When a college freshman is about to leave home, it’s easy for student and parents to go all out to meet every conceivable dorm room need. Parents should resist the urge to express how much they’ll miss their son or daughter by splurging on an extravagant shopping binge. While it’s important to give your college student a friendly place to come back to at the end of a long night of studying — you don’t need to spend a lot of money.

1. Talk to Roommates First

Talking about dorm furnishings is a great reason for new students to contact roommates. Dividing up the purchases they’ll use in common, such as a mini-fridge or microwave, can save both families money and establish a sense of teamwork from the beginning. But don’t forget to consult the school rules before shopping.

2. Bring Some Items From Home

College is a new beginning, but that doesn’t mean every last dorm room furnishing must be new. Students away from home for the first time often find it comforting to have a reading lamp, throw rug or beanbag chair that’s been with them since they were in preschool. Of course, this option is easier if you can drive your child to college.

3. Remember the Extra-Long Beds

Because dorms have to accommodate everyone’s needs, they almost always have extra-long twin beds. The start of every school year finds a number of families scrambling to buy bedding at the last minute because they brought the wrong size sheets. Online discount outlets feature special sheet sets made for college dorms

4. Check Craigslist and Yard Sales

Late summer is prime yard-sale season, and a leisurely shopping day together may be the perfect excuse to enjoy the company of your child before he moves away. Interesting storage containers, lightweight mirrors and novelty wastebaskets are just a few examples of second-hand objects you can often buy for a song.

5. Save Some Shopping for After Arrival

Once you help your child move into his room, you’ll inevitably discover there are items you’ve forgotten. Plan some time to drive to a low-cost shopping center and pick up the last-minute necessities together; if your student has to buy soap or ink cartridges at the college bookstore, he will pay a premium.

6. Put Your Child in Charge of Decorating

Creating a living space independently is an important milestone of growing up. Your young adult child will be eager to express his individuality with dorm room decorations, so it’s best to set a budget and let him make his own choices.

7. Take Advantage of Back to School Sales

All major retailers offer big back to school discounts, and their sales include dorm room essentials. Before clicking that buy button, price check your items at retailers such as Walmart

 and Target

, since both run major sales on dorm items.