Shopping for textbooks has always been my least favorite thing about going back to school. Right after you pay off your tuition, you are expected to dish out even more money on textbooks. There is always the internal debate of getting your textbooks before school starts or waiting until school starts. The cost of textbooks adds up quickly, which is why I am here to share my best tips for how to save money on textbooks.
Start With The School Bookstore
The bookstore is usually the first place I look for textbooks to get a general idea of how much I should expect my books to cost. I NEVER buy from them first though. The bookstore is usually where you find what textbooks you will need for each course. Make note of all the ISBN numbers for the textbooks, the titles, and the price of each. Do not buy anything yet! While you are on the bookstore website check and see what their different policies are. For example, my bookstore offers price match and full refunds until a certain date. This is very helpful if I end up not needing a certain book after all.
Only Buy New When Needed
Sometimes there is no way around it. A lot of classes now require you to have an access code that you can only get with new textbooks. These new textbooks typically cost over $100 but you’ll have no other choice. In this case, I would recommend going through your campus bookstore so you know you are getting exactly what you need, without getting scammed.
Look On Trade Pages
My favorite way to save money on textbooks is to look on my school’s trade page on Facebook. This is typically where students will post any textbooks they are looking to get rid of at a cheap price. Students understand that textbooks are expensive and are more willing to help other students save money. You might also be able to trade textbooks that you have with someone else for no money!
Rent Textbooks When Possible
I tend to lead toward renting textbooks always (unless I buy books from trade pages). The only downfall of renting is that the money can’t be earned back. However, renting tends to be more reasonable and less of a hassle. When you rent online, textbooks are easily delivered right to you door and sent back for free at the end of the semester. There are countless options to rent textbooks but I tend to use only two.
If you have an Amazon Student account renting is a great option because your textbooks can be delivered in 2 days. This is great for when you want to wait to see what books your professors require in the first few days of school. Especially when they also assign homework that is due a few days later.
Chegg is the first place I ever rented textbooks from. I remember my first semester of college I got all of my textbooks for $106 and I owe it all to Chegg. They have a large inventory of rentals and typically have the best prices as well. They also offer free solutions with some textbooks which was a lifesaver for me when I took math.
Look For Bookstore Sales
I didn’t actually know this was even a thing until this week when I got an email from my school bookstore. Some schools offer early bird specials for students who want to be ahead of the game. I happened to get all my textbooks for this semester for under $300 (I’m taking 18 credits) because of a 15% off sale the bookstore was having. Like I said, my bookstore offers full refunds and price matches so I felt like this was the best deal for me after doing some research on costs.
Buy Used To Save Money On Textbooks
Buying used textbooks can sometimes be cheaper than renting. I always check the options when I search the ISBN number of each textbook. I like to buy used in classes that I know I will want to write in. That way I don’t have to worry about being charged extra with rentals. PLUS I can sell them after for some extra cash money 😉
Some Extra Money Saving Tips
There are some other tips I wanted to add to this post that won’t necessarily help you save money on textbooks but are good to know for the end of the semester.
If you bought textbooks in the beginning of the semester you should try to resell them after. Try finding trade pages or list on Facebook marketplace and other sale sites. I know it might seem like it’s a lot of work but getting rid of extra books and having extra money is all worth it in the end.
Be Mindful Of Due Dates
When you are renting textbooks you will have very specific due dates for your textbooks. Add them to your planner and phone calendar so you don’t forget. You don’t want to end up getting charged a bunch of extra money for not getting your books sent in on time. On the flip side, you can also extend your rentals if needed for a lower rate.
I am always on the lookout for the best deals. I have saved a ton of money on textbooks using these tips and know you will too. However, if you have any other tips on how you save money on textbooks, please let me know in the comments below!