is the cost of college, and then there is the cost of
going to college — everything from the extra-long twin
bed sheets you’ll need for your dorm room to textbooks
expenses can add up fast.
the 2014-15 school year, the average full-time
undergraduate student at a four-year public university
spent $1,225 on books and supplies. At four-year private
colleges, the average student shelled out $1,244.
for back-to-school shopping, an annual survey by the
National Retail Federation found that, on average,
college students and their families will spend just
under $900 this year on dorm items, clothes and
electronics, among other things.
you’re heading to college this fall, consider the
following tips for how to save.
textbook expenses. The days of buying all of your
textbooks from the campus bookstore are over. Today, you
have multiple ways to get course materials, including
renting books, downloading digital versions or buying
used books online.
get started, use a search engine that compares the cost
of buying or renting a specific textbook across multiple
for example, aggregates prices for used and new books,
as well as rentals and e-books. Bigwords will also scour
for coupons and promotions.
around can pay off. A new copy of the sixth edition of
"Macroeconomics: Principles and Applications,"
by Robert E. Hall and Marc Lieberman, goes for $286 at
one college bookstore. A search through Bigwords,
however, found a rental option for as little as $27 for
the semester, and a used copy starting at $70.
coupon sites. Just as with any purchase you make online,
it’s a good idea to check for coupon codes or
promotions while shopping the Web for school supplies.
Retailers are running plenty of back-to-school specials
for example, recently listed 115 offers, including 52
coupon codes and nine free shipping promotions for
student savings. Don’t forget to check for savings
targeted specifically at students.
Sept. 18, Apple is offering education discounts on
laptops, desktop computers and tablets. A 12-inch
MacBook, which normally starts at $1,299, is $50 cheaper
for college students or parents of college students (as
well as faculty and staff at universities and K-12
schools). Apple is also throwing in a free pair of Beats
headphones with eligible purchases.
tax-free. Many states have so-called tax-free weekends
before the start of the school year. During these
weekends, state sales tax is waived on qualified
find out if and when your state will have a tax-free
weekend, go to www.taxadmin.org (click on "2015
state sales tax holidays").
tax-free periods for back-to-school shopping began Aug.
with a gift card. If you just graduated from high school
and received gift cards as graduation presents, don’t
forget to use them. According to estimates by CardHub,
more than $45 billion in gift cards have gone unredeemed
the flipside, you can buy unwanted gift cards — for a
discount — on websites such as www.giftcardgranny.com,
and use the cards to make purchases at the related
a recent search, Apple gift cards were available with
discounts of as much as 4.28 percent. So a gift card
with a value of $100 would cost $95.72. Buy several of
those to apply toward a new computer, and the savings
— on top of the student discount — really begin to