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This post is about affordable and useful college items.
Going to college is pretty freaking expensive. Apart from the shocking cost of room and board, and tuition on top of that, there’s a lot of pressure to come into college with all brand new items and an empty dorm room to decorate.
Buying items for your dorm room and for college life in general is an exciting process, but it doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
In this post, I show you the affordable items I used in college that I definitely got my money’s worth out of. These cheap items help with organization, decoration, thriving with college life, and so much more. Enjoy!
Here are 20 college must-haves under $20.
20 College Must-Haves Under $20
Microfiber Sheet Set
Nice, microfiber sheets are essential to making your bed a place you can truly rest and recuperate. These sheets come in a ton of colors and are perfect for dorm room beds.
Sharpie Clearview Highlighters
I use highlighters really actively in my textbooks, and these ones are my favorite! They don’t bleed, and come in a range of colors. The see through tip is also really useful!
Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer
For days when makeup isn’t an option, or if you don’t prefer to wear makeup on a regular basis, this oil control moisturizer really does the trick. Plus, it has sunscreen! I use this moisturizer seriously every day.
Marble White Board
A white board is really useful in a dorm room to write reminders, test dates, or keep important tickets or papers. I have this white board, and I love how it’s trendy and doesn’t have a frame.
Throw Pillow Covers
While 18×18 throw pillow inserts are not under $20 (psst: they’re only $30 for 4) throw pillow covers are almost always under $20 for FOUR covers. This is a huge money saving tip, especially since you can use the same throw pillow inserts and change up the whole look of your room. The covers featured here are just one of the options, there are so many that are so cute.
Vera Bradley ID Holder
These ID holders are about as trendy as they come. Seriously everyone has them. Luckily, they’re useful, affordable, and super cute. They come in tons of patterns and colors!
These pens are just phenomenal. I tried out these pens after seeing a friend using them, and I’ve never changed back. They’re so nice, I seriously wanted to take notes just so I could use them. Highly highly recommend!
White String Lights
White string lights are a dorm room staple. They’re so universal, and they provide a surprising amount of soft white light. In a dorm room, they’re perfect for night time lighting.
Faux ivy is super cheap, and looks amazing when strung up and down a wall with white string lights. Against the white dorm room walls, some faux ivy and string lights provide you with a pretty incredible Instagram backdrop. Just sayin.
Super Soft Throw Blanket
This throw blanket comes in tons of colors, which means it’ll match almost any dorm room theme. It’s super soft, and a top seller on Amazon. You’ll want your dorm room bed to be made during the day, and a throw blanket is essential for midday napping!
Real Techniques Makeup Sponges
I used to use a much, much more expensive makeup sponge. Finally, I came across this sponge and was absolutely shocked at how much better it applied my makeup. I can seriously get 4 of these sponges for the price of 1 of the sponges I used to use. If you haven’t started applying foundation with a sponge yet, it’ll change your life! This is the affordable makeup sponge to do it with.
USB Power Strip
There’s like, 3 outlets in an entire dorm room. In the ultra-connected world that we live in, this just does not cut it. A power strip like this one is perfect for plugging in any general items, like lamps or laptops, and the USB ports are awesome for phones and smaller devices. Genius!
How To Be A Straight-A Student
This book may look small, but it has some seriously good methods and tips in it. It’s a quick read, but it teaches you the principle of working smarter not harder, and how to get straight-A’s while having a fulfilling social life and ample free time.
I was skeptical when I bought this laptop sleeve, since it’s so cheap. I was so surprised when it came in the mail and it was high-quality and perfect for my MacBook Pro. I also really like the smaller pouch that comes with it, where I hold my adapter and charger.
Batiste Dry Shampoo
Once I switched to this dry shampoo, I couldn’t find one that worked as well as this one. It comes in a few different scents, and also comes in a ton of colors to match your hair color if you’re worried about white residue.
Sticky Notes Set
I can’t believe I didn’t find this sticky note set before I went to school. I am absolutely getting this for next year! The tabbed sticky notes are awesome for writing table of contents, and the different sized regular sticky notes I always use for emphasizing main points or expanding on concepts.
First Aid Kit
It’s always a good idea to keep some general medical supplies in your dorm or backpack for little scrapes or other cuts. Most Universities have an on-campus clinic, so no need to worry about keeping a lot of medical supplies. A simple, small, first-aid kit will cover all of your needs.
When I lived on campus, I would find myself walking around alone quite a bit. While we like to think campuses are always safe, that is not the case! It’s a huge and unfortunate problem, and keeping some pepper spray can help with piece of mind and can truly save you in some pretty awful situations.
Fineliner Colored Pens
I bought these colored pens for color-coding my planner, and I was not disappointed! The colors are bright, and these pens are really high quality. These are great for studying, color-coding, or writing notes in some more fun colors than just black or blue.
5 Subject Notebook
Instead of carrying around a bunch of 1-subject notebooks, every year I have just gotten a 3 or 5 subject notebook (dependent on my schedule) to keep all of my notes in. I really prefer to keep notes on my laptop, but not all classes allow electronics. Keeping this larger notebook is a lot more convenient.