I have been a college student for about six years, and I'm so excited to graduate, but I have loved my whole entire college experience and I know I am going to miss it. I've been lucky to be able to go through college without accruing any debt by way of student loans, credit cards, car loans etc. This is due to the generosity of my father, my choice to avoid debt at all costs even when it seems like the only way to keep going, working at least part time for the entirety of my college career, learning to be super frugal, and taking advantage of federal grants. I understand that not everyone has the exact same options that I had available, but there are lots of different ways to get financially prepared for college if you know where to look.
I am going to begin a series today to share the things I learned along the way that can help you save a boat load of money and get into hopefully no debt or as little student debt as possible to get yourself to the finish line. My first subject is TEXTBOOKS: not buying them.
You do not need to buy your textbooks. This is a huge money saving breakthrough if you didn't already know this! The average college student in the U.S. pays $300 for books each semester. After four years of school that is a whopping $2500. A few years ago, I decided that I had had enough. The textbook industry exploits starving college students by coming out with a new edition of their textbook every two or three years, making it so that you cannot buy used copies from previous years and must pay full price, or almost full price since it will still be pretty new even if it is secondhand. So this is how I do it.
When you find out what books you will need for the semester, find out if the school library has them on reserve. Having books on reserve means that the library has at least one copy that you can check out for a couple hours at a time but it can't leave the library. This allows you to read what you need to read, do your homework and return it so someone else can do the same. If this is the case, and your professor doesn't require you to bring the book with you to class, you are home free. Buying that textbook is not necessary. I like it because it forces me to do homework in the library instead of at home, where there are many distractions. I get things done much more efficiently.
If you do need the book, you still have options. Rent your textbooks! CampusBookRentals.com is my personal favorite place to rent textbooks. They offer free shipping to you and back to them after the semester ends, and their prices are great! I went to my university bookstore to find an example of the price difference for you:
Psychology in Every Day Life by David G. Myers
at my bookstore New: $92.00 - Used: $69.00 -
Rented from Campus Book Rentals: $32.27
And one more thing. If you are renting the book, you can still save even more! Make a friend on the first week of class and ask them if they already have their book yet. If they don't, you can propose that you split the cost of renting a book and share it for the semester. This works best when you know that your book buddy is responsible and serious about coming to class. (Maybe someone you have had classes with before, or who sits in the front, which is usually an indicator.) I don't recommend choosing someone you have no knowledge of and hoping they will hold up their end of the bargain. It can be tricky- but I did this last semester and only paid $17 to rent the book for the semester and the girl I shared with was thrilled about the proposition.
So, that is how not to buy textbooks. Try it out. You will love how much money you aren't spending!
* This is a sponsored post, but all comments & opinions are my own.
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