More than 17 million undergraduate and graduate students attend U.S. colleges and universities each year (National Centre for Educational Statistics). Most of these students are paying at least a portion of their tuition plus their living expenses. That means a tight budget. If you are one of these cash-strapped students, you need all the money-saving tips you can get.

Buy used books or eBooks

The prices of college textbooks are rising at eight times the average rate of inflation, according to US News and World Report magazine.

Buying used books or sharing a text with someone else in the class are time-honoured ways to save on textbooks. In addition, the internet has brought a few new options for college texts. Several sites, such as and Barnes & Noble rent textbooks at a fraction of the purchase price. You can also opt for an eBook copy of the text in some cases, usually at around 50% of the new, hardback price. Some texts can even be found online for free, at sites such as

If you do purchase a text, you may want to sell it at the end of the semester. No matter how fascinating you found the class, you’re not likely to open the text again after the final is over.

Slash your internet costs

Getting through college without your own internet access is next to impossible. You may think that you can do all of your work at the library or sitting in the local McDonald’s, but that doesn’t take into account those late-night deadlines or school vacations when the library cuts its hours.

In more parts of the United States, DSL Internet service is the least expensive type of high-speed internet access, even according to fibre proponent In addition, DSL service is available in all but the most remote spots in the United States. With some companies, you don’t even need a land line.

Save on food while eating well

College students have a reputation of existing on ramen noodles and boxed mac and cheese. Embrace the coupon revolution and cut your food costs dramatically. Most regular couponers save 30% or more on their food bill on a regular basis, according to

You don’t have to be an extreme couponer like the people on TV, you just have to know how to match coupons and store specials for maximum savings. Sites like and can help you get started.

Meanwhile, visit the local farmers’ markets for produce and pick your own when you can. You’ll also save by visiting the grocery on days they mark down meat and produce. Ask your butcher and produce manager which days are best.

Add a side gig

Surviving college on a strict budget isn’t all about cutting costs. You can also add a little income by doing something extra on the side. Granted, college students don’t have a lot of extra time – but there are a number of things you can do to turn your off hours into dollars.

Good ideas include writing Web articles, starting a pet walking business in your neighbourhood, blogging, and using your creative skills to make art or jewellery to sell on Etsy.

How To Save Money At College: 4 Easy Steps, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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