How can you keep these various costs in check? A little common sense and research can go a long way, Duguay said.
On textbooks, it pays to comparison shop—especially since an individual book can cost as much as $200. Sites like Bookfinder.com let students search online for the best prices.
Renting textbooks is another option. Chegg.com and coursesmart.com are just two of many sites that allow students to rent textbooks for the duration of a class.
As for technology, students should think carefully about what they really need for school and what is a luxury, Sturtevant said. A laptop is one thing; an Xbox is another.
"If the student can be a big consumer right now, have any sort of electronic equipment and text plan and unlimited access to movies and blah blah, it's going to be really hard for a student to make an adjustment to a frugal environment in college," she said. "Having those kinds of conversations now around 'should we spend now on the latest gadget or put money in your college savings fund' can help. But it doesn't seem like there is a lot of that going on right now."
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Choosing the right data plans can also make a big difference. A slightly more expensive plan may make sense if it keeps a student from logging expensive overage charges.
As for those miscellaneous expenses like going out with friends after a big exam, Duguay recommends good, old-fashioned tracking of spending, whether in a little notebook or on a phone. A month of meticulous record keeping is ideal, she says, but two weeks can also be helpful.
"Keep track of every single penny," she said. "It is those things that they don't get bills for that they get shocked by."
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Credit card issues have more limits on how they can market to students, and that is helping many students avoid major overspending, Duguay said. Also, students may land a part time job or work–study gig to help defray costs. Even so, they may not avoid money surprises.
"For many of them, it's the first time they're having a part-time job and income," Duguay said. "Because of that, they're going to make mistakes."
—By CNBC's Kelley Holland. Follow her on Twitter@KKelleyHolland.