6 Moving Tips for College Students

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) —  Moving day is right around the corner for college students everywhere, which can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. To help minimize the hassle, we talked to a few savings experts to get some tips on how college students can move into their new dorm rooms efficiently and affordably.  

Find out what you will (and won’t) need.


Dorm rooms typically come furnished, but you should still double-check what exactly will be in yours come move-in day. You should also check out how big the room is so you know what else you’ll be able to fit in there.

“Find out what will be provided for you,” Ornella Grosz, Author of Moneylicious: A Financial Clue for Generation Y, says. “Will your room have a bed, desk, wardrobe/closet, dresser?”

Grosz says you should ask your school’s housing representatives what specifically is (and isn’t) included in your residence fee, a popular line item on many universities’ tuition bills. Find out from them where you can get the rest of your necessities locally.

Get set up beforehand.

Anyone moving into local houses or apartments instead of dorm rooms should also call their local electric, water and cable companies prior to move-in day to set up their accounts and arrange utilities.

“There's nothing more disappointing than moving in and finding the lights aren't working,” says Brandon Farestad-Rittel, a college savings expert for Kinoli, a group of savings websites.

Don't pay for packing materials.

Your possessions may be precious, but you don’t have to spend money on packing peanuts to protect them.

“Consider what you already have around,” Farestad-Rittel says.  For instance, he suggests using dish towels, T-shirts and pillows to fill the spaces in between items. You can also stop by your local grocery store to get free cardboard boxes to transport your stuff or buy cheap blankets at a thrift store to cover more delicate furniture.

Shop around for moving trucks.

Professional movers can cost anywhere from $500 to $6,000, and rental trucks can cost just as much. To find the option that best suits your needs, you have to shop around on websites like Moving.com or Movers.com, which help you compare quotes from reputable movers, rental companies and storage providers in your area.

“Find out what’s included so you can do an apples-to-apples comparison,” Grosz says. She also suggests asking the company if they offer student discounts, as many are in the habit of doing so.

If you’re hiring a mover, Farestad-Rittel suggests scheduling the move in the middle of the week as “moving trucks are typically cheaper to rent” then.  You can find more tips for negotiating with movers in our look at eight things they don’t want you to know.

Consolidate.

“Long-distance moves are priced by volume and weight,” Grosz says. “Local moves [are priced] by volume and time.”  In either case, more stuff means a bigger bill so students should refrain from taking a whole house worth of stuff with them.

“While packing, weed out items to sell, donate or throw out,” Grosz adds. Some places will gladly take your old housewares, but if you are having a hard time parting with your entire DVD collection, you should look for ways to condense the items.

“If you have bags, suitcases or even coolers, think about how you can use them like boxes,” Farestad-Rittel says. “Pack the small stuff inside larger items like Russian nesting dolls.”

You can find more ways to get organized in this MainStreet article.

Leverage other student discounts.

Moving companies aren’t the only ones that will knock a few bucks off the bill for young academics. College students have been known to get discounts on software, electronics and, even trips to space (which admitedlly won’t help with the move, but could be useful if you need to get away for a while.)

“Whether you're picking up packing supplies, a new couch or just some snacks, there's no harm in asking about a student discount,” Farestad-Rittel says.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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