I am going to college next year...

I'm at UNCW and everything is really expensive since it is a tourist city. The best ways that I've found to save money is basically to not do anything on campus. The dorms typically end up being a lot more expensive than an off campus apartment. The meal are rarely worth it unless you are eating 3 solid meals every day at any dining hall. Most people end up using their extra meals in a very uneven exchange for stuff at the bookstore. One full dinner at the all you can eat dining hall is equivalent to a coffee and a muffin at the campus coffee shop.

As for textbooks, I'd say wait until the first week of classes to decide which ones to get. Some teachers allow you to get older versions of the books which cost next to nothing, some require brand new books, and some put more books on their syllabus than you will ever actually need. One teacher last semester said we had to buy a book that costs $157, but we only used it once, halfway through the semester, so I never bought it and I went to the library and copied the pages for the one assignment.

Most important tip in my opinion is to not charge anything to your student account/loans that you don't have to. A coffee here and there or a few cool things at the bookstore really add up. My boyfriend didn't pay attention to it while he was in college. He charged fast food, and random purchases to it for 2 years and including his dorm for 2 years and tuition for 4 he graduated with almost $50k in loans. I know that's actually a modest problem compared to many others' college debt. I got a job every summer which paid for my rent with 2 roommates during the school year, and my dad paid for any random expenses that I had which added up to about $200 a month (including gas, groceries, and the occasional night out). I'm about to graduate with about $18k in loans which is much more manageable.

/r/personalfinance Thread