Walking into the campus bookstore at the start of each semester can be a dreadful experience. The price of books can quickly get out of control, even for the most seasoned college student. For freshmen students, it can be a jarring introduction to economics.
One semester's books can easily run $500 or more, and that is after the sting of selling back the previous term's books for nothing close to what you paid. A textbook costing $100 in September might only be worth $5 in December because the publisher put out a new edition, seemingly for the sole purpose of screwing over the student. Frustrating? Without a doubt.
Students, however, are not completely at the mercy of their university. Here are three simple ways to make it a little easier to save money at the school bookstore.
1. Split The Cost With Someone
This is admittedly a little more difficult for a freshman than it is for a junior or senior, but it's still a possibility. If you have a friend taking the same class as you, that presents a great opportunity for both of you to save money that should not be missed.
If not, look for somebody in class on the first day that might be willing to share with you. Make sure to work out the details ahead of time, such as who gets it when, and how buying it will occur. Don't get stuck never being able to read your assignments because the guy you split the cost with won't give you the book until five minutes before class starts.
2. Buy Older Editions
If your bookstore sells older editions of the books you need, look into purchasing those. Sometimes you might get lucky and find last years' version on the cheap. Publishers often put out yearly editions with negligible changes. If the store isn't carrying the previous edition, search online for it. Amazon sells used textbooks. The changes may not be so bad as to necessitate finding the newest copy.
3. Rent The Book
There are several websites offering textbook rental services. Go online, find the book you need, and have it shipped directly to your house or dorm. The rental price, depending on the book as well as the site, can often be less than 1/3 of purchasing a new copy. There is a multitude of textbook sites that offer this. Do a quick search for coupon codes and you might be able to save a little more money if any sites are offering specials. Although, this option is not best for every student. If you need to highlight what you read or take notes in the margins, renting may not be the best idea.
Knowing that textbooks can run upwards of $1,000 for a year is stressful, frustrating, and intimidating. Following some of these tips can make it more manageable because, you know, every dollar saved is another 10 packs of Ramen Noodles.