How to buy college supplies (with pictures)

How to buy college supplies (with pictures)
How to buy college supplies (with pictures)

Preparing to go to college, possibly as a resident, can be an exciting and at the same time grueling process, and the supplies part of your preparations can be one of the most stressful. Make it a bit easier for yourself by following this guide when shopping for college supplies.


Part 1 of 7: getting the books

Shop for College Step 1

Step 1. Get your list of books straight from the source

A national law requires that the university provide you with a list of necessary books when you register for classes, so you should be able to know which books you need well in advance, by asking either the person who manages the enrollment, or to your teachers. You shouldn't depend on the campus bookstore to tell you this.

Shop for College Step 2

Step 2. Avoid the campus bookstore and shop online

You might find a good deal every now and then at the campus bookstore, but in most cases you can find the books you need for much less on the net.

  • Check out sites like Joseph Gibert and Lebondrive, both of which point you to books at the best prices.
  • Also look at sites that allow users to sell their own copies of books, used or new, such as Amazon or Chapitre.
Shop for College Step 3

Step 3. Consider purchasing an older edition

For many books, you can buy an older edition cheaply without too much difficulty.

However, before doing this, you might want to check with your teachers, in the rare event that there is a significant change in the new edition that would be needed to be successful in the course

Shop for College Step 4

Step 4. Rent your books

Renting books won't guarantee a lower price, but often the price of renting a book is less than the price of buying it. Take a look at both options and determine which one works best for a particular book.

You can check with the campus bookstore for rental options, but there are also sources on the net, which include ARBSA, ARBS, or PEEP

Shop for College Step 5

Step 5. Look at the discount coupons

If you really want to save pennies, you can look at coupons that save you money on books purchased online. These coupons will rarely be publisher specific, but you might be able to find coupons for different stores online.

Shop for College Step 6

Step 6. Share the cost with a friend you can trust

If you know a friend who needs to buy part of the same books, consider halving the price with that friend and sharing the book.

Shop for College Step 7

Step 7. Buy the students' books at the end of the cycle

Students at the end of the cycle who no longer need a book sometimes sell it and the price is usually low, since they are often more interested in making money than they can from the book.

Shop for College Step 8

Step 8. Look at the cost of international editions

As long as the international edition is printed in the same language, this may be a viable option. Be careful in your research, however, since international editions can also cost more at times.

Look at shipping costs as well, since shipping costs on international editions can sometimes skyrocket the total price of the book

Part 2 of 7: buy your school supplies

Shop for College Step 9

Step 1. Stock up on writing supplies

Even if you plan to do most of your work on your computer, you will still need basic writing supplies during class and review.

  • Buy blue or black ballpoint pens and pencils for taking notes and filling out exam sheets.
  • Buy highlighters to help you review.
  • Invest in two or three permanent markers and a jar of Tipp-Ex.
Shop for College Step 10

Step 2. Purchase supplies to keep your notes in order

Binders and notebooks are essential, but there are a few other supplies that might come in handy and may not seem so obvious.

  • Consider purchasing a ring binder and hole punch, to help keep everything tidy, along with dividers and loose sheets.
  • Buy a binder for your books or a satchel, which you can carry from class to class.
Shop for College Step 11

Step 3. Keep your bedroom desk tidy

Your dorm office will need to contain a lot of supplies and sheets, so buy some things and supplies that will help keep everything tidy and your sanity on it.

  • Consider purchasing:
  • post-its
  • your own agenda or calendar
  • a dictionary and a thesaurus
  • a calculator
  • rubber bands, ruler, scissors, stapler and staples, thumbtacks and tape
Shop for College Step 12

Step 4. Invest in a good computer and other tech accessories

If you don't have one yet, you should definitely consider buying a computer. Most of your classes will require you to type and print essays, and a computer can also help you with your research and keep you entertained.

