How to save with college costs on the rise

(ARA) – With the cost of food, fashion and simply living steeply on the rise in the U.S., it is no surprise that college tuition costs are also greatly increasing from year to year.

According to the College Board, tuition for the 2010-2011 school year increased on average by 4.5 percent at private colleges, and 7.9 percent at public universities. Historically, the annual increase at public universities has averaged approximately 6 percent, which is still higher on average than increases in personal income per year.

Despite financial aid, with college tuition steadily on the rise, many families are struggling to pay for other costs associated with going to college including buying textbooks, school supplies, clothing and paying for housing and meals.

Here are some simple ways your family can save money while still getting everything you need for going back to college:

* Don’t double up: Call your roommates and coordinate who is bringing what. No sense splurging on a microwave if your roommate is already planning to bring one.

* Smaller is better: Buying in bulk may seem like a good idea, but food can go bad, storage is limited, and it’s easy for bulk items to go to waste. Buy only what you need when you need it, and if you want more, go back for it later.

* ‘Tis the season: When packing for college, buy only the clothing that you will need for fall; like sweaters, jeans and a light jacket. Unless you live in a place where winters are especially chilly, don’t purchase a heavy coat until the next season to save money and save closet space.

* From trash to treasure: For furniture and items like lamps, desks and bedside tables, shop at garage sales. Prices are cheaper to begin with since the items are used, and you can negotiate.

Now when students and their families stock up on everything from school supplies to toiletries, they can also restock their wardrobes. For one-stop budget-conscious shopping , most college campuses feature at least one mass retailer within a 10-mile radius, from Walmart, Kmart and Kohl’s to Bed Bath and Beyond and Ikea.

“People may not think of Walmart as a denim destination, but they carry our line of stylish, high-quality jeans for men, women and kids in a variety of popular fits like the slim straight, skinny and bootcut,” says Jenifer DeSofi, director of men’s and boys’ merchandising for the Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. brand. “All our jeans are available for under $30 to answer the needs of the value-minded consumer.”

You don’t need a college degree for smart savings – just do a bit of creative shopping and you’ll have more funds available for tuition. Visit for more information.