Dorm Decorating

Your first year of college is going to be full of excitement and new adventures. While you might not be home anymore, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it feel a little like home by giving your dorm some color and style! You should think of your dorm walls as canvases waiting to be brought to life. 

Before we dive in, keep in mind that your room should be a place you find comfort in. Your room should be inviting even if it’s just inviting to you. You’re going to be living here for about a year, so you should consider what kinds of things you want to surround yourself with. Think about what kind of space you want to spend your study, sleep and free time.

Color scheme

The first step into bringing your dorm room to life is determining what colors you want to be surrounded by. This is an opportunity to start fresh in the decor department so consider these questions: Do you want colors that stand out? Do you prefer neutral colors? Do you prefer more earth tones? Do you lean more towards pastel colors?

There may be an aesthetic that you gravitate towards. There are so many styles: Minimalistic, Boho, Preppy, Artsy, etc. Look up different styles online to get a feel for what you might like. Who knows, you might be leaning towards something you’ve never tried before! 

bedding

As mentioned, this is an opportunity to start fresh. This statement also stands true with your bed sheets. By now, you should have settled on a color scheme or aesthetic you want to pursue for your room. Using those, consider if you’ll be wanting bed sheets or a comforter with solid colors or patterns. You can also try accent pillows and throw blankets: they’re not only stylish, but they also serve a purpose!

lighting

You can never go wrong with some fairy lights! They can be hung above your bed, around bookshelves, or along the wall. They can even be hung around your study area. Studying may not always be fun, but fairy lights can make studying less dull. Even if you don’t place fairy lights over your study area you will definitely be wanting to place some sort of lighting equipment there. After all, you may be pulling all-nighters at some point!

Another good option is an adjustable desk lamp. This will allow you to adjust the lighting according to the brightness of the room.

maximizing space

If you’re looking to maximize the space in your room, you should definitely consider using storage bins. You’ll want to take advantage of the space under your bed by using bed risers to keep all your bins accessible and organized. Also, if you’re looking to maximize your closet space you may want to use hanging organizers. These will increase the space for both your clothing and shoes.  

wall art

Like we said earlier, your walls are a canvas waiting to be brought to life. You can bring them to life with mementos such as your favorite pictures, movie posters, motivational boards, or even school banners to get you into the school spirit! If you want to fill your walls with something new you can also create a new art piece to hang.

Your decor can have more than one purpose, like cork boards and whiteboards. These will allow you to track your schedule and school events as well as a means of communication between you and your roommate (if you have one).

furniture

Your room will most likely not be the same size as your room back home. You should be cautious of the size of the furniture you bring into your dorm area. Consider bringing in furniture that will serve more than one purpose. This will allow you to take advantage of the space in your room. A good example of multi purpose furniture is a storage ottoman: they are both chic and useful in more than one way.

One last thing to consider is that you’ll most likely be sharing your room with a roommate. If you are, try reaching out to them to see if they will also be decorating their side of the room. Should they also have the same thoughts the two of you can coordinate to have one specific theme for the entire room. Your roommate(s) will be one of the people you interact with first in your college journey. Some people stay close friends with their roommates even after college, maybe you will too!

We hope these dorm decorating tips help you out. They have definitely helped us!  

Ways to Save Money in College

As a college student, saving money can be hard. We’ve compiled a list to help you save your hard-earned money. Believe it or not, we live by these tips too. What better way to provide advice than with some methods we’ve already tested ourselves! We hope you’ll be able to use some of these methods during your years in college and into the future. 

Textbooks

One of the first dilemmas you’ll face as a college students is having to buy expensive books for your classes. Let’s face it, you won’t even read half of the chapters in your class for some of them. Instead of buying new books, we recommend that you rent your books!

We’ve noticed some students purchase expensive books in hopes to sell them later on for an equal or higher price they bought them for. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Bookstore can’t always guarantee that they’ll buy your books back for the price that you’re hoping, or if they will be buying them back at all later on as their need for books fluctuates every semester. You’ll actually be saving yourself SO much money by renting!

At Textbook Solutions, we aim to keep our book prices lower than your on-campus bookstore and rent out books up to 90% off their new price.

Fitness

You should also look into what is included in your tuition: take advantage of the amenities that your university offers! If you’re looking to keep in shape while in college and are looking for a gym, don’t spend your money on a membership. Most universities have a gym for their students. All you’ll need to show at the door is your student ID. You can get fit and stay active without spending more money!

FOOD

On a similar note, we know that some classes can be super time consuming when it comes to homework and assignments, which may limit your meal times. Don’t let that pressure you into eating out every day. Many universities offer meal plans included in the tuition that will give you access to the cafeterias and on-campus restaurants. It’s already included, so you’re not spending more money by eating out!

