10 Ingenious Money-Saving Tips & Tricks That Make Moving To College Less Stressful

10 Ingenious Money-Saving Tips & Tricks That Make Moving To College Less Stressful

When I moved into my first college dorm it was super hectic and expensive. A seven-hour drive in a rental car, while we were not exactly sure where we were going.

The hassle started before we even left my hometown when we realized I had a lot more stuff than we thought.

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We had to rent a minivan, and even then I was sitting with stuff on my lap for most of the trip. We bought everything I needed before we went, which was a great idea in theory, but just made it for a very cramped car ride. 

After having to do the move three times, we got some things down.

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Space-bags, Walmart, and UPS will become your best friends during college move in. It's really all about learning how to pack smart so that everything fits in your car AND you don't have to make 1,000 trips to get everything in the room.

Trust me, if your kid isn't on the first floor it's a whole other ball game. Get ready to get packing, and unpacking, and use these tips to make sure you don't lose your mind during everything. 

Here is a breakdown of trusted, tried and true college moving away tips and tricks that make the transition both affordable and less stressful for both the parent and future college student.

1. Space-Bags

Pack as much stuff as you can into space bags and vacuum seal them so that they're flat. You can fit A LOT more clothes, towels and sheets in a suitcase if everything is squeezed as flat as it can be. You can even put your pillows in them, which take up more space than you think. 

2. Don't buy more than you need.

This isn't like shopping for a regular school year. The list that colleges put out can be super intimidating but go through your own things first to make sure you aren't buying stuff you already have. Also, don't go buying multiples of things. I promise you your child is never going to need 6 washcloths at once, mine still have the tag on them from Freshmen year. The less you buy, the less you have to move.

3. UPS is your friend.

If you have particularly bulky items that you don't think can fit in your car, then ship them. You don't have to overnight them, but make sure the delivery date is after your dorm move-in date. There's nothing wrong with having to go one or two days without a TV or printer. Also, try the ship from store option for larger things you plan on buying like mini-fridges or microwaves.

You can also send up room decorations to give them something to do once you guys head back home. It'll keep their mind off the fact that they're starting college in a few days, and help them avoid home-sickness.

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4. There are things you can buy in any college town.

Actual school supplies and things for the kitchen and bathroom can be bought while you're already at the college. Traveling with things like cleaning products and bulky shower caddies are the worst. Any Target or Walmart will have those last minute things you need, and you'll be thankful for the space you saved in the car on the drive over. 

5. Please eat before the process starts.

There is nothing worse than being hangry. Once you start the move-in process in the Summer heat of August, you will get tired and frustrated and sweaty very fast. If your college has move-in appointments, make sure you wake up early enough to eat a full meal before going. Also, bring bottles of water, college dorms do not have easy access to water fountains. 

6. If you have to book a hotel, do it early.

My parents have stayed at the same hotel every single time they have visited me at school. There's going to be a lot of parents looking for rooms, and rates will go up the closer it gets to the move-in season. If you don't want to be crashing in your kid's dorm room or paying an arm and a leg, make sure you get a room a few months in advance. 

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7. Have a method to your packing.

 For the love of everything, do not just go throwing things in boxes all willy-nilly. Nothing makes moving more frustrating than opening a box and finding kitchen stuff next to slippers and pillowcases. Mark your boxes just like you would if you were moving into another house. This is where some supervision on your little one could come into play, watch how they're packing and don't be afraid to give them a few tips.

8. Use coupons.

College shopping is EXPENSIVE. There are tons of coupons and sales that go on in the Summer months and paying attention to them will save you some serious dough. Places like Bed Bath & Beyond and Target will even host special events specifically for college students to buy what they need. If you shop too early you'll miss the sales, but if you wait until last minute then some of the things will be out of stock. Apps like RetailMeNot are perfect for getting all the sales and coupons straight before you start shopping. 

9. Don't think you can get it all done in one day.

Move-in takes so much longer than you can imagine. You might get everything into the dorm on day one, but it won't be set up perfectly. Give your family a few days near the campus in order to make sure your kid is squared away. Plus, the extra few days gives you all some time to spend together before you part ways for a few months. Trust me, you'll need it.  (By the way, these are most likely the EXACT bins you'll get to move stuff from your car to the dorm, so prepare for that.)

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10. Relax.

This is a stressful time for everyone, and there will definitely be a few tantrums and flared tempers. If you remember all the hard work everyone put into getting to this point, it'll help you appreciate the moment rather than dread it. Whenever things get too stressful or it gets too hot, just take a deep breath and remember that this is a special moment and the beginning of your kid's adult life.