August 20, 2014
I was sent this by consumer expert Andrea Woroch. Andrea is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. For more information click here.
Among the biggest and most important purchases college students make, textbooks top the list of pricey needs. In fact, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found the average student spends as much as $1,200 each year on books and supplies -- with some books costing as much as $300 alone. This expense has become so great that 65 percent of students opt against buying a textbook, even though they fear their grades will be in jeopardy.
There's no reason to risk your GPA to save your budget. Before you head to the campus bookstore, consider these five ways to saving on textbooks.
1. Buy Used
Publishing new editions of textbooks every four years (or so) works to devalue used textbooks, as students fear buying anything but the newest editions. Though used textbooks in the current edition go for 50 to 60 percent off, the older edition can save you even more.
Most updates are minimal but speak with your professor before buying. Then, check outHalf.com, Textbooks.com and eCampus.com for used book options.
2. Rent Textbooks
Many students look forward to selling their books at the end of the semester, but the payout is paltry compared to what was paid for the original book. To avoid this predicament, rent textbooks through sites like Chegg and CampusBookRentals.com and save over 80 percent. If you go this route, be sure to keep the book in pristine condition so you're not charged any fees when you return it.
3. Grab a Coupon
Whether you're renting or buying a new textbook, don't forget to look for printable coupons and online coupon codes for savings. Sites like CouponSherpa.com offer 10-percent off at Half Price Books, and FreeShipping.org has codes for free delivery from Textbooks.com. Even a general search for "textbook coupons" can yield savings, so do your research!
4. Download What Your Need
Since few classes require students to read every page of a textbook, you can get away with downloading only the necessary portion from such websites as CourseSmart.com and Open Courseware from MIT. You can also find hundreds of free-domain books for use on e-readers through the Project Gutenberg website.
5. Avoid Bundles
Bundling high-margin multimedia CD-ROMs with texts tends to push up the price of new books. However, federal regulations have restricted this practice so you have the option of buying what you need and nothing more. Check with your professor or teaching assistant before you buy the whole bundle since buying the textbook alone is typically cheaper.