One healthy, money-saving tip for eating and drinking is to always carry a reusable water bottle with you. It’ll not only help you in staying hydrated but also save you money. If not eating on campus, you should also consider the time of day that you go out to buy your next meal. We highly suggest visiting your favorite place during Happy Hour! Restaurants are more likely to be having special offers during that time.

Resources

In addition, most universities have a computer lab that allows you to print all the documents you need for free. Instead of having to purchase a printer, paper, and ink, all you’ll really need is your USB or Google Drive information and your school ID. You won’t have to worry about not having enough ink or paper!

Of course you’ll need a means of transportation to and from the computer on campus. While having a car can be useful, you can also look into taking the shuttle. If you live in university housing they most likely have shuttles all around – and the best part is, you don’t have to pay for gas! The shuttles on campus are designed to help the students get from their dorm to classes on time. We suggest scoping out the shuttle stops and checking out their itinerary.

Student discounts

People always say you should always carry your ID, and we couldn’t agree more. When you go out, never forget to ask if they have any active student discounts. If you’re in need of electronics/entertainment, Apple, Sprint, AT&T, Office 365, Best Buy, Dell, Spotify among others offer discounts for students! Restaurants like Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Waffle House, and Burger King can help you save 10% on your next meal. Don’t be afraid to ask if a place has any student discounts!

Budgeting

If you’re just not sure if you can keep track of your expenses by yourself, don’t worry! There are actually various budgeting apps designed to guide you. They’ll not only tell you how you’ve been spending your hard earned money, but how much you’ve been spending in transportation, shopping, dining, etc. Here are some budgeting apps you can use for free: Mint, Wally & EveryDollar. They can also help you in alerting you when your next bill is in addition to creating monthly budgets so you can stay within your ideal budget and save some moolah!

We know how hard it can be to save money while in college. At Textbook Solutions we aim to help you Save More Green. We hope that with these tips you’ll be able to do just that!

Summer Wind Down: Last Minute Vacations

It’s the end of July…can you believe it?? 2 months have gone by and you feel like you’ve done nothing all summer! There’s still time to book that last minute vacation that will lift your spirits and won’t leave you feeling bummed out. Here are 4 cheap, last minute vacation ideas!

Hiking and Camping

What better way to spend your last weeks of freedom than by enjoying beautiful nature? You can find some amazing sites near the mountains, water, or wooded areas – whatever fits your style! There are so many camping grounds and hiking trails that you can find for incredibly cheap prices for a couple of nights.

Not sure what to bring on a camping trip? REI has a great camping checklist you can use here! Make sure you check out what activities there are to do at your local campgrounds, such as hiking trails, kayaking or canoeing, or even rock climbing. Besides these fun options, you can bring your own entertainment! Outdoor games such as cornhole, frisbee, and other sports are always a hit. Board games and cards are great for some time outside of technology. And don’t forget the s’mores!!

Home Rental Sites

If you want to get out of your own house for a few days, home rental booking sites are always a good option to experience a new place in a cost-effective, welcoming, home environment! There are quite a few companies that offer this service, such as Airbnb and Vrbo. Just figure out where you want to visit, and search Airbnb or Vrbo for great deals in that area.

If you have never used a place like Airbnb or Vrbo before, it is a service where homeowners put their properties up for others to rent for a few days on vacations or trips of any kind. They have wonderful accommodations and provide a cheap alternative to expensive hotels! There are plenty available in most places nowadays and many of them are less than $100 a night! If you have friends that can chip in, you can stay almost anywhere for dirt cheap!

Beach or Lake Trip

There are not many places more beautiful than a beach or lake at sunset. Before heading back to school in August, visiting the water may be the perfect way to escape and have fun. If you live near a beach or lake, it can make for the perfect day trip and hardly cost anything! If you don’t live close to a body of water, grab some friends and make a road trip weekend out of it.

Some exciting things to do out on the water include kayaking, canoeing, riding jet skis, or attempting to surf – if you’re brave enough! Most beach and lake locations have rental spots where you can rent various equipment for a couple of hours. Bring a volleyball and have some games in the sand, and a cooler for your drinks and snacks. You’re all set!

Theme Park

Theme parks may not be the most relaxing getaway, but they sure are exciting! A theme park doesn’t have to be a huge tourist spot like Disney World – see if there are local water parks, go-kart racing, or other attractions in your area! A theme park, whether large or small, will have tons of activities for you and your friends and family to participate in.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun and go soak up your last few weeks of summer!

Stuck Indoors? How to Get Around Without a Car

Not having a car can be stressful and limiting for some people. Cars are convenient in many respects. You can go anywhere you want, any time that you want to go. However, cars are essentially an expense as soon as they leave the dealership/lot. There are car payments, car insurance expenses, gas expenses, maintenance fees, and repair costs among other things that make owning a car a little less desirable. And besides, it is easy to get around without a car nowadays. Here are a few suggestions if you find yourself indoors with a destination in mind but without a vehicle of your own. 

using uber or lyft

In today’s society, transportation services apps such as Uber or Lyft have become popular. While these services can be expensive at times, they are effective in getting around from place to place!

