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Aug 24, 2016 05:09 AM EDT

5 Smart Ways Students Can Decorate Their Dorm Without Spending Too Much

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Aside from tuition, the cost of a dormitory is another expense that college students need to be mindful of. Moreover, furnishing a room with the basic necessities is not as cheap as one might think.

In an annual survey by the National Retail Federation, it was revealed that college students spend an average of $836 on clothing, electronics as well as dorm furnishings. It was also noted that a huge chunk of that figure is spent at home furnishing and décor stores.

It's hard enough to pay the cost of tuition these days - students need to be smart in managing their finances and economize where they can. U.S. News shared five ways that college students can decorate their dorms without spending too much.

1. Ask your school first.

Check with the university regarding the restrictions of what students are allowed and not allowed to bring to the dormitory. There are schools that permit small electronics like microwaves, toasters and coffee pots in students' rooms but some consider them as fire hazards and are banned. There are also colleges that allows students to rent common dorm room appliances.

2. Talk to your roommate.

It is highly likely that you and your soon-to-be roommate would have similar shopping lists. Avoid wasting money on duplicate items by have a discussion with them before you buy things for your dorm. BuzzFeed reported on two freshmen, Lindy Goodson and Abby Bozeman, who talked about their dorm décor back in December.

3. Hand-me-downs are your best bet.

Create a list then ask your family and friends whether they have a spare of the items that you need. "Everyone has things they aren't using," Bonnie Joy Dewkett, a professional organizer, said. "What may be an extra set of plates and clutter for an aunt, may be a saving grace for the college student."

4. Check out Craigslist.

There are various things that students can find cheap (or even free) in the online classifieds website. Another website that students can check out for inexpensive furniture is Freecycle.

5. Scout shopping apps.

Sheets and mattress pads are just some of the things that students should buy new. Discount stores are the best alternative for these items. Download mobile shopping apps to score the best deals.

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