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Budgeting for the New School Year

Posted on 8/6/2018 9:05:31 PM by Ceonna Morris

Everyone's favorite question this time of year seems to be: "Are you ready for school?" I usually give a "yes and no" answer, but in reality, I haven't given it much thought until I sat down to write this post. So, my real answer is, "No." 

I'm excited about classes and I can't wait to learn, but I'm also reminded that with my education there's a price. I need to buy my books, a new TI-84 calculator (which usually run about 100 or more dollars), dorm supplies and other necessities. These items are crucial to college, yet they sat idle at the back of my mind all summer. Thankfully, I did map out my expenses, so that most of these things wouldn't be a serious problem, but if you haven't started thinking about things such as room decor, textbooks, or other necessities, you definitely should after this.

You should start by making a list of what you NEED in your dorm room. This can be anything from a sheet set to tampons to shampoo to disinfectant. Next, you should write a list of what you WANT in your dorm. This list should include electronics, posters, decorative pillows, or new clothes. This should be a secondary list, especially if you're on a budget. Also depending on your personal budget, you should also consider renting or buying the books you need from the Cabrini Campus Store or from another source. You can find out what books you need by logging onto the Cabrini Portal.

For dorm supplies, you can also look at sites such as roomify, (roomify allows customers to purchase bundle packages of dorm supplies for a somewhat affordable price), Target, or DormCo. Each site is easy to navigate and will help set you at ease. For the electronics, such as a refrigerator or a microwave, I would recommend looking for a slightly used one. You can search on sites such as Mercari, Amazon, or Craigslist. You can pay for fully functioning electronics for a fraction of the cost. (I would definitely recommend asking the seller questions and asking for recent pictures before paying for your item.)

The other necessities can be delivered to the school before you get there. I personally like to order things throughout the summer for my dorm and have it delivered to the school. By doing this, I have way less to transport to my dorm and everything I need is already on campus. You can order from Walmart and have them ship it to the school to save you the hassle.

To give you guys a real-life example of how I budget and how this process has worked for me so far, here's my lists:

My Needs List

  • 2 bed sets–$30 (From Walmart they're like $15.99)
  • Deodarant–$10 (I buy in bulk)
  • Shampoo–between $8-15
  • Detangler–between $8-15
  • Conditioner–between $8-15
  • Curling Creme–between $8-15
  • Gel–$3
  • Lotion–$2
  • Soap–$17 (bought in bulk)
  • Washcloth/Loufa–$1
  • Towel–$3
  • Shower Shoes–$.95 (get them from Primark)
  • Etc.–All of this will be bought at Dollar Stores, Primark, or Walmart. My personal list will come to approximately $100, but I'll put an extra $50 to the side for emergencies.

My Wants List

  • PS4–$299.99
  • PS4 games–between $20 and $100
  • Refrigerator–$60 is the cheapest I've seen
  • Curling wand–$30
  • Foundation, bronzer, highlighter from the new Jackie Aina X Too Faced Make Up Collection–$75
  • Some other dumb thing that I feel like I just feel like I need to have–$200

My books—I actually don't know it, my classes aren't posted yet; I'm going to use the price from my last semester, which was $700.

I split my list up between pay cycles. I usually try to get the most expensive items off of my list first. My refrigerator, PS4, and most of my personal items are already being shipped to the school. The other things such as curling wand and foundation can wait until September or October. I don't need them at all so there's no rush for me to buy them. This also gives me a grace period to think about whether I want these items or not. There's a 90 percent chance in two months I won't be thinking about anyone's curling wand or bronzer. My books are actually a part of my scholarship bundle, so I'll buy my books from the Campus Store using a voucher. If you're a person like me who put things to the side until they actually come up, then maybe this plan will work for you.