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Don’t Be Too Cool for School

And other tips to help college students, parents save

The Government Accountability Office recently found that textbooks can represent up to 25 percent of the tuition and fees at four-year public institutions and as much as 75 percent of the tuition and fees at two-year colleges. With $306 billion spent annually on college students, parents need all the tips they can get for saving some dollars. Here are 10.

Ignore the little things

Don’t stress out about paper, pens, and the like. Many parents stock up on a ton of
these things and the kids never use them. While your student may pay more for these things
once they get to school, wait until they know exactly what they want and need.

Timing is Everything

Back to school is one of the largest retail seasons of the year and stores will offer huge
discounts for common products.

Student Discounts

Many stores and restaurants offer discounts for students, so make sure your student takes advantage of them. Student discounts are great for computers and electronics.

Research Textbook Costs

You can often save 50 percent or more by buying your textbooks online. Use a price comparison
engine to find the best possible prices.

Browse Craigslist

You’ll find a ton of cheap and great secondhand products.

Download some sweet iPhone Apps

There are a ton of great apps for college students. Use rate my professor to sign up for good
classes, Evernote for easy notes during class, or Pageonce Personal Finance to manage your

Search Your Cupboards

Odds are, you’ve already got a lot of what you need somewhere in your house. Take some
extra time and go search for it. You’ll be shocked with what pops up!

Backpack Attack

There are a ton of super expensive backpacks out there. Believe it or not, some of them are
actually worth it. Several people go for the cheap backpacks that are not only uncomfortable,
but must be replaced after a year or two. Buy a good backpack and it will last you well
beyond college and you can even juice up your backpack by finding one with a place for a laptop.

Don’t Overspend on Calculators

Many students spend $100 or more on calculators that solve equations for them. The
fact is that your kid is going to school to learn and he should be solving those equations. Save $50 or mor by purchasing a regular calculator and force your kids to actually learn.

Don’t Be Cool

You don’t need expensive brand names to be cool. Buy a quality but less popular brand and you’ll
feel cool knowing you saved a ton.

Simkin is CEO of SwoopThat, a service built by students for students with the goal of saving students time and money when purchasing textbooks. The site’s proprietary algorithms help students identify the cheapest places to buy all their books collectively, rather than one at a time.

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