Fall is upon us, and with Texas A&M right down the street, that means thousands of students are getting back into the swing of the semester. The back to school rush has not gone unnoticed, and while my roommate and I made our weekly grocery trip, it led to a discussion about shopping and saving money in college. I thought about my own experience in school, and decided to ask friends and coworkers how they made the most of their money as students. Here’s what they had to say:

* Simplify your grocery list! When I went to college, I ate on campus quite a bit. When the costs started to add up, I switched to making food in my dorm instead. I quickly found it was impractical to get lots of groceries at the store. One coworker’s solution to this was to shop for ingredients rather than dishes. The goal becomes planning as many dishes as possible that can share a small amount of ingredients, preventing waste and making it easier to carry the grocery bags.

* Investing in a slow cooker. Slow cooker recipes are a great way to get more meal for your buck. One of of my favorite meals was a delicious bean soup that I could let simmer while I studied and serve myself throughout the week.

 * Buy generic. One of my roommates had a few items for which he preferred the name brand. For everything else, he bought generic brands and saved himself quite a bit of money.

* Mystery shop! If you’re in college (or know someone who is) mystery shopping is definitely something to consider! For a student, it can be a great way to put a little cash in your pocket, and getting reimbursed for meals can be a huge help. Don’t limit yourself to restaurants, though — you can integrate grocery, retail, and even movie theater shops into your schedule and get paid for things you planned on doing anyway. Plus, it’s a great way to practice note-taking and writing skills!

* Talk to your scheduler. If you’re already shopping, then you already know shops have certain days and times for completion. Many listings ask what days and times would be best for you, so be sure to fill this out and let the scheduler know what works for you. If you’re interested in shopping when the semester’s over, let your scheduler know where you’ll be and how long you’ll be there so you can stay in the loop of what’s available near you.

* If you’re interested in shopping when the semester’s over, be sure to check out shops in your hometown! You can let your scheduler know where you’ll be and how long you’ll be there so you can stay in the loop of what’s available near you.

Whether you’re a current student or not, there are lots of little things you can do that add up to big savings. If you have any anecdotes or tips to add, let us know in the comments!