Starting student life? Life lessons about money

moving-to-uniAre you sending your baby bird out of the nest into the world (or at least to college or university)? Are they moving into residence or into their first apartment? Here are some tips to help get them set up- to keep spending at a minimum, but providing a perfectly functional living space.

My trash. Your treasure.

Before you hit the store, see what’s lurking in the corners of your basement. Furnishing a student apartment presents an unusual kind of carte blanche, where your adult rules of décor need not apply. Futons are cool. Furnishings don’t have to match. And old things are not outdated- they are retro chic.

Seek out old dishware, furniture that might be able to be repurposed and small appliances that are collecting dust. And when you’re done sifting through your own basement, visit your neighbors/friends/grandparents/BFF- whomever has storage. You’d be surprised what you might find.

Make a list. Check it twice

After you’ve determined what you’ve got, figure out what you need- and where would be the best place to get it- the thrift store, garage sales, Kijji, etc.

Many communities have “free” sites, where people post things that they are looking to get rid of and would be happy if you’d take it off of their hands.

If your child will have a roommate, split the list with them, so that you’re not doubling up (you’ve got three TVs but no couch, for instance).

Showers are not just for brides

Host a going-away party shower style for your child, and have each guest bring an item. Do something like, “Help Johnny set up his kitchen.” The gifts don’t have to be substantial, but if everyone brings a little something (i.e. one person brings small utensils, one person brings a frying pan, one person brings larger utensils, etc.) together you’ll be cookin’. Literally.


The best way to refresh something that looks tired is to accessorize it- think nice kitchen towels, bath towels, tableware and throw pillows. Your local dollar store, while not a designer boutique, is stocked full of super cheap Knick knacks and accessories that will go far to jazz up a space or a piece of furniture. Dollar stores are also a great place to buy cleaning supplies and the like, once you’ve moved