The Real Cost of Setting Up a Dorm Room

By Bloomberg Rankings - 2012-08-10T20:14:18Z

Photograph by Lonnie Duka/Getty Images

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The Computer

Most students won't try to create a room as well-wired as BRAD -- the Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm student Derek Low created. Fifty-four percent of students do expect to buy a new computer, MP3 player, smartphone or other device, according to a National Retail Federation's Back-to-College survey. Remember cables, as well as installation disks in case the computer dies. If your child wants a MacBook Air, they start at $999.

$870: Laptop HP 15.6" Pavilion Laptop 6GB Memory, 640GB Hard Drive ($630), with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 software ($120), and HP Deskjet Network Ready Wireless Color e-All-In-One printer ($120) -- bestbuy.com

$50: Retractable laptop lock -- sears.com

$42: Two 12-outlet surge protectors with phone/ethernet/coaxial protection and extended cord (one may suffice, but it can't hurt to have two) -- amazon.com

$20: Two flash drives -- sears.com

$13: Blank CDs -- target.com

The tally: $2,215.50

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