If you live near campus, remember that many local stores will reward your patronage with a 10 percent discount, or a specially discounted student menu. But to score a great deal, you have to ask for it. Many students forget to ask, or simply feel uncomfortable requesting a discount or freebie. But stores and restaurants that benefit from the flock of students returning every fall are willing to kick back a discount if you simply mention you're a student.
In other cases, you may need an active student ID card to prove that you're a current student. Many movie theaters, museums, fitness centers, and cellphone and insurance providers also will give you a discount with a valid ID This trick could save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Additionally, students who need to buy a computer, software or data plan should seek out student discounts. Many universities contract with companies such as Verizon, AT&T and Apple so students with a proper ID can receive set discounts on specified plans and products. So take advantage of lower prices for things you need!
2. Use the library to check out books required for class.
Every university has a different policy about whether students can check out textbooks from the library for long periods of time. While you may not be able to borrow your calculus textbook for free all semester, many of the novels and paperbacks you need for English class easily can be borrowed for the few weeks you actually need them.
If your university library lacks the books you need for your required reading list, check other local library systems and take advantage of interlibrary loan services. Many local library systems pair with university libraries, so you can borrow from either system and pick up your books at the nearest location.
To ensure that you snag the books on your syllabus for free from the library, put in requests early. Remember, your fellow students will be clamoring for the same books.
3. Make the most of student fees.
Many students do not realize that they are required to pay "student activity fees" in addition to their tuition. Student fees usually cover the cost of things such as checkups at the student health center and discounted over-the-counter medications, lunches, fun activities and access to the campus gym, among other things.
Check out your school's website to make sure you're not missing out on other goodies covered by your student activity fees, such as cultural events, educational seminars and career fairs that usually include freebies and, of course, food. If you have to pay this money anyway, you might as well get some pizza lunches and school supplies out of it.
Shannyn Allan blogs at FrugalBeautiful.com with weekly posts on finance, fitness and fashion that help you live a beautiful, frugal life. Follow her on Twitter at @FrugalBeautiful.