College apartment bargains and finds

Our daughter moves into her first apartment next month, and in addition to buying a few new things to decorate her soon-to-be space, she’s also been scouring local stores, resale shops and rummage sales to pick up the rest of the things she needs. She was so proud of some of her recent finds that she wanted me to share them with you.


Vera Wang queen comforter set: $15

A local church was having a rummage sale, and she spotted this Vera Wang queen-size comforter, bedskirt and shams set new in its package. We all know that Kohl’s regular prices are inflated anyway, but the original price on this set was $299.99! The rummage sale marked it at $30. She waited until the second day of the sale, which was “Half Off” day, and paid $15. Score!

She also picked up a table lamp for $1.50 at the same rummage sale. She knew she’d need more lamps as most of her rooms have no overhead lights.

Nightstand lamps: $1 + $4

Over at Walmart, she spotted these small lamps on clearance for $1 each! She thought they were perfect for setting on each side of the bed, as her new comforter has shades of brown and blue. I pointed out that she would probably end up paying more for the lampshades than the lamps..! She ended up finding shades at Five Below for $3 each.

Gear from Menards

“Someone” has also suddenly found herself more interested in Menards rebate deals and sales lately! She’s been nabbing up all kinds of bargains for her place, like this one:


(What college student doesn’t need a $3 Star Wars glass clock?)


Menards is also a great place to score cheap and free-after-rebate kitchen gear too. She’s gotten free pizza cutters, free cutting boards, free cleaning products, free coffee mugs, and even free sets of dishcloths, dishtowels and potholders over the past few months.


She’s even picked up a few things to “repurpose” from their intended uses. As her bathroom doesn’t have much storage space, she bought this $9.99 bamboo shoe rack at Menards to use as an open storage area in the bathroom for towels and extra toiletries.

She also bought a $4.99 magnetic paper towel holder. It’s designed to stick to the side of a tool chest (for the garage!) but it’s going on the side of her refrigerator instead:



Each half of this paper towel holder has three heavy-duty magnets that are coated in rubber so they don’t scratch whatever it’s gripping to. Her fridge is right next to the sink, so it makes sense to hang the paper towels there too.

JC Penney coupons strike again

A couple weeks ago, I once again found myself in the situation of having two overlapping $10-off-$10 JC Penney coupons that had come in the mail. (No complaints – keep them coming, JCP!) I didn’t really need anything after stocking up on bed pillows (twice) so I passed the coupons off to my daughter.


She returned, extremely proud of her back-to-back bathroom towel deals:

Bath towel: $3.99
Hand towel: $3.49
Washcloth: $2.79
Yes, that’s $10.27… $10.29 with tax, and just .29 after each coupon. My girl!


Her boyfriend was over when she came home to show off her towel deals, and I think he was a little envious! Why take hand-me-down towels when you can have brand-new for pocket change? I teased, “Come on… isn’t he worth twenty-nine cents to you? You could share a set.”

“Nope,” she grinned. “These are mine!”

More home gear


Her impending move has given both of us a good excuse to clean out our linen closet, which is now neater and less crowded: A few sets of bedsheets and blankets were recently “liberated” from it.

Great-grandma gave her a set of Corelle dishes, and I’m truly convinced that Corelle never wears out. It’s lightweight, tough stuff. This set of dishes has been at my grandma’s house since the 70s, and the dishes look perfect. (In fact, Buzzfeed recently did a story on how many 40-year-old Butterfly Gold Corelle dishes are still out there..!) And look… there are her free-after-rebate Menards mugs too.

A good percentage of her furniture was acquired from various family members — end tables from great-grandma’s house, an old dresser and nightstand from grandma and grandpa’s. And, of course, she’s finally taking our kitchen table, chairs, and old couch out of our house. She’s joked that there are definitely advantages to being the oldest child: First pick of anything Mom and Dad don’t want anymore! (Her dad continues to remind her: “Once these things leave our home, they do not return…”)

Deciding it was time to move up from a twin bed, she also picked up a new bedframe and mattress set at Ikea this summer — the frame was on sale for $49, and she scored a discontinued memory foam mattress for $47 too! She also invested a little time in staining and sealing the pine frame to match the rest of her bedroom furniture.


Appliances for pennies… or less

Thanks to numerous Kohl’s penny appliance deals, she’s got quite an assortment of small appliances ready to move into her little kitchen: coffee maker, toaster, blender, can opener, Crock Pot and more.  Good thing we’re expanding her apartment’s cabinet space a bit.

She even got a free microwave — or at least, free to her. I have a microwave that I received as a gift in 1994 (when I myself was in college..!) We used it right up until we moved to our current house 12 years ago, which has an over-the-range microwave. I brought the old microwave with us when we moved, set it on a shelf in the basement, and never touched it again until this month.

“Can I have it?”

“If it still works, it’s yours.”

Guess what? It does work, and after a little cleaning up, now it’s hers. Panasonic, you make good products! 

It’s been fun watching her shop, collect, and acquire everything she needs (and wants!) for her new place. She’s counting down the days until the big move-out. I know she’s going to love living at college, but I also know I’m going to miss her very much.


  1. Margaret Harvey says

    I have those butterfly dishes and yes they are over 40 years old. Still love them. Glad to see that your daughter is taking after you. Go bargain hunter!!

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