More than three quarters (80%) of US college students describe themselves as more cost-conscious this year than a year ago, according to a recent survey by Fluent.

The majority (53%) also report having to meet higher expenses this year with less money. A quarter (26%) say they have less money this year to work with but their expenses stayed the same. Only 19% feel they have the money to meet expenses, and just 2% say they have significantly more money to spend this year than last.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on a survey of more than 1,000 US college students preparing to return to school.

Income and Expenses

  • Just 45% of students said they met or exceeded their summer job earnings goal.
  • 34% said they fell short of their summer job earnings goals, and the remaining 21% said they had no set financial goals for the summer. 
  • Most college millennials (54%) plan to rely on off-campus work during the school year to meet expenses. 

What They Spend On

The five top "must haves" that college millennials plan on purchasing are...

  1. Textbooks
  2. Transportation
  3. Clothing
  4. Mobile
  5. Dorm/apartment furnishings

When They Spend 

  • Not surprisingly, many college students (37%) said they begin and end their back-to-school shopping in August. 
  • However, nearly an equal number (36%) said they have no fixed start or end date to their shopping and are "always stocking up."

For more findings from the survey, check out the infographic below.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 1,010 US college students conducted between July 29 and August 6, 2013.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji