Ah, college! Living on no money and eating ramen noodles defines many college students’ time on campus. Why are college kids so darn poor? Because the cost of textbooks is roughly equivalent to buying a mansion. Sticker shock is common when shopping for textbooks, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several ways to save money on your books so that you have some cash left for the important things. Like eating. Check out these easy ways to get your books without going broke and college will be that much better.
1. Ask the Bookstore Where They Keep the Used Textbooks
At the end of the semester, most colleges will buy your textbooks back from you. Granted, you’ll get about a nickel for a book that cost close to $100, but those used books are then sold at a reduced price. Often, they are grouped with the new books, but you might have to ask if you can’t find them. This can save you hundreds of dollars every semester.
2. Check Amazon for Really Cheap Prices
Amazon sells virtually any book ever published. They might not have a copy of the one you need, but it’s worth checking. Often you can get a big old textbook for just a few bucks. Not only is that great news, but Amazon will also help you sell off your old textbooks so you can put a few extra dollars in your pocket when you need it the most.
3. Co-Op Books with Classmates in the Same Major as You
Say you have a friend who is majoring in psychology, just like you are. Perhaps you have several of the same classes. You could divide the book list and each purchase a couple and then share them. This allows you to have access to study materials without having to shell out the big bucks. And hey, it gives you a great reason to study at the local pub together!
4. Check the Local Bookstore in Your Town
When I was in college, there was a nearby bookstore that carried many of the textbooks that the campus bookstore had on hand. But they were sold at significantly lower prices. I always checked there before I resigned myself to spending a month’s pay at the university bookstore. If you get your book list ahead of time, local bookstores can order them for you at a lower cost.
5. Make a Trip to the Campus Library
If you have a class where you only use the book occasionally, you are much better off checking it out from the campus library. You usually get to keep it for a couple weeks, and can renew it if no one else wants the book. This way you can get the info you need without having to buy the book. Don’t tell anyone where you got this little tidbit, but feel free to copy all the stuff you need. That only costs a few dollars.
6. Look for a Place That Rents College Textbooks
There’s definitely a market for this these days. There are companies in many college towns that will rent you textbooks. For a much smaller fee you can use the books you need without having to make an investment to own them. When you’re done, return the book and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of selling it back to the bookstore.
7. Buy Your Textbooks in E-book Format and Read Them on Your Tablet
Many college kids carry tablets and you can purchase the e-book version of your textbooks and simply download it to your tablet. This eliminates the need to carry a ton of books around all the time and saves you some dough.
How do you save money in college? I hope these tips save you a load of cash over your next four years. Spread the news! Which of these ideas will you try?