quality snooze sessions.

My advice is to purchase online with a mattress-in-a-box company, such as Tulo. You’ll get a quality mattress delivered straight to your doorstep within 48 hours (at most, five days) and have a 120-night trial. Give the mattress 30 days before deciding yay or nay. If you don’t like it, Tulo will pick it back up at zero cost to you.

The thing I like most about Tulo is its simplicity with choice and setup. Their mattresses start at $155 and go up to $675, and Tulo is clear about which mattress best suits which sleeping style. When your mattress arrives, take it out of the box, unroll it, and it will expand. That’s it!

2. Bus Pass or Parking Spot

Unless you’re fortunate enough to score an apartment right next to campus, you’ll likely commute to class. A bus pass will save you on those days when the weather is less than ideal — or when you don’t feel like walking all the way to class with a gazillion heavy books on your back. Some cities may have special bus rates for college students (like free rides with a valid student ID), so look into this option before you buy a pass.

Are you bringing your car? There’s parking available on campus, but what about near your apartment? You might have to pay extra for parking, and on-campus spots can quickly add up. Still, paying a permit fee is better than dealing with parking tickets or — even worse — towing costs.

3. Couch and Coffee Table

Image: IKEA

A major advantage to living in an apartment is you can invite tons of people over to hang out, party or hit the books. But who’s going to want to come to your place if you don’t have any comfy places to sit or dine? Make your space your own and do it without breaking the bank.

IKEA is an excellent option for apartment furniture that, not only looks great but is budget-friendly. A coffee table in front of your sofa will serve as the perfect place for drinks, study materials and the TV remote.

4. Checking Account

One of the most valuable things you can learn is how to manage your own money. If you don’t already have a checking account, talk to your parents about opening one. This lets you take control of your own funds to experience budgeting, monitoring balances and paying your own bills. If you have a job, a checking account is also important because it gives you a place to deposit your paychecks.

Beaver Seeds - Get Out and Grow Spring Sasquatch 300x250

Tip: When you’re shopping around for a bank, keep an eye out for ones that offer signing bonuses.

5. Bathroom Supplies

Folks who choose to live in a dorm probably share a bathroom and don’t worry about supplying their own toilet paper, a plunger and cleaning supplies. You, on the other hand, will need all those things. Joining a warehouse club or having a friend with a Costco or Sam’s membership is a pro way to stock up on your bathroom basics once a semester or so.

Also, don’t forget to buy a shower curtain before you move in. After a long, sweaty day of moving boxes, you’ll probably want to rinse off — and you won’t be able to do that if you’ve forgotten a shower curtain. #JustSaying

6. Kitchen Essentials

Now that you’re living off-campus and have a kitchen, you need the right utensils and pots and pans. It’s tempting to hit the fast-food joints on the daily, but those excursions add up. Cook meals at home and host dinner parties with your friends.

Amazon has plenty of cookware, and it’s all perfect for your first apartment or house. And Bed Bath & Beyond offers a free College Savings Pass that shaves off 20% on your purchases with free shipping on orders over $39 through Sept. 22.

7. Renters Insurance

You might think renters insurance is an unnecessary cost, but it really isn’t expensive, and it’s totally worth it. The insurance covers your belongings in case the apartment building catches fire or floods. It also helps you out if someone breaks into your apartment or gets injured while they’re visiting you.

Shop around for the best deals on coverage, and ask about the details on any policy you consider buying. If you have a car, you could bundle your car and renters insurance and save a little extra money to boot.

8. Fun Things

Take advantage of the space in your apartment and build up a collection of items that are only there for fun. You might buy the following:

  • Board games. Who doesn’t love a good game of Scrabble or a round of Sorry? Make sure you have a few games around for those times when you’re playing hosting and want to keep your friends entertained.
  • Nerf guns. When you get frustrated with school, why not take out your anger with harmless target practice? You won’t hurt anything with a Nerf gun, and it’s a great way to get some in-apartment exercise when you and your roomie are chasing each other in circles.
  • A blender. If you’re old enough to drink alcohol, you might want a blender for hosting cocktail parties. If you don’t drink, you can still make amazing smoothies!
  • A record player or Bluetooth speaker. Whether you’re hanging with friends or just dancing around your place while cleaning (been there!), you’re going to want music around. Some of our fondest memories from school centered around vinyl swaps with friends and late nights sharing music.

9. Basic Essentials

Student Studying in Apartment Room
Image: Getty

Before living in your own apartment, you likely didn’t have a need for the basics that you do now. Amazon‘s Subscribe & Save option makes sure you never run out while saving you up to 15% on your recurring orders. Don’t forget, as a student, you can get an Amazon Prime student membership for 50% off a regular one ($139 a year) after a six-month free trial.

Here’s a list of basics to get you started:

  • Hand soap (for the bathroom and kitchen).
  • Sponges.
  • Paper towels.
  • Tissues.
  • Garbage bags and a garbage can, of course.
  • Broom and dustpan.
  • Vacuum.
  • Carpet cleaner.
  • Multipurpose cleaner.
  • Light bulbs.
  • Batteries.
  • Extension cords.
  • Flashlight.
  • First aid kit.
  • Tool kit.
  • Fire extinguisher (if your apartment doesn’t already have one).
  • Smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector. If your landlord provides one, make sure it works when you move in.
  • Decor (pictures, posters, decorative pillows, anything else that makes your place your own).

Off-campus living certainly has the rewards, but it comes with an extended shopping list compared to dorm room living. Outfit your apartment with the above items so you’re prepared for every possible situation.

The post What To Buy When You’re Moving Off Campus appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.

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