If you’re the parent of a college-age student, you already know that preparing to send your student off to school can be a bit overwhelming! My own daughter is preparing to move into her first apartment at school this month, so I’ve had a front-row seat to the list-making, shopping, and packing that goes along with moving away from home for the first time.

As always, I want to save as much money as possible while still making sure my daughter has everything she needs to live on her own at her university. This is a great time to clean out the closets at home for everything from blanket to towels to dishes that can be handed down to your student. Free is always the best price!

Of course, there are sure to be other items that you may not have on hand at home (or not be willing to part with.) Whether you’re looking for a mini fridge or a set of extra-long sheets to fit those oversized dorm beds, you’ll want to get the best prices on the items you’re buying new. The great news is that most department and big-box stores are having Back-to-College sales this month on essential gear for both dorm and apartment dwellers.

How do you know you’re getting the best prices possible? The Flipp app is your go-to solution for finding out what’s on sale at nearby stores in your area. You can search by brand or by product (“microwave”) and it will return a list of all stores with your selected item on sale.

Is your student headed to a dormitory or off to his or her first apartment? Your child’s packing list will be a little different depending on where they’re headed. To help you get started, here’s a list of items your child will likely want to bring along, as well as specific items they’ll also want to bring along for their dorms or apartments:

Moving-out must-haves:

Dorm-dweller essentials:

First-apartment musts:

If your student is sharing his or her living space with a roommate (or two, or three) remind your child to confer with the roomies ahead of time to split the “wish list” of supplies too. There’s no need to have three toasters in the same living space, and everyone can save money if each roommate contributes a few things to the collective living arrangement too.

What are your essential items for back to college? Let us know on our Facebook page!