Back to school: Dorm room furnishing costs

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- It's a big deal for college freshman; many are moving out and will be away from mom and dad for the first time. Of course, they'll have to furnish their dorm room, which as 3 On Your Side learned, is not cheap.

It's something 18-year-old Ashley Pricer has never had to do before, shopping for items to fill her new dorm room.

"Just shopping for literally everything you'd have in a house but in one packed room," said Pricer. "I have like five different shopping lists from the college."

Ashley will be a freshman at Arizona State University, and when we found her combing the aisles of Target recently, she even had a hand-drawn diagram of her dorm room, complete with dimensions.

"I’m trying to figure out what will fit in a little area," said Pricer.

The challenge is making the most out of a small dorm room. College students discovered the solution is bed stands that help raise the height of the bed so you can store stuff. Four only cost $17.

Don't forget students have to have hangers, bedding, even small kitchen items. Mini-refrigerators are a must have for many students.

Forty-inch televisions are a pretty hot item right now, but like all other college related items, they don't last long.

"When people are searching for their dorm, a lot of it goes super quickly," said Jessica Siegel, who works at Target. "Especially the chairs and ottomans."

To help stretch your wallet, consumers might want to think about picking up items that can be used when a student moves out of a dorm room.

"I don't just want three drawers," said Pricer. "I want hooks on the side or storage on top definitely take the most out of everything I get."

With all this shopping it may be hard to stay within a budget.
"At first I was [trying], then I realize there are way too many things to get."

According to the National Retail Federation, parents will spend only $100 on furnishing a dorm room.

The theory is kids will be taking televisions from their bedrooms and using a lot of their stuff they already have.

In fact, college spending for this year is down and parents blame a poor economy as the reason.