Uber and Lyft technologies keep an extensive record of who your drivers are and the route that is being taken so you feel safe and secure with every ride you take. Uber and Lyft also come in handy when you need to be somewhere in a reasonable amount of time. The apps match the rider with a driver within minutes of ordering so you are not waiting around to get to where you need to be. 

walking

In addition to using Uber or Lyft to get around, using your legs to get to where you need to go works wonders for your transportation needs. Walking is a rather healthy option to consider when you want to travel but do not have a car, especially if your destination is not far away. If you do not mind getting a little sweat going, walking may be the best option for you. And if you are worried about getting sweaty, you could always bring a change of clothes with you on your trek.

Walking also gives you the ability to look around your surroundings and appreciate the scenery a little more. You may come across gems that you oftentimes pass by when you are in a vehicle. It also costs zero dollars and zero cents to walk from point A to point B so you can save a little money in the process.

public transportation

Taking the bus or the train to where you need to go is one way to get around town. Depending on where you live, this option might be beneficial for you. However, this may be confusing to those who may not utilize public transit on a regular basis. A couple of tips to effectively use public transportation would be to download your local public transit apps on your mobile device and to buy a bus pass. The public transit apps let you know the bus/train’s arrival and departure times and where exactly they stop. These apps are also updated in real time so you are never questioning where your means of transportation are at a given moment.

A bus pass is beneficial for people who use public transit because it ends up being cheaper than using Uber or Lyft services and significantly cheaper than owning a private vehicle.

carpool with a friend

Riding with a friend who has a car is yet another way to get around without one of your own. Interact with your friends and learn their schedules so you know who is available and who is not. Be sure to give your friend a few dollars for gas every now and then so your friends will continue to give you rides when you need them. Carpooling is also eco-friendly because there are less cars on the road polluting the environment. Be friendly to the Earth and be friendly to your friends!

The next time you think you are “stuck indoors”, think again. Use Uber technologies, ride the bus, get exercise by walking, or carpool with a generous friend. You may find that these alternatives may actually be better for you than owning a private vehicle in terms of overall cost, your health, and the environment. It is not the end of the world if you do not have a car so keep your head up, go out, and explore!

Cheap Dates

Couple, Holding Hands, Walking, Love

Dating in college can be a hit or miss for most and the second it gets down to deciding on an actual plan, a plethora of stresses have arisen. Where do we go? What do we do? What is expected of me? Is it expensive? That last question probably should have been first considering money is a daily concern for many students.

Luckily, there are options to pursuing inexpensive dates that won’t break the bank. Don’t go breaking piggy banks until giving one of these five choices a chance!

Keeping it old school

Maybe it’s not that old school – but grabbing some ice cream and taking a walk with a partner can be more fun than it seems, for more than just one reason. Imagine being able to enjoy a sugary treat while engaging in – hopefully intriguing – conversation and getting those daily steps in! Sometimes, keeping it old school is keeping it fun.

Simple & easy

Picnic, Man, Basket, Meal, Food, Blanket, Park, Outdoor

The joys of a picnic can often be limited to the season and location of residence. Depending on where you live, just pick the months with bearable weather and the date is half ready to go! All that’s left to do is pack some snacks and sandwiches, grab a blanket, and pick a lovely spot.

Night in

Let’s be honest here. Some days contain more energy than others. On this kind of night it could be equally fun to just stay in with some take out – or cook if one is up to the challenge – and watch a movie, though binging a show is just as fun (no discriminating here). This could provide a fun opportunity to talk about the crazy events that took place in the cinematic adventure experienced together.

A Budgeted outing

Lovers, Bench, Lake, Trees, Love, People, Man, Couple

This one might entail some extra cash but a trip to the beach or a nearby lake is a day of relaxation and extravagation. (Okay, I made that word up. It’s kind of like extravagant. I digress.) Find a cooler and fill it with snacks before heading out and it’s got huge potential to be a beautiful memory. Sitting in the sun with no worries is a start to a delicious recipe. From this point on there are endless combinations of how this splendidly filled afternoon could be spent!

grub & hub

Just spending time with a person can be an amazing time. Add on board games or a mutual experience and a thirty minute conversation can turn into an entire afternoon of enjoying someone else’s company. Multiply that by coffee and it’s a beautifully crafted date of sophistication and fun. Don’t knock it before trying it!

The beauty within all of these plausible ideas is the commonality between them. One word, four syllables, makes my heart skip a beat: affordable. Give them a chance before writing them off as boring and the regrets will dissipate faster than your bank account has time to cry.