"For back-to-school lunches, I've compared the price of a turkey sandwich at the deli, which came to $7.13, but when I bought the ingredients at the grocery store (multigrain bread, turkey, cheddar cheese and mustard) and after a sale and a few coupons, the total came to $1.93 - that's a 73% savings," Pavini adds. "Food is one area where you have some control over your budget - it's not like your rent or tuition."
Easier said than done (or "made" in the case of a sandwich), but really, not that difficult to do or make in the grander scheme of things.
9. The best time to buy is...always changing
With some students already back in class and other students heading back to school in a matter of days, it's time to strategically plan your purchases and stock up on what's on sale now.
"Grocery items like boxed juices are on sale time of the year, so stock up on these items," suggests Pavini.It's also important to check the store circulars each week and stay on top of when the deals hit the shelves. "During the last part of August and the beginning of September, common back-to-school items tend to go out of stock," Pavini warns. When you see a sale for an item you need, jump at the opportunity, otherwise someone else will. 10. Ask for a sale
If an item you're eyeing isn't on sale, don't give up and buy the item at full price. "Find out if there will be an upcoming sale by asking the store manager. There's nothing more maddening than buying something and then a week later it goes on sale," adds Pavini. Pavini says some managers know the ads that will be coming out in advanced, and it's one of those questions that are worth asking. And keep in mind tips two through four from this list: rain checks, receipts and price matching. These days, the sale you missed is often just the one you need to complain about missing gently, and your purchase price will be adjusted.