Off-campus does not have to mean off-budget

Save the Piggy Bank

Piggy in color

By Ashley McCallum

Lifestyle Editor

The lease is signed. You have reassured your landlord  you know when garbage day is and you understand “no pets” does include small hamsters. The keys are in your hands. Congratulations, you have officially moved off campus and probably feel like you are almost a real adult.  Moving off campus is exciting until you realize your to-do list is growing exponentially. You need to get furniture and figure out what is the best brand of toilet paper that balances soft, durable and economical.

After the essentials are taken care of, it sets in that you have a lot more ground and walls to cover than you did in your residence hall. It may feel like it will cost an arm and a leg to make the place look nice. In actuality, it does not need to cost much at all. These decorating tips will prevent you from busting open your piggy bank.

Thrift stores are your friends

If you have never shopped at a thrift store before, you are missing out on a glorious cornucopia of previously owned goods. Before turning your nose up to the idea of resale items, you should know that the faint smell of elderly perfume is easy to get out and as long as you wash things before using them, you will not catch any diseases from the previous owner.

The best part about buying decorative items at thrift stores, beside the low prices, is that everything you find is unique. If you go to Target to buy your picture frames and wall hangings, chances are about 17 other people in a five-mile radius also have them.

Thrift shopping is like a treasure hunt. There is always something new on the shelves. Older items give you a chance to take something retro and make it fabulous and newer items are a steal if you can find them.

A little paint goes a long way

Old or cheap furniture can sometimes make your room look run-down. To fix that, go to the hardware store and pick out one or two colors of paint and buy a quart of each. Set a day aside and paint over the old furniture that may be creating an eye sore out of your cool new crib. Now your old thrift store furniture looks like it was meant to be together and your personality will be present in every room

Be practical

A $50 tapestry of a lion flying through space may seem really cool at first, but after you put it up you’ll quickly regret spending that kind of cash on something that just sits there. Find a way to make household items into part of your décor. Paint you and your roommates’ initials on some $.50 wine glasses and put them on the shelf in your living room, or find a colorful set of hand towels to brighten up the bathroom. You can easily kill two birds with one stone this way.

By all means, control your anger

and your liquor

Hundreds of walls fall victim every year to foolish college students who feel it is necessary to take their anger out on drywall. Just don’t do it. Your landlord will hate you, your potential significant others will judge you, and it could end up being a home to the neighborhood squirrels. Scream into your pillow or do some jumping jacks because both methods are much cheaper than a wall-repair kit.

Graphic by Ashley McCallum