The list for a college dorm room can certainly add up, which means the bill can too. However, there are many things to save on and buy generic that work just as well as its expensive competitors. As I look back on my first year at school, I can easily say that there were more than a few items that I never used, but just had to have when shopping in the store. Sorry, mom.

We all know college isn't cheap, but sticking to a budget can make the bill a whole lot lighter.

To start off, setting a goal is your best bet. Try to stick to an amount while shopping, mapping out a game plan first. Keeping a list is always a good idea. Organization is key here people! Stores are always having sales so be attentive and try to work your shopping towards it. Although it may be extra work, it is definitely worth it in the end.

That being said, you would think it’s obvious to say don’t go overboard, but you never realize how easy it is to do. I just had to have a magazine rack for my room….but I had no magazine subscriptions. So I think you can imagine how much that item was used all year. There are so many extra things companies make for the dorm that are completely unnecessary. Don’t fall into the trap!

Another tactic, just avoid the stores all together. Don’t be afraid to ask relative or friends if they have anything! More often than not you will know someone with a television just sitting around, or an older cousin with a mini fridge.

Sticking to a budget also means picking and choosing what to buy cheap and what to splurge on. Below are the best items that you can buy cheap and will still last in the college lifestyle.

  • Hampers

No college student does their laundry often enough to wear and tear it up. No matter what style it is, hampers can be bought at a low price and still last all year and beyond.

  • Trash Can

A pretty trash can is the least of your worries when decorating a room. A small, cheap trash can is actually better for dorm living as it can be stored under a desk.

  • Mirrors

Having an expensive mirror can be nice, but it also runs the risk of being broken. Stores have cheap, full length mirrors that are lightweight enough to be put on walls and save space.

  • Storage

Storage containers are a necessity for every college student. But college living is not fancy. Therefore plastic containers, which come in all different shapes and sizes, are not only the best to buy, but are the cheapest.

Sticking to a budget does not have to be stressful! It’s all about buying smart. It can be easy if you just make sure to splurge on only a few items and know when to buy generic.

What do you suggest new college students buy for their first dorm room? Tell us in the comment section below.