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Cutting Back: How to Keep College Costs in Check

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By Claudia Buck

—Use your ID: Not the fake one, but your student card that can qualify for discounts at retailers, theaters, museums and other venues. Many businesses in college towns cater to students by offering discounted deals. It never hurts to ask.

—Cheap books: The cost of new textbooks can demolish any budget. Instead of that new $175 chemistry book, get used textbooks. There are dozens of options, from the campus bookstore or bulletin boards to online sites like Chegg.com, Textbooks.com or Amazon.com. Use a comparison site, like DirectTextbook.com. Be sure you’re looking up the exact edition and ISBN of the required book. Also be aware of shipping charges.

—Don’t forget “free”: When it comes to entertainment, check out free concerts, films, club sports, etc. offered on campus. Join campus groups or clubs; many have no-cost activities and events, often with food. Rather than eating out every weekend, do at-home dinner parties with friends.

—Use your summers: Take some community college classes — for cheap — that will transfer to your university for credit. Some students cobble together enough units to shave off a semester.

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