Buying your college textbooks is always such a pain right at the start of every semester. Luckily, here is a list of different possible ways to help save yourself some serious money on those books!
Check the Syllabus
First and foremost, reading the syllabus is so crucial before even THINKING about purchasing the textbook for your class. Some professors don’t require the textbook, or even post the required readings online, so you should check this out before buying the book. Also, even when the syllabus lists a textbook, sometimes professors explain in the first class meeting that they don’t actually see the book as a requirement but simply listed it on the syllabus because of the university’s guidelines. This is why I NEVER buy a book before attending the first class session.
That is one of my most important recommendations, because it has saved me so many times! This obviously won’t work if the professor requires reading before the first class session, but that would prove that the textbook is unfortunately required anyway. However, I cannot stress this enough… CHECK THE SYLLABUS!
Utilize Facebook Groups/Pages
One source that I happened to be able to find many of my required textbooks in on Facebook’s Marketplace feature. For my university, California State University Long Beach, I am a member of the CSULB Book Exchange Facebook group. Here, students post different textbooks for sale, making it really easy to find books for specific classes. Also, it’s a great opportunity to make a little bit of extra cash if you happen to have textbooks of your own that you can post and sell on the page.
If your university does not have a page like this, start your own! Facebook makes it very easy to create new groups and pages, so it might be something worth looking into before the next semester!
RENT Never Buy
I suppose this can be more of a personal preference of whether or not you enjoy having your own copy of your books, but in terms of having money on your textbooks, I most definitely recommend renting your books rather than buying them. However, if you find that your required textbook is only available to buy, not rent, then at least you have the potential of selling your book, on something such as a Facebook page, once you are finished with the semester.
Websites, like chegg.com, make it really easy to send your book back once your rental expires, so it is something that is extremely worthwhile in terms of budgeting at the start of your next semester. However, whether you are renting a textbook or buying a copy, there is no need to waste the money on a new textbook when used copies often appear untouched. Plus, when buying a used textbook, you have the chance of scoring a book with notes in the margin, which is a major plus!
Price Check Different Websites
Although your university might make it easy to search and purchase books directly through your campus bookstore, this does not mean that this is the best way to go about buying your books. Often times, books are offered at much cheaper prices on websites like amazon.com and chegg.com. This being said, definitely weigh out all the different options prior to hitting the bookstore.
I like to make the bookstore my last option, simply because the prices there tend to always be higher than other outlets. Who knows, maybe you can complete all your textbook shopping with one Amazon order!
Share Books with Friends
This tip goes without saying, splitting the cost of a book with a friend and sharing it throughout the semester is an amazing way to save yourself money! Why waste the money on a book of your own when you are likely going to be working as a group when using it most of the time anyways!
Save your money, save a tree, and share your books! At the end of the semester, you can try to sell back the book to other friends needing it and split the profits! This is a really simple way to automatically split your textbook costs in half!
Find an Online Copy of the Book
Something I started doing recently was purchasing online copies of my textbooks, rather than trying to find physical copies. Most of the time, buying a PDF version of a book is much cheaper, and more convenient, than buying an actual book.
I understand that there is still a major group of people that prefer the physicality of a real book, but that is something that I feel like is much less important than saving your money. This being said, there is a chance that you can find a PDF copy of your book for FREE, so it is definitely something worth looking into!
As you approach your next semester, I hope you find these these tips to be helpful in saving yourself some serious money on your college textbooks. If you have any secrets of your own, please comment them down below, because we are all in this together!
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