When you finally get to start your college career, in a lot of ways you’re striking out on your own for the very first time. The initial taste in independence can be a liberating one, but it’s important to avoid the rookie mistake of heading off to college, where you promptly waste the majority of your money on nonessential items and activities. Even if you’re not the irresponsible type, it can still be tough to keep track of all your cash when you get to college and start realizing you’ve got to pay for things you didn’t think of before. Learning the right habits early on can make your four years of higher education pass without any serious strain or stress, and maybe even see you coming out on the other side with a nice bit of savings that you’ve managed to stockpile.

First and foremost, run out and buy a membership at a bulk grocery store. Find the nearest Costco and you’ll have found your new best friend. Places like this sell everything from fruits, vegetables, and meats to vitamins and liquor. Almost anything and everything you might need, only more of it and for cheaper. Buying in bulk saves you a ton of money, and joining a club like Costco will help you be able to stock up about once a month and not have to worry about grocery trips nearly as often.

Another way to get your college career off to a good start is to investigate all the services your campus offers. If you’ve ever wondered where all that tuition money goes, just take a look around you. Join the gym. Take a swimming class. Use the exercise equipment or lap pool on your own time. There are also health services, counseling options, and a great deal of other things that can help you truly make the most out of your life. You’re paying for them anyway, so it’s best to make the most out of them and save yourself some money wherever you can.

Buying your textbooks secondhand is another great way to go. In fact, if you can avoid soliciting your university’s bookstore altogether, you might very well be able to make the most out of your textbook situation throughout college. It may seem like a counterintuitive thing to suggest, but buying books new — and even used — from a university bookstore often means dealing with insane prices. If you can find a used bookstore around town (most cities with universities in them have a few scattered here and there), or order books online you’ll be able to save a ton of money where it really counts. Ebooks are another great option for saving money. What’s more is that going paperless helps reduce your ecological impact, as well as the number of things you’ll have to carry each day.

Saving money in college is easier than it might look, whether you’re working on an MHA program, or simply getting GE credits out of the way while you decide on your major. Whatever the case, saving money is simple enough with the right strategies.