college student

Every parent dreads the day that they have to send their baby to college. It is a moment where you simultaneously feel proud, excited and sad. Where you also hope you don’t embarrass your child by crying.  But more than the emotional side, there is a lot to think about. College is expensive. It’s more than just the tuition and fees. You are not going to send your little one off without all the materials that they need and that can hurt financially as well. So how can you make sure that they have what they need to succeed and have fun without spending too much? Here are several money saving tips before your child heads off to college.

Coupons can help save money

Coupons are one of the most underrated things when it come to school supplies. Big stores have sales right before back to school, so take advantage of them. Or even better, buy items at the end of the school year when everything is 75% off. It’s not like pens or other school supplies expire.

Buy used

College students are not picky. If they have a television that works then who cares that it came from some family in the neighborhood? Stop by some yard sales and pick up the extra extension cords or some dorm room decorations. You may even end up finding a mini fridge or an old bike that would be perfect to make him feel at home and keep those left overs that you send him back with after every break. What’s perfect is when you know anyone who is graduating from college. So often recent college graduates figure that they are now adults and really need some new things.  They sell or even give away their old furniture for extraordinarily low amounts. You can find a couch that you know fits in the dorm because it’s already been there.


Communication is a key part of life in general. But when it comes to moving in with roommates this can save you money and hassle. You bring that mini fridge from the garage sale and his roommate can bring the printer. More roommates means more people to divide the cost between. This way you don’t end up with doubles or simply too much to fit in the place. It’s also helpful to reach out to students from the school or ask your soon-to-be college student to contact their professors or advisor. Many times you’ll learn that while most schools require something your school with provide it. Teachers understand the difficult financial aspect of college and these days a lot of them allow students to buy used or online textbooks (which are much cheaper) or they might not require it at all. Even if they do, there is a good chance as a freshman that older students will lend you their old textbooks for the semester.

Consider repurposing

There will always be something that you need to buy, but that doesn’t mean everything. Reuse the binders from last year. Bring the pens and pencils and other school supplies that were used in high school. Bring the sheets or covers that are hiding in the closet. If you can save twenty dollars here and there it will add up quickly and there will be more to spend on more important things like a working computer or textbooks. Students will find more often than not, that they have more than they really need. So if it is questionable whether or not it’s needed, just wait. The beauty of the internet is that if you find out that you need it later you can order it and receive it the next day. Unfortunately, this does not tend to work as well the other way around. It you buy a television and find out that the roommate has one or it’s not allowed, there is a good chance they will not take it back and you will have wasted your hard earned money.

Learn what the school offers

There are some standards that every college offers. Renting books and selling them back to the school, for example. This alone is a great way to save money. Some schools, however, have more programs than others. For example, numerous schools offer free transportation into the city and even around campus, meaning there is no need to have a car on campus and pay extra money for a parking pass. Other schools will have free tutoring session. One cost saving benefit that most people don’t think about  is the school’s IT department. Many schools will allow students to check out non-essential materials such as: headphones, cameras, radios/speaker systems and even televisions. Depending on the school’s extra programs students can save money and have to buy less.

No parent wants to send their kid off, but it will happen eventually and it is better to send them off with all that they need. However, this does not need to break you financially. Be sure to keep these tips to help save you some money when your child heads off to college.

For additional money saving tips, watch our video series.