Purchasing every textbook you need for class can take a big bite out of your budget. We’re talking huge amounts here: According to the National Association of College Stores, the average college student spends upward of $80 on each new textbook and can sometimes drop as much as $175 on one volume.
No worries though; you can get your hands on all the books you need for class while also keeping your budget intact!
1. Skip the college bookstore
If you’re looking for an overpriced place to pick up your textbooks, be sure to hit the on-campus bookstore. Otherwise, stay as far away as possible. You’ll be paying through the nose just for the convenience of getting your books on campus.
2. Shop for used books online
Anything new will always cost more, and unless you’re shopping for a math book with specific page numbers and examples, you can usually get away with an older, used edition of the textbook you need for class. Shop online for the best prices on the books you need, using popular platforms like Amazon, eBay, book.ly and Chegg to get the hottest deal.
If you only need to use a textbook for a short amount of time, or you know you’re going to toss it after the course is over, look into renting instead of buying the book. You can save up to 90 percent off the cost of a new textbook this way, and 50 percent off what you’d pay if you’d purchase it used. Check out sites like Textbooks.com and CampusBooks.com to get started.
Are you and your roomie taking the same course? Why not buy one textbook and split the cost? This arrangement can work well if your prof doesn’t ask you to bring the textbook to class and you only need to occasionally reference it for homework and supplemental reading.
5. Go digital
If you have an e-reader, you can save a tidy sum by choosing to download your textbooks in ebook format. You’ll find ebooks available for many works of fiction, historical texts or essays you might need for class. Just make sure the ebook you choose is easy to navigate or you might wind up regretting the purchase.
6. Hit the library
Before spending a penny on textbooks, check out the school library to see what they have in stock. You might be pleasantly surprised at the broad selection of books available for students, especially works of fiction and non-fiction for liberal arts classes. Don’t blow your budget on textbooks! Use our hacks to save a bundle on the books you need for college.