It’s no secret that college tuition costs are going up each year. To make matters even worse, students are forced to purchase textbooks that can cost $200 or more. I had a few textbooks during my college days that I barely even opened. No it wasn’t by choice, instead my professor didn’t even end up using them.
I think one of the most frustrating things was that it seemed like every semester there would be a new edition released, which meant the edition I owned would have no resale value. You can rent or buy them, but regardless of what you do, below are some tips to help you spend a little less money on textbooks and add more money to other areas of your college budget.
Instead of paying premium prices at your schools campus bookstore, head online. Places like Amazon, Half Price Books or Barnes & Noble usually offer great deals on textbooks at the beginning of each semester. Make sure that you opt for the used editions because you can save almost 50 percent off of the new book price.
If you want to save even further, you can use sites that offer textbook coupons to further reduce your costs.
I have a couple of textbooks that I decided to hold onto once I was done with the class. Guess how many times I have opened them in the seven years since I graduated. If you guessed zero, then you are spot on. Be more sensible than I was and consider not buying any of your textbooks and just rent them.
I did a little research on Amazon for an accounting book and you can save as much as $162 just by renting a textbook compared to buying the book new. If you wanted to buy the book new it would cost you $194.43. If you instead decided to rent it for the semester, then it would only cost you $45.75. Pretty big savings, huh? Well, if you have a kindle enabled device you can rent it for just $32.86. That is a pretty big savings just by making the choice to rent instead of buy.
I used to have a group of guys who were always in most of my business school classes. We used to work together on our assignments and study for the exams. If you have friends in classes with you then you should take this a step further and share the cost of the textbook. Instead of both renting the textbook, you could share it. One of you could take it one night and the other would get it the next. Not only would you keep up on the assigned readings, but you will also have put the cost of the textbook right back in your pocket.
Most of the time professors will put a couple of copies of the class textbook in the school library. If the class has 500 people in it this would mean some serious competition for the available copies. You might want to try sending your professor an email or stopping by his office before class starts and asking him what the textbook for the class will be. This could give you a head start on your classmates and end up saving you the cost of needing to buy or rent it.
The first part of every semester is the worst financially for most college students. Your tuition bill is due, you have rent and you might be going out with friends a little more than normal right after summer break. No matter how tempting it might be, don’t pull out the student credit card. If you are unable to pay it off at the end of the month, the finance charges will just make that textbook even more expensive.
College textbooks can be a huge expense for a college student. Luckily, there are options that allow you to spend your hard earned money on things other than textbooks.
Editor’s Note: I wish I would have been smarter when buying textbooks in college. I did my best to buy used but it NEVER dawned on me to try sharing them or renting them. Saving money is a great thing and finding ways to save money while in college is even more important. Avoid the debt, be frugal, be wise!
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