Attending college can be a rewarding, but ultimately expensive experience. In recent years, the cost of attending college has greatly increased, costing nearly $40,000 each year based on data from 2022.
The majority of students rely on financial aid to help with college expenses, including general tuition, room and board and school supplies. While these help to reduce the overall costs, there are some expenses that are initially easy to overlook, where financial aid is not available.
Many students underestimate how expensive moving into college can be. Even if you are attending a local school, there are still moving costs to consider.
The further your school, the more you may spend. Moving costs are also not a one-time expense. Throughout your college years, you are likely to move back and forth for summer or winter breaks.
Some students try to offset these costs by getting an apartment near the school, but this is yet another moving expense. Listed below are some tips to cut down on moving costs for college students.
One of the most straightforward ways to save on college moving costs is downsizing. The less you have to bring with you, the easier the trip.
The first part to consider downsizing is furniture. Because of the large size, furniture is the hardest and most expensive part of moving.
How much furniture you need to bring varies depending on your dorm. Most colleges will supply a few items for students, such as a mattress or desk.
Because of the limited size, you do not need to worry about overly furnishing your dorm.
If you are living with a roommate, reach out to him or her and ask what items he or she intends to bring. Coordinating is a good way to not only cut down on money, but it ensures you are not wasteful.
For example, if you both purchase minifridges, one unit might end up being sold or put into storage. Reaching out to your roommate is also a good way to start communication and get familiar with him or her.
If you are moving into an apartment, you are most likely responsible for all the furniture.
If possible, you can try to prioritize apartments that either come with furniture, or look for listings where other students already live in the apartment. This way, you only have to worry about furnishing your bedroom.
Once you know what you need, consider whether it is easier to buy new items outright or transport your own furniture.
Transporting furniture is often difficult because it typically requires either renting a moving truck or transport unit. You might be able to mail your furniture, but shipping costs for furniture are often too expensive to make this a viable option.
As with a dorm, make sure you coordinate with your new roommate(s). Coordination is even more important with an apartment because you have extra space to work with.
Clever packing can also help you save money. Whenever possible, pack your belongings in a reusable container.
This is not only less wasteful, but you can use the containers in your dorm. Long plastic containers fit well underneath a bed, which is especially helpful if you are in a dorm with limited space.
Instead of using bubble wrap or similar packing materials for delicate items, use your towels or bedding instead to save some space. It may not seem like much, but when you are limited by car space you want to conserve as much room as possible for your large items.
Knowing Where to Shop
A common mistake college students make is trying to bring all their furniture from home, thinking it will save money.
It is true that bringing furniture is often less expensive than buying brand-new furniture, but if you are only staying in your dorm or apartment for a short period, you probably don’t need new furniture.
A great way to save money is shopping at second hand stores. If there are no stores near your apartment or dorm, check online for local deals.
If you are lucky, you may even find sellers who are giving away furniture for free as long as you are able to pick it up and move it. Even if they are charging, local marketplaces for used items are reasonably priced compared to new items.
Once you are ready to move back home or get a place of your own you can also use these marketplaces as a way to get rid of furniture you no longer need. It might not sell for much, but it saves you the hassle of wasting money moving old furniture into your new home.
General Moving Tips
Be realistic with your moving expectations. While it is ideal to move without renting a trailer, do not try and force everything into your car if you know it will not fit.
Planning can help you cut down on the costs because you know exactly what you need and have more time to search around. If you have to rent a trailer or hire professional movers, you can save money by booking the service in advance.
When you are planning when to move, prioritize weekdays. Moving services often charge higher rates during the weekend because their services are in greater demand.
Moving services are also more in demand at the beginning and end of the month, so avoid booking those times if possible.
If you are moving across a long distance, you can save money by utilizing shared load moving. With shared load moving, your goods are transported in a specialized cargo trailer.
Moving companies move multiple loads at once. The downside is, it takes longer for your furniture to arrive because there are more stops to make. However, the costs are often half of what a traditional moving service charges.
Whenever possible, consider hybrid moving. If you are driving to college, pack all your large items into the car because these items have the greatest shipping costs.
For smaller items, like books or clothing, ship them through the mail. As of writing, USPS even offers a service, Media Mail, to ship select items at a reduced rate.