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Summer vacation is wrapping up, and parents around the country are preparing to spend thousands on their children’s higher education. But one expense that’s not included in the tuition bill is supplies. And college freshman need lots of them.

But before you start a shopping list, create a budget. In today’s climate of exorbitantly high gas prices, real estate turmoil, and a weakened dollar, purchasing items without breaking the bank means comparative shopping and finding a one stop shop if you’re looking for dorm deliveries.

Yes, we know, for college students budgeting and cost analysis sounds like it’s straight from an accounting textbook, but for parents it’s an everyday reality. For starters, if you purchase items on your home turf, you might spend a lot less than at the campus store.

Here’s are some more tips:

If your child is heading out of the house, the old clock or wake up calls by Mom and Dad may need to be replaced with a solid alarm clock. An online visit to Target (TGT) , Circuit City (CC) or Best Buy (BBY) allows you to shop around for the best clock that will meet your family’s aesthetic and budget needs.

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Other Electronics: Book light, desk light, wireless internet card, telephone (not to be confused with a cell phone), flash card drive, external hard drive, and printer.

Traipsing around the house in a towel might not be a problem with mom and dad, but it doesn’t – or shouldn’t – pass in the dorms. Communal showers and bathrooms located down the hall should require a robe. A little comparative shopping on (AMZN) can shave a few bucks off this item.

Other Threads: Bath and dish towels, twin (or dorm) sheets, curtains and a comforter.

The spacious place called home is often dwindled down to a temporary 12 X 19 room that may be shared. Guess what that means? Your college student has less room for storage and portability is important. So it may be a good idea to check out places like Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) or the Container Store for storage bins that fit under your child’s twin size bed, and even in the closet.

Other Items: Bead lifts, laptop case, bed rest pillow, Tupperware (TUP), plastic hangers, small chair, shower caddy, and area rug.

Also, consider checking out your dormitories school store for a laptop if you need an upgrade. School bookstores may offer special rates for laptops and software.