Saving On Textbooks

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I can't even begin to comprehend the amount of money that I've put into purchasing textbooks over the past four years. Seriously, it hurts to think about it. But now, heading into my fifth and last (finally) year of college, I've gotten much better at finding more affordable textbooks. When I first started school, I felt the need to walk into class with all of my books and supplies ready to go. But this was mistake number one. In one semester I purchased a 400 dollar biology book that I opened once, maybe twice, throughout the entire semester because my professor printed out notes each week for the students that outlined the chapters. After that happened, I realized I needed to be much smarter about my textbook choices. I continued to do the same amount of planning in order to be prepared for class, but I looked over all my options before simply buying the first one I saw outright. Here are my tips for finding and buying affordable textbooks throughout your college career. 

One// Wait until you've had all of your classes at least once before purchasing your books (unless they email you ahead of time telling you what you need). A lot of teachers will be honest about how much you're going to need your book. Some are willing to let you purchase older versions or can tell you where they've seen the book at its cheapest rate.

Two// Check all of your options. When I get the name of my book I like to check every avenue to see whats the smartest decision for me. I check my school bookstore, amazon, and a few local shops or online outlets to see which one has the cheapest version of the book that I need. Always buy used if you have the chance. Most places will openly tell you about any highlighting or markings that could be a distraction, but as long as there isn't too much damage then that is the smarter way to go. 

Three// See if renting is an option. After I check the buying price at each place I also check the renting price (and the sell back price on sites like amazon). Sometimes it makes more sense to rent, while other times it makes sense to just buy the book and get a little money back later. That 400 dollar book I mentioned before could only be sold back for about 60 because my school was switching versions for the next semester. That was definitely a time that renting could have been more beneficial. 

Four// See if anyone else at your school is selling the book at a cheaper rate. Sometimes students who have taken the same class as you in a previous semester will be trying to sell the book. Double check all the other options first so you don't get ripped off but a lot of them are usually just trying to get the books off their hands so they can buy ones for the new semester. 

Five// Just take your time with it. It can be a lot of work to find the best route for textbook purchasing, but it really is worth it in the long run. You will save a lot of money, or at least make a little back at the end of the semester if you just do your research and take your time. 

This semester I only plan to spend around 200 dollars for 18 credits worth of classes. I've done my research and I've planned out the cheapest ways to purchase my books so far. Prices change so keep your eye out if you decide to plan ahead of time, and always give yourself a little room for error because it isn't always in your control. 

1 comment

  1. We rent our books and it has been a huge money saver for us. It's amazing!


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