How to beat the high cost of college

college

By Marta Mahoney

We knew we’d pull you in with that headline, readers. As anyone who’s sent a kid to college knows, the big-ticket items – tuition, books, room and board – are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s all those little things that add up – like outfitting a dorm room or apartment.

‘College dorm room’ seems to have become a completely new merchandise category at the major department stores, with good reason. In 2012, Bloomberg finance estimated the average cost of setting up a dorm room was approximately $900 (in 2012!). And if your student is moving into an apartment, the cost will be even higher.

This is where shopping at the ALI thrift store can really help you stretch your dollars. It’s also a good way to show your student how to work within a budget. Give them a set amount to cover their dorm or apartment furnishings. Let them figure out what items they want to buy new (the bed-in-a-bag in the latest trendy color) and which ones they could look for at the thrift shop (cookware, a bath mat, a popcorn popper). Chances are they’ll end up with everything they wanted for their dorm room, with money left over for some of those OTHER miscellaneous expenses of college life.

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