Flickr user Logan Ingalls

Saving money in college is a necessity, so it makes sense to try and cut down on expenses wherever you can. Renting or buying used textbooks is one great way to save your wallet.

Brand New Textbooks are Expensive

Buying a whole new set of college textbooks every year can be unbelievably expensive. In fact it is the largest college expense after tuition, housing, and boarding.

Renting Textbooks

Renting the textbooks you need is a much better alternative to buying brand new considering these are not really books that you want to keep after you have completed the semester. When you rent, you save a whole lot of money and you needn’t worry about the condition of the books either. The text books that are rented out are usually in pretty good condition.

Buying Used

Sometimes however, renting may not be option. Not all colleges or bookstores have renting available. The next best thing is to buy a used book. Not only are they cheaper than buying brand new, it comes with the added bonus of past students having highlighted important sections or jotting down helpful notes in the margins.

Wait to Buy

Your course will publish what books you’ll be using weeks, if not a few months, in advance to school starting. However, before you pre-order those texts, wait until you’ve had class and a chance to view the syllabus. Sometimes professors won’t even use the books they assigned. Sometimes they’ll only use it for one or two chapters–in which case it might be better to borrow from a friend or find a copy online.

Digital Textbooks

Nowadays many books are scanned and available online. It’s convenient to have on your laptop, can save space in your backpack, and sometimes (not always) is cheaper than a hard copy. Though the drawback to digital is that you can’t sell it back at the end of the semester.

Sell Back Your Textbooks

At the end of the semester, when you’re finished with your texts, you can usually sell back books–either to the store you bought them from, or a campus buy-back store. You won’t get full price, or even half price, but it’s something. And as long as you don’t soak your book in coffee or rip out whole chapters, they’ll usually take it back if there’s minor damage or writing in it.

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