Here are 4 ways college students can fight inflation this semester

BOSTON -- Botai Zhou is going into his fourth year at Boston University. He said he notices the impact of inflation the most when he shops for food.

“It used to be around $60 a week for groceries. Now it’s like $70 or $80. I definitely feel [inflation] quite strong just doing grocery [shopping],” Zhou said.

“A lot of people don’t think about the impact of inflation, especially on college students,” said Jennifer Finetti, Director of Outreach and Advocacy for Scholarship Owl. “Unfortunately, families who budgeted for college may have budgeted prior to this [rise in] inflation.”

Finetti offered four steps for students to save this semester:


Don’t buy your textbooks until after the first day of class. Finetti said colleges today are aware of the exorbitant cost for books. Many instructors will tell students on the first day which textbooks are truly required and which ones are optional.

“This has been going on for several years, where professors are encouraged to rely less on textbooks and to use more supplemental materials, maybe online resources. In many cases, students get to the first day of school and a lot of the books they purchased are not even required,” Finetti said.


“If you do need books, you can rent them. You can also do e-Books, which is the least expensive option,” Finetti said.

Amazon has a section dedicated to buying or renting cheap textbooks. Websites like Chegg and CheapestTextBooks offer similar deals and discounts on rentals and e-Books.


Take advantage of public transportation and avoid costly expenses like gas, parking and insurance. The MBTA offers an 11 percent discount for college students. Certain prepaid passes come with unlimited travel by bus, subway, Commuter Rail and ferry for the whole semester.

“This is a great way to avoid high gas costs and auto insurance by not having a car on campus,” Finetti said.

Click here for the MBTA’s list of colleges and universities that offer semester passes.


If you’re paying for the on-campus meal plan, don’t skip any meals. Going to restaurants is expensive, so students should limit how often they go out to eat.

“Students should be trying to utilize that meal plan as much as they can. Avoid eating outside of that meal plan,” Finetti said. “The largest increase is the price of gas and food. Just like anyone else, those costs are going to impact all of them.”

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