Ballin’ on a Budget

How to add flare to a drab college living space for less than $15

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More stories from Katrina Erskine

Photo by Savannah Reeves

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The necessity of a budget as a college student becomes real almost immediately, as the excitement of being on their own quickly fades and the reality of the price tag of college sets in. One of the many financial factors that needs to be taken into account is decor to make your new room feel like home.

Whether in the dorms or off campus, chances are that living situations aren’t necessarily ideal. When someone is on a strict budget, they might get frustrated with the thought of having to spend an excessive amount on decorating. However, there are many cheap, innovative ways to spice up a drab college living space. Some cost less than $15.

One thing I like to do is go to garage sales. Not only are the items cheap, but some items can be found in multiples. Also, most sellers are trying to get rid of their junk at their sale, so odds are, negotiating a lower price is a possibility.

A specific way to brighten a college room with a garage sale find would be a do-it-yourself photo-hanging trick using simply yarn, some photos and tape. The yarn can be cut into a variety of desired lengths, and pictures can be printed at Walgreens at a starting fee of 23 cents per picture.

By simply gluing or taping the yarn to borders of pictures and taping them around a room, a college student not only covers up a good portion of the walls with some color, but can be also be reminded of some fun memories.

Another fun place to go is Dollar Tree. I am a huge fan of Dollar Tree because, unlike some dollar stores, this place is true to their name: literally everything is a buck. Dollar Tree has many things that can liven up one’s living space.

There is an isle filled with art supplies and paper. For my room this year, I got two big poster boards and colored them in with markers from the store. A small fee of two dollars covered a large amount of my plain walls with fun, vibrant colors.

Another decor purchase I made at Dollar Tree involved simply a pack of colorful paper plates. They came in a pack of about 20, and I put tape on the back of the plates and stuck them to the wall. I again was able to cover a full wall, making it bright and happy. The idea of sticking paper plates to a wall might not sound too appealing, but it works and sure is cheap!

Enjoy these tips, your bank account will thank you for decorating your room for cheap.

Katrina can be reached at [email protected].

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