Buying Stuff for A Dorm 2,050 Miles Away

How do you outfit a dorm in advance when you can’t load the car with stuff and head off to college?

That’s the dilemma that a lot of college students  face if they are attending school far from their homes — my son included. His school is 2,050 miles  from our house in San Diego and airline baggage rules are draconian.

Because of the logistical challenges, my son, his girlfriend and I headed to Bed, Bath & Beyond today to shop for stuff for my son’s  dorm room. I can’t tell you how many moms from around here have been talking up Bed, Bath & Beyond, which is a store that I normally never visit.

Here’s the attraction:  Bed, Bath & Beyond will make sure that the items your child selects during a shopping excursion will be waiting for him or her at the retail store closest to the college. Bed, Bath & Beyond even prints out the direction from the college to the store.

A clerk at the Bed, Bath & Beyond in San Diego gave Ben a scanner and he walked around the store choosing things he wanted for his room. His list was dispatched to the store nearest to Beloit College, where he will be attending. His girlfriend, who will be going to Wheaton College in Norton, MA, did the same thing.

There is one drawback to this  handy arrangement. I think Bed, Bath & Beyond’s prices are higher than Target, where I’d usually buy a lot of this stuff.

Use Coupons

To make this pencil out financially, you need to collect a lot of Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons that are worth 20% off the purchase price. If you get these coupons in the mail save them and ask your neighbors too. It’s okay if the coupons you get through the mail expire, the store still honors them.

You can also sign up to receive store coupons via email. You can only use one coupon per item, but you can use as many coupons as you can gather up. In fact, when the clerk printed out Ben’s list she told him he should use 22 coupons to shrink the price of the 22 items on his list.

You won’t pay the tab until you pick up your dorm merchandise and you aren’t obligated to purchase any of it.

What was most amazing about today’s shopping trip is that Ben even came along. Shopping is about the last thing he would normally want to do.

Further reading:

America’s Best College Dorms

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also write college blogs for CBSMoneyWatch and US News. Follow her on Twitter.

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