As a proud alumna of Southern CT State University, Kelly Hope was thrilled to be offered a position in the Resident Life Department of her alma mater.  After working in the department for some time she was promoted to Resident Director.  It was this position that gave her the insight on the savvy college student. She knows what young professionals look for in dorm life affordability and what they’re searching for after graduation, for their first place.
Kelly Hope
Resident Director at Southern CT State University from 2004-2011
501 Crescent St.
New Haven, CT 06515
(203) 392-7278

Kelly Hope was the Resident Director of multiple dorm facilities and on campus housing at Southern CT State University from 2004-2011. As the RD, Kelly oversaw the daily housing operations of residence halls; which housed 1st and 2nd year students. She was responsible for adjudicating cases, completing health and safety checks, maintaining an oversight of the hall’s budget and programming. In this position, Kelly witnessed first hand how students adjusted to their new living spaces, whether they be freshmen on their way in, or graduating seniors on their way out. Part of Kelly’s character is finding ways to help the students transition into their new living spaces – and to do it on a budget. Here are some of her tips.

Repurpose Items

Ottomans and sofas can be very expensive. An alternate option is to simply add a decorative pillow or two to a coffee table. By adding pillows to a coffee table, the table is transformed into seating. If coupled with a body pillow and two or three smaller decorative pillows, the coffee table becomes seating with a comfy back.

Frequent Second Hand Shops

Coffee Tables, end tables, lamps and other items can be found inexpensively at second hand stores. The key to shopping in a second hand store is to find out delivery and new merchandising days. Most second hand stores have set days for stocking new merchandise. Find out the stocking day and plan a trip to the store on that day. Also, note you may have to travel outside of your area. Not all second hand stores carry quality items.

Related: Top Consignment Stores in Connecticut

Surf The Internet

Websites like Craigslist and have great deals and finds. Scour the listings to find exactly what you are looking for, and don’t forget…you can always haggle and bargain for lower prices on items. This is an excellent way to save money.

Visit Your Local College Or University Residence Life Department

Many colleges and universities purchase new furniture for their offices and residence halls yearly. At the end of the Fall and Spring semesters make an effort to meet with Director of Residence Life or the Assistant/Associate Director of Housing Operations to see if there are any items being discarded that you can have. This is a hidden jewel. Sometimes bed frames, dressers, portable closets, settees and tables are thrown out.

Hold An Apartment Warming Or Themed Party

If all else fails, throw an old fashioned house warming. People like to have a good time and celebrate friends and loved ones. So capitalize on your job and apartment by hosting a themed party. Be sure to ask everyone to bring something, even something as simple as a household plant goes a long way. It’s easier to get people to bring gifts if there’s a theme (i.e. Cooking in the Kitchen – ask guests to bring kitchen items.) The party could include a demo of your guest’s favorite or signature dishes.

Related: Best Indoor Plants For Your Home

Wanda Coppage is a resident of New Haven, CT where she works as a Music Director and On-Air personality for anUrban/AC radio station. Her passion for life, music and great entertainment is reflected in all of her endeavors, as a radio personality, thinker and writer, and all things that allow her to creatively express herself. Read more of her work on