College Life on a Budget: 10 Items to Buy Used

If you’re living on your own for the first time as a college student, everyday costs of living can come with significant sticker shock. You’ll need to learn how to stretch a budget.

One way to save money in college is to purchase certain things used rather than new. Here are ten examples where you can buy used without sacrificing on quality.

1. Textbooks

Professors often use the same textbooks for multiple years. If so, you can buy your textbooks used from previous students. Check your college or university bookstore for used books or buy them online through companies like Barnes & Noble.

2. Furniture

Your dorm room probably comes mostly-furnished. But if you’re moving to your first off-campus apartment, you might be starting from scratch in furnishing your new place. You can find high quality used furniture at thrift shops to save a bundle.

3. Dorm Décor

Similar to furniture, you can find plenty of used items to decorate your dorm – from wall art to more functional pieces like white boards and mirrors.

4. Kitchen Equipment

Microwaves, hot pots, dishes, coffee makers, cookware – you can find all of these used. You might even be able to borrow some pieces from family. For appliances, look for open-box sales. These are items that were returned to a store or arrived with damaged packaging, but the item itself works fine or has been refurbished. They’re usually discounted significantly and sold as if they’re used. Amazon Warehouse is a good place to look.

5. Clothing

Thrift shops can be a great place to find designer and vintage clothing. You can build a unique wardrobe with items that are practically a steal.

6. Vehicles

If you must drive a car while you’re at school, consider pre-owned vehicles. Going with an older car that will last you a few years is a fine option for most students. You’ll also cut down on monthly payments if you need an auto loan on a used car. Plus, many dealerships offer financing options for pre-owned vehicles similar to those for new vehicles.

7. Computer

If you don’t already have a computer to take to school, consider a used model. Chances are you’ll mostly need one for writing papers, doing research, and emailing classmates and professors. Again, you can opt for an open-box system through a company like Best Buy where the item is discounted as though it’s used even if it’s really not.

8. Other Electronics

Similar to computers you can find great deals on used mobile phones, e-readers, televisions, and other electronics you want or need.

9. School Supplies

Even everyday school supplies can be purchased used. You might be able to get a higher-quality backpack or messenger bag this way.

10. Gift Cards

Did you know you can buy used gift cards? Services like CardPool let people sell their unwanted gift cards that they received as gifts. And you can buy them at a discount. If you can’t buy specific items used, buying used gift cards for the stores you’ll make purchases from anyway is a way around that.

If you aren’t stuck on everything being shiny and new, you can save a lot of money in college by buying used.

Written by James Bradrick

James Bradrick left the sun and surf of southern Mexico to blog and write about civil and human rights issues from San Diego CA.

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