Back-to-School Savings Tips for College Students



College can be an expensive investment, one with long-term benefits based on your goals. 

Khan Academy has an excellent breakdown of the costs and benefits of attending college. To those enrolling in a post-secondary school, it's important to find ways to stretch your dollar without sacrificing classroom performance. Here's some suggestions to help you save money as you prepare to head back to campus!


1) College Textbooks

pay for text books for college

Sometimes, you'll have no choice but to spend money on required course textbooks because of access codes (one-time-use-only passwords that let students access homework and supplementary materials). However, not all textbooks have access codes, and some readings are just supplementary, so you can pull these cost-saving moves to bring the cost down:




  • Purchase Older Editions - Go one edition lower. It's usually cheaper, but isn't much different from the current one. Of course, look up the differences first before buying an older edition.

  • Look for Second-hand/Used Copies - Approach students of the same course from previous semesters. Many of them will want to resell their textbooks to get a portion of their money back.

  • Rent Your Textbook - Check out various rental options offered by Amazon, Chegg, Campus Books, Textbook Rush, etc. You can save as much as 90% when you rent. Besides, everyone idealistically thinks they'll reference their college textbooks later on in life. Chances are you won't, so look to use them only for the duration of the class!

  • Purchase Digital Versions - Buy a digital copy of your textbook, which is often cheaper than its hardbound counterpart. You can oftentimes upload them to your own existing e-reader for more convenient reading.

  • Share With a Classmate - Split the cost of a textbook with a friend and share it between the two of you. After you're both done with the textbook, you can resell it to other students.

  • Check the School library - Don't forget the good old library on campus. Sometimes course textbooks are available for lending. Borrow books instead of buying whenever possible! Just be mindful to return them on time to avoid overdue fines.


2) Research Materials

research college papersThe life of a college student is full of research. Sadly, many academic studies are behind a paywall, forcing you to shell out a considerable amount of money to gain access.

The good news is that just as many academic journals from all over the world can be accessed for free thanks to your campus library. This means you don't necessarily have to pay each time you want to read a paper -- not when there are alternatives to explore such as:



  • CORE - An aggregator of open access content across the globe, Connecting Repositories (CORE) has the largest collection of academic journals.

  • DOAJ - The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a community-curated online directory of peer-reviewed journals.

  • PLOS - The Public Library of Science (PLOS) offers peer-reviewed articles that can be read, used, and distributed for free.

  • SSRN - Curating papers from the social science community, the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) hosts hundreds of thousands of abstracts and full-text papers.


3) Software Discounts & Freeware

discount software for college studentsAs a college student, you have access to many software discounts that will help you excel in your studies. Some of the most popular education-related platforms offer discounts or limited feature access such as:

  • Evernote - For taking down notes, Evernote is helpful, so the 50% discount on Evernote Premium for students is a good deal to avail.

  • Adobe - If you need to produce visual output for your courses, you can also get Adobe Creative Cloud for 60% off, giving you access to Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Acrobat, and other Adobe apps.

  • Ableton- Here's one for music production, too. Ableton applies  40% discount on Live 10 Standard or Suite for students who meet their eligibility criteria.

  • Microsoft - Aside from discounts, freebies are also available. You can get Microsoft Office 365 Education for free if your school is not already providing it. The bundle includes popular tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams.


By maximizing all the resources within your fingertips, you'll save money as a college student. But if you need more funds to pursue your studies, you can always turn to dreamOway, a social crowdfunding app that connects students like you with donors who are willing to provide the financial support to help you achieve your education dreams. Everyone has a story. Tell yours!

Download the app today on iOS or the Google Play Store.



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