As a college student, I have gotten used to living in a dorm. Sure, dorms can be kind of off-putting. I mean, you have to share a bathroom with about 30 other people… it gets gross, to say the least. And shower shoes? Oh man, those are shoes I will NEVER miss. In short, moving off-campus is something that most college students look forward to. Your own kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room — what more could you ask for?

However, it all comes at an expense. When living in dorms, it's like an all-inclusive meal. You have a bed, desk, dresser, etc. waiting for you when you move-in. Not to mention that you don't even have to worry about setting up and paying for water, electricity and WiFi. And let me tell you, everything adds up. All the things you buy to furnish your apartment and make it feel homey can cost you a pretty penny. But there are ways to make it cost effective. Here are a few!

I have always loved stores like TJ Maxx and Homegoods. And, as a matter of fact, Homegoods is the perfect place to shop for a college apartment. Recently, I went to visit my roommate in her hometown to go shopping for our apartment since it comes completely unfurnished. Our first stop was, of course, Homegoods! We found so many great things at such great prices. They often have items that you might find at Target and Bed Bath & Beyond but at half the price. It is a must try.

Another go-to place has been Ikea. Sure, it may take forever to wander through every section to find what you are looking for. However, you will really get a bang for your buck! The only thing I am nervous about is taking the time to assemble the items I purchased there. But I'll just think of it as a little extra adventure that comes with moving into an apartment. But the prices at Ikea are definitely a must if you are on a budget. Not to mention that there's a delicious cafe that no college student can say no to!

DIY will also be your best friend if you are decorating an apartment on a budget. My favorite thing is to go on YouTube and look up different DIY YouTubers. The things that you will find are incredible and easy to make. Most of the time, your DIY will cost you less than $10 to create. Looking for a dresser but don't want to spend $200+ on a new one? Not a problem. Buy a used dresser and DIY fix it! Need some cute decor but don't want to spend over $40 on a nice piece? Totally okay. There's a DIY solution for that too.

Now, we cannot forget Target. Target is my utmost favorite place on the planet. Most of the workers already know me there by name. My roommate and I found many of our main pieces at Target at a very low cost. My ultimate favorite has to be the lamp that we got for our living room. Bordering chic and fancy and modern, it's going to tie our whole living room together! Not to mention that Target has all the things you could ever need for life, ever.

Lastly, online shopping will be your best friend. For us, WayFair was a go-to. We were able to get a lovely marble coffee table for under $150! With many sales going on all year round, you are bound to find a good deal. Whether you're looking for a coffee table, a bed or even just some decor for your bedroom or living area, it's a great website with great prices. And, to add to all of that, they have amazing customer service! I ordered a dresser from them that, unfortunately, came broken. They immediately gave me a refund and called me apologizing for the issue. I was blown away!

Whether you are moving into a house or apartment, it can be quite costly to furnish it. But it's okay because there are places that offer lower prices for great quality items that can off-put the price. I hope this list comes in handy for all of us moving off-campus! Happy moving-in season everyone!