Don’t Break the Bank: Save Money on Your Textbooks

It’s almost that time of the year! In about a month or so, everyone will be lugging their boxes and suitcases  to their respective campuses. You more than likely have thought about the things you want to bring with you, and you probably have even made a list that is about ten pages long. When you realized you couldn’t move your whole house into your dorm room, you shortened that list to two pages. Either way, you’re all set to go to college. The only thing left to worry about are the textbooks you’re going to need for your courses.

Compared to finding a store that hasn’t yet sold out of Twin XL sheets, buying books might seem like the lesser of two evils. I mean, they’re just books, right? Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought when I waited until the last minute to buy the ones I needed for my classes freshman year. To make a long story short: I ended up blowing more than $600 on textbooks when I really didn’t have to spend that much.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. And don’t, I repeat DON’T, feel that the only place you can get your textbooks from is your campus bookstore. I’m not saying that you should avoid it like the plague because, though expensive, it may be your only option.

I am, however, here to tell you that you have quite a few options to consider before you resort to purchasing your books from the bookstore.

Here are alternative options for purchasing your college textbooks:

1. Chegg.com

Chegg is a website where you can rent and buy textbooks in both physical and digital format. Buying books off of this site will nine times out of ten save you a lot more money than buying from the bookstore. The same goes for renting, which is the option I highly recommend you consider. Chegg allows you to keep the book for the entire semester and they also provide you a prepaid shipping label to put on your box when you return your book, which means you don’t have to pay to ship your books back to Chegg. If you want to know more about Chegg, check out the website and see if it’s a site you’d feel comfortable buying from.

2. Amazon

One of the things I love most about Amazon is the fact that they give you a variety of price options for books. Don’t want to buy your textbook new because it’s about $200? No problem! Check out the used book prices. Whether it’s a hardcover or a paperback also factors into the price. Sift through the different prices, review each seller, compare ratings from their customers, and see which one has the best deal for you.  You might even find your $80  history book for a penny!

3. Campus Facebook Page

At the end of each semester or before the start of a new one, people will be trying to get some extra cash. One way people earn extra cash is by selling their textbooks. They may even post about it on Facebook, so check out any comments people leave on the college campus page to see if anyone is selling a book that you need. Better yet, post the list of books that you’re looking to buy and someone might be able to offer a good deal. You never know!

4. Book Loaning Program

If you can’t afford to buy textbooks, see if your campus has a book loaning program for students in great financial need. Find out what the process is to join and go about taking the necessary steps to getting involved with the program early. Programs like this may or may not have a limit to how many students they can accept, so don’t wait until the last minute to sign up!

5. Library

The campus library has a lot of books, including the ones you need for your classes. If you’re waiting for your books to arrive to your campus or if you can’t afford to buy books at that moment, check to see if the library has the books that you need. Chances are that the library will have them, but you have to be quick! The downside to relying on the library is that there may only be a few copies of a particular book and other students might be in the same bind as you are, which means they are more than likely going to be using library books to help them stay on top of their coursework as well.

There are a handful of sites like Chegg and Amazon that will allow you to save money on your textbooks. If you want to buy from them instead of using any of the options I’ve listed  above, make sure you do your research on the site before giving them your credit card information. See if you can find reviews about the site’s customer service because not all websites are legit or are reliable, so be careful.

Also, to be on the safe side, copy and paste the ISBN numbers of the books you need into the search bar of the site you decide to buy from instead of using the title. Textbooks tend to be offered in many editions because the companies who write them may update their books on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, each edition will more than likely have the same name. Using the ISBN number will guarantee that you’re buying the correct books for your classes.

I hope this article was of help to you! Remember, you don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet. Look for the deals that work for you. They’re out there, you just have to find them!

Image: mcconnors