  • In addition to a computer, consider purchasing:

    • a printer
    • sheets for printer
    • ink cartridges
    • a USB key
  • See if your campus has computer rooms with printers. If so, you might not need a printer and be able to save the price.
  • Protect your technological tools. Purchase a surge protector to protect your computer from an unexpected power surge. You can also consider purchasing an external hard drive to regularly save your data to your hard drive.

Part 3 of 7: finding bedding and dormitories

Shop for College Step 13

Step 1. Find the size of the bed before purchasing

Most dorms come with large twin beds, so when purchasing duvets and linens you should make sure the size of the bedding you purchase matches the size of the bed you will have.

  • You will need pillows and pillowcases, sheets, a blanket, and a comforter or comforter.
  • Also consider purchasing a mattress topper, to make your bed more comfortable.
Shop for College Step 14

Step 2. Have the opportunity to take a good look at yourself

Many dorms come with some form of lighting and mirrors, but it usually doesn't hurt to buy a few yourself.

  • If your bedroom doesn't have one, buy a walk-in mirror.
  • Consider purchasing a desk lamp and a floor lamp to complement the ceiling lighting installed in the bedroom.
Shop for College Step 15

Step 3. Get up on time

An alarm clock is an absolute must, unless you have an alarm clock on your phone that you can rely on. Even if you are using your phone as an alarm clock, it can still be a good idea to have an emergency alarm clock.

You should also buy supplies that can help you sleep faster, so you can wake up well rested. This includes earplugs and an eye mask

Shop for College Step 16

Step 4. Know what clothes to wear

Chances are you can just wear the same clothes you wore during your high school days. There may be a few instances where you want or need to purchase new clothes.

  • Prepare for bad weather. Have a raincoat, rain boots, umbrella and snow boots, if needed.
  • If the climate you're moving to differs from your home climate, buy clothes more suited to the climate you're going to.
Shop for College Step 17

Step 5. Empty your storage spaces

Some of the items you need to bring with you won't see the light of day once you're on campus, so you should purchase a few storage boxes to help you store any extra supplies until you need them.

Also consider purchasing drawers and shelves to store your shoes, books, and other items that you will need easy access to

Shop for College Step 18

Step 6. Decorate your space

Although this is not a necessity, you should consider purchasing things to decorate your walls and door. After all, this is the room you'll live in for most of the year, so you'll want it to meet your criteria for comfort.

  • The options worth considering are:

    • a bulletin board
    • posters
    • a whiteboard and markers for your door
Shop for College Step 19

Step 7. Buy more luggage, if necessary

If you've never had your own suitcases, now is a good time to buy a bundle. It is recommended that you buy your luggage in bundles rather than one at a time, as one bundle will usually be the best way to save money.

Part 4 of 7: Buying the Health and Beauty Products

Shop for College Step 20

Step 1. Purchase shower products

You'll need a large hand towel and small washcloths, at a minimum, but there are also a few other shower items you should consider purchasing.

  • Buy sandals or shower shoes to protect your feet from bacteria left in shared showers.
  • Buy shampoo, conditioner, and soap.
  • If your bedroom has its own bathroom, buy small towels, a bath mat, and toilet paper.
  • Bring a storage rack to store your soaps and other shower items.
Shop for College Step 21

Step 2. Take care of your hair

As a general rule, any product or device used in the home should be taken to college. If you are using your parents' things at home, you should now buy your own.

  • Purchase a hair dryer, straightener, brush, comb, and curling iron, if needed.
  • Also consider purchasing a razor and shaving cream to remove hair from your body or face.
Shop for College Step 22

Step 3. Make yourself presentable

As with hair products, any skin products you use at home will also need to be purchased for college.

  • Protect your skin with moisturizer and sunscreen.
  • Keep your teeth clean with your own toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Buy a new lipstick.
  • Contain body odor with deodorant.
Shop for College Step 23

Step 4. Bring first aid supplies

A survival kit is a good idea for any college student. You can buy one in the store ready-made or buy the supplies separately.

