Back to School Again, Budget Friendly Ideas for a Great Start

It is college time again. Whether you are helping a freshman or a senior prepare for the upcoming fall semester, this article is filled with ideas to help you send them off with love… on a budget.

Ideas for the Freshman

Your freshman may seem independent now, but don’t let her prepare for school alone. Make the most of your last moments together by helping her select items for her dorm room. This time of year stores like Bed Bath and Beyond and Linens and Things run great advertisements on small appliances, bedding, and storage bins suitable for dorm use. Along with advertisements come those fabulous 20 percent off coupons that are printed on the back of the last page. These are perfect for those who want to get some really nice things at great cost savings. It also doesn’t hurt to compare prices and window shop at both stores (savoring your last few hours of quality time), after all they both accept each other’s unexpired coupons.

Some excellent ideas for small appliances, if allowed by the dormitory, include sandwich makers, portable electric grills such as the George Forman, toasters, and the all time favorite microwave. With back to school savings you are sure to snag a good deal at the stores mentioned above with a coupon, however, don’t forget Wal-mart and Target. They usually have great deals too.
One last thing, most freshmen do get home sick within the first few weeks of being away from home. If you have time in your schedule, consider making a brag book or small scrapbook to present to her as a keepsake and reminder of home.

Ideas for Upper Classmen and Seniors

While you may feel that upper classmen don’t need as much hand holding and emotional support as a budding freshman, there are still many wonderful little things you can do to help your future graduate get off to a good start. After biweekly or monthly visits home to do laundry, you know just how much use your young adult’s bedding and other linens have gotten. Consider surprising her with a new bedding set featuring her favorite colors as a gift to kickoff the new year. In addition to the bedding, consider upgrading small appliances that have had their fair share of use from late night snacks and the paws of roommates.

No matter which class your young adult falls into, and no matter whether she has gotten scholarship aid that covers tuition and fees and books, purchase school supplies in advance from low cost discount stores rather than the college book store. Stores like Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples are practically giving stuff a way in the first few weeks of this month. Stay informed. There is no need to spend $2 for a pack of paper. Purchase a local paper each Sunday or visit their websites weekly to view their Sunday ads.

We all like to feel special every now and then. It is especially nice for first time college students and extraordinary for older students to feel the love and encouragement of their families each year that they head off to school. I hope that you can use at least one of these budget friendly ideas to brighten your young person’s day.

More Family Finance:

http://extension.usu.edu/utah/htm/family-finance

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/healthy-families/family-finances

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Personal-Finance.shtml

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA author and editor of Family Finance, is based in Waldorf, Maryland, she holds a Masters Degree with a concentration in Finance. Michelle provides a monthly column on ways to help families maintain their finances and stick to a budget titled, Budgeting and Savings for Families.
Michelle Sharrow
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