Summer is quickly coming to an end and for many it means the inevitable–it’s back to school time! With tuition on a constant rise, money can get pretty tight for students. In addition to keeping up with your extreme couponing, save yourself and your loved ones some money by using these quick tips!

1. Rent Your College Textbooks

College texts at the bookstore can carry a stomach-wrenching price tag. Hardcover books easily go for over $100 each, and if you average four classes per semester, well… Fortunately, there are textbook rental services available for a fraction of the price. You rent the book for the amount of time you need it and ship it back for free when you’re done!

I use SJ Books to rent my textbooks: http://sjbooks.bookrenter.com/. I find that they always have the books that I need, and they ship for free across the U.S.

2. Get Roommates/Housemates

As much as everyone likes having their own space, cutting your rent in half by adding another person to the lease can save you a tremendous amount of money. You now have someone that can split all those pesky utility bills that never stop coming (and your house chores just got cut in half!).

3. Cook At Home

Too busy with school to cook everyday? Consider setting aside one day out of the week and preparing all your meals at once. This way you can freeze home-cooked meals and reheat them as necessary. Not eating out everyday can save you an average of $8-10 per meal!

4. Take Turns Carpooling

Whether you are a daily commuter or you’re just making a trip to the grocery store, consider sharing the cost of gas with others. It’s good for the environment and good for your wallet!

5. Do Your Research Before Making a Purchase

Couponing extends beyond the limits of brick and mortar (BM) stores. Online retailers often have coupons or deals available that are not advertised directly on their websites. I always head over to user-edited forums such as FatWallet and Slickdeals to look for a deal before making a purchase. At these sites, I just type in the item or store I’m looking for, and I can see all deals available for what I want to buy.

Also, if we’re talking about a specific online giant retailer (I’m looking at you, Amazon), their prices are changing all the time–sometimes even by the hour! So how do you know if you’re paying too much? Price history websites do all the math and algorithms so that you can see a nice, organized graph of all the prices an item has gone through including the highest and lowest prices that item has sold for. If you’re not in a rush for an item, camelcamelcamel can even send you an email notification when your item drops below a price point that you set.

Going to college doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drown in debt. Spending wisely and saving where possible will help keep your head afloat while you’re working your way towards that diploma.

This has been a guest post by Jessica, San Francisco, CA
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