One of your best ways to save as a student is live at home but most university students do not want to do that. What else can a student do to save money?
First, get out of the dorms. Even if you rent a room it will probably be cheaper. Or you could get an apartment on campus, though more expensive than renting a room, you have the protections of being on campus but you can cook your own meal instead of getting a meal plan. Most of the meal plans are a rip off and most of the time students should be getting one of the smallest plans because you can have breakfast in your room most of the time as well as snacks.
Second, buy used books. Most of the time the only students that buy new books from the bookstore are the ones whose parents are footing the whole bill. To save money, go to the bookstore two weeks before class and get the ISBNs of all the books. You get get books from amazon, Barnes and Noble or even half.com. My first semester of school I spent $700 on books, my last semester I spent $300.
Also if you do plan to buy books off of amazon, go to the bottom of this blog and sign up for swagbucks. You search there, and it uses google and ask.com to search and you get points to redeem for many things, the best deal of which is $5 amazon gift cards. In the last year I made $50 of amazon gift cards just for using swagbucks vs. google or yahoo. Consider that you would be spending $600/year on books, $50 is over 8% of a savings. Stocks average between 8%-12%. Basically you could save as much as your parents have earned in their investments in a year.
Third, apply for scholarships within your department, you have a better chance of winning departmental scholarships than national scholarships and small amounts add up. Ask about them your first week into the department. I won a grant to travel to a conference to present some research I had done. If I had not asked I would not have even known about it and that got me $500, which paid for most of my food and the flight to the conference.
Fourth take the subsidized loans before the unsubsidized loans and even if you do not need the subsidized loan, get them and create an emergency fund in ING Direct or other online high yield saving. This will get you in the habit of saving and not putting things on credit cards.
Fifth, use the internet! Don't just buy the computer you see in the store, do some research. Google or swagbuck online coupon codes for anything you buy online. Buy gift cards of plastic jungle and save 4%-7% of the total cost. There are so many ways to use the internet to save, I am still learning them all. Does anyone have other ideas on how to save money using the internet?