First-generation Latino college students are dedicated, determined, and creative students. That’s why we’ve teamed up with State Farm® to make this back-to-school season a success for college students who are paving the way for future generations. It’s not always easy to be the first, but it is always an accomplishment.

We know going to college is a great investment in your future, and by great, we also mean the amount of money that’s spent over the course of four years. 

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According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 school year at a four-year public school was $9,400. That’s not to mention the additional costs of living on campus. Luckily, there are ways to save money in school, like scholarships and grants. 

A big area where money can be saved is housing, specifically decorating. Many of these expenses only have to be made once, and they’ll last you as long as you need them. Here, we’ve come up with 11 best shopping and decorating tips for dorm life.

Take advantage of student discounts

Your trusty student ID can save you big bucks at many stores. If you’re an avid online shopper, check out discount hubs like UNIDAYS or Student Beans for discounts on tech, clothing, and more.

Browser extensions are your new BFF

Save money in the long run by installing browser extensions like Rakuten and Honey. Online checkouts can earn you points, getting you cash back or free gift cards to popular retailers.

Shop during holiday sales

Big ticket items like appliances, electronics, and mattresses often go on sale during holidays like Labor Day. This will be the best time to pick up bedding, a vacuum, or a mini fridge.

Save by shopping secondhand

You can score amazing decor from thrift stores and online marketplaces, like lamps, baskets, and curtains. By shopping secondhand, you’re also helping the environment and reducing waste. One person’s trash is a money-saving college student’s treasure!

DIY projects for your dorm

@kyliehildrethh

literally took us only 3 hours and cost us about $20! highly recommend if you’re looking to save $$ on a cute headboard. 🩵 #fyp #college #dorm #diy #headboard #decor #preppy #foryou

♬ original sound – kylie rae

Get creative with your new living situation and customize it to your heart’s desire. Popular dorm DIYs include padded headboards, bulletin boards, and even rugs. 

Maximize every square inch of space

@allisonttaylor

L shaped lofted bed layout is superior 😌 #dorm #tinydorm #college

♬ original sound – logan

Space is limited in a dorm, even more so if you have one or more roommates. Rearranging the layout, lofting your bed, or using risers to elevate it gives you more storage underneath. Opt for furniture that doubles as storage, including rolling carts and ottomans.

Tackling your closet

Similarly, with your living space, you should think vertically with your closet. That means attempting to fill the space top-to-bottom using hanging organizers and hangers that allow for multiple clothing items. An over-the-door shoe organizer wouldn’t hurt, either! 

Lighting makes a difference

Add some ambient lighting with novelty lamps, hanging fixtures, or string lights from the holiday season. Dorms don’t usually allow candles, so these are great options for creating a cozier environment for your studies or downtime. 

For those with green thumbs (or not!)

Low-maintenance plants are great for busy schedules and little sunlight. Popular choices for college students are succulents, pothos, and snake plants because they don’t need to be watered often.

Wall-safe decor solutions

If your university doesn’t allow nails in the walls, go for reusable wall-safe adhesive hooks for heavier objects like frames and mirrors. Washi tape is also great for sticking posters or photos on walls, and you can create a statement wall.

Using practical items as decor

Your dorm can feel more like home when it’s filled with items that reflect your personality. Collections of trinkets make for great decor items — including record players and books!

Click here to learn more about how State Farm® has earned the reputation of being a good neighbor to many generations past and more to come.