Students can save money during the college search by:
Doing virtual tours rather than in person. Save the road trip for once you are admitted. Schools will understand if finances prevent you from visiting sooner.
Figure out what schools you want to send your test scores to, BEFORE the test, so you don't waste the free submission opportunity available only on the test date.
Use the internet, library, guidance office resources; rather than buying guidebooks.
Some schools will waive application fees, it never hurts to ask.
When you do start traveling, see if you can stay on campus, with a relative, or other low cost housing option.
Eating in the cafeteria can be enlightening and cheaper too.