  • Supplies worth including are:

    • denatured alcohol
    • an antibacterial ointment
    • adhesive bandages
    • hydrogen peroxide
    • a thermometer
Shop for College Step 24

Step 5. Stay Healthy

Besides a survival kit, there are a few other items you should consider having in case you get sick or are not feeling your best.

  • Some articles that are worth including are:

    • over-the-counter medicines for headaches, colds and allergies
    • prescription drugs
    • cough candy
    • eye drops

Part 5 of 7: Obtaining Household Products

Shop for College Step 25

Step 1. Know what you will have to clean on your own

In most cases, you will only need to clean your room or dormitory. Sometimes, however, you might also be responsible for the hallways, bathroom, or kitchen. In which case, you will also need to purchase household products for these places.

Shop for College Step 26

Step 2. Make sure you can clean the floor

A vacuum cleaner, broom, and mop should all be on your college shopping list.

Invest in a handheld vacuum cleaner, especially if you are only in charge of a small space like your dorm

Shop for College Step 27

Step 3. Buy some laundry products

You will almost always have to wash your clothes yourself. Stock up on laundry and invest in a laundry basket.

  • Buy a collapsible laundry basket to save space.
  • Buy fabric softener in liquid or tablet form.
Shop for College Step 28

Step 4. Keep germs away from you

Disinfectant wipes are recommended no matter what you have to clean. Having disinfectant wipes and sprays can help reduce the spread of germs, which is very important in a confined space such as a dormitory.

Also bring dishwashing liquid and window cleaner, as well as rags that can be used for scouring

Part 6 of 7: Thinking About Entertainment

Shop for College Step 29

Step 1. Fill up on movies and music

Even the most studious of students will need to relax from time to time. So now is the time to stock up on all the CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays you crave.

  • Avoid high-end stereos, however, since you could be in trouble if you make too much noise and your neighbors complain.
  • Also buy a small TV to watch your movies.
Shop for College Step 30

Step 2. Get a good pair of headphones

You can love your music, but that doesn't mean your roommate or neighbors will love it as much as you do. Headphones are essential, so if you don't have one, get one now.

If you invest in noise canceling headphones, you will also be able to protect your ears from music and noise made by others

Shop for College Step 31

Step 3. Bring books that you really enjoy

If you love to read, buy a few books that you can't wait to read. Doing this can restore a bit of the reading craze, which might otherwise get lost among all the books you have to read.

Shop for College Step 32

Step 4. Buy sports games and accessories

Indoor and outdoor games help you hang out and make friends, so if you don't have any games you can bring with you to college, buy a couple of them now.

  • Board games and card games are a great option and are inexpensive. You can also bring a video game console, but do so at your own risk, as it could be stolen if you leave your room open and unattended.
  • Buy things for outdoor activities as well, such as rollerblades, a Frisbee, or a basketball.

Part 7 of 7: Prepare food and cook

Shop for College Step 33

Step 1. Know what you need and what you can bring

Many universities have restrictions on what type of cookware you are allowed to keep in your dormitory. See these instructions before making any large purchases.

  • Items you should check before purchasing include:

    • a coffee machine
    • a mixer
    • a microwave
    • a small refrigerator
Shop for College Step 34

Step 2. Buy a variety of plastic boxes to store food

Plastic boxes and resealable plastic bags are essential, as they allow you to store leftovers and make your food supply last longer.

Make sure your plastic boxes are microwave safe

Shop for College Step 35

Step 3. Obtain the essential cutlery

Forks, knives and spoons are absolutely necessary, you must have supplies, so buy these utensils before you go to college.

  • You should also consider purchasing a can opener, funnel, and any cooking utensils (like whisks and wooden spoons) that you might need if you plan to cook yourself.
  • Kitchen utensils also include cake pans, pots and pans.
Shop for College Step 36

Step 4. Take care of the dishes

You will also need plates, bowls, tumblers, and mugs when you go to college.

Make sure your dishes are microwave safe

Popular by topic