I've been there and I understand: college costs an arm and a leg. Hopefully, you've got a plan for tuition and living expenses, whether that's loans or scholarships or a little help from the family. I don't have a whole lot of information to offer you in that vein, other than it's easiest if you have a support system or a thought out plan for what kind of a college investment you can handle. When it comes to discretionary finances, "spending money" that is, I fortunately have a little post-grad wisdom to share with you, and they're a little more creative than your standard "eat only ramen" and "do your laundry in the sink". Read on to hear what this post-grad did (and what I wish I'd have known) when I was trying to finance my way through school.
Get those college discounts: Especially in college towns, lots of businesses offer discounts if you can present your student ID. I used to get things like movie tickets, Amazon memberships, and Chipotle soft drinks for lower prices, and all it cost me was the dignity of revealing that terrible picture from my freshman orientation that was printed on my student ID. There's no shame in asking, and all discounts make a difference. 5% off all food purchases at Kroger might not sound like a lot when you're stopping in for milk and Goldfish crackers, but after a year of grocery shopping, it adds up. Here's a good list of tons of stores and businesses that offer student discounts.
The cost of college is intimidating, especially for those of us who have never really had to save and budget before. However, if you're smart with your money and put a little effort into making good choices about how to spend it, you shouldn't have to completely sacrifice your social life or a reasonable impulse buy. Then, if something really big comes up (for instance, my laptop charger once broke before I had a project due and it cost me $50 to overnight one on Amazon), you've got something to fall back on if you can't ask someone to come to the rescue financially.
Do you have any other tips for saving money in college? If you've tried any of these money-saving methods, have they worked for you? Let us all know in the comments below!