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The average cost of attending a public college is around $20,000 per year. People who attend private colleges can spend over $35,000 per year.

The good news is that there are several things that students can do to save money while in college.

Below are some money-saving tips for college students:

1. Set up a budget

The first step in saving money is to set up a budget. You should add up all of your expenses for the semester. When you add up your expenses, you want to make sure that you include books, gas, food, personal items and entertainment. After that, you want to add up all of the money that you will be getting from a job, your parents and financial aid. The final step in this process is to subtract your income from your expenses. The number that you get when you subtract your income from your expenses is that amount of money that you expect to have left at the end of the semester.

2. Rent books or buy them used

You could very easily end up spending over $600 dollars in one semester for books. That is why you should consider renting your books or buying them used. Doing either one of those things will help you save anywhere from 25-50 percent on books.

3. Cook at home or eat on campus as much as possible

Your food could be a major expense if you get into the habit of eating out every day. If you live in an apartment, you should try to cook at home as much as possible. You should eat your meals on campus as often as you can if you live in a dorm.

4. Take advantage of free entertainment

The great thing about being in college is that there are a number of free activities that you can participate in without even leaving the campus. Instead of spending money going to the mall or movies, take advantage of those on-campus activities. Not only will you save money, but you will also be able to meet other people.

5. Think before you use your credit card

A credit card is a valuable asset to have while in college. A credit card can help you establish a credit history, which will help you after you graduate from college.

Even though credit cards are very useful, they have caused a lot of college students to get into trouble. The average college student is over $3,000 in credit card debt. That might not seem like much, but it is important to remember that most college students do not have full-time jobs. You should only use your card when it is absolutely necessary. The balance on your credit card is just like a loan that eventually will have to be paid back in full.

College is challenging, and learning to save money is just one of the many hardships that students face. Fortunately, if you set up a budget, rent or buy used books, cook at home, take advantage of free entertainment and use your card sparingly, you will be able to save a lot of money.