Going to college should be a fun and exciting time where students discover themselves and grow their intellectual capabilities. Unfortunately, most students also grow an uglier side during these incredible years, the debt load.
College tuition alone makes up most of this debt, but adding a substantial about to that is the money required to obtain the required textbooks. In fact, according to College Board, the average student spends almost $1,300 each year on books and supplies, with specialized areas of study spending even more.
Further, these costs have ballooned more than 812 percent since 1978, outpacing all other college stated economics professor Mark Perry of the University of Michigan.
With these continually climbing expenses, you can save money on your textbooks, if you know how. Here are five tips for saving some money while still rocking the college years.
Tip 1: Shop Online Before You Go To The Bookstore
College bookstores make about 20 percent of what they charge for a book. In addition, you have to pay for the distribution to the store. Before going to one of the stores on campus, check out one of many options for saving money on textbooks online. This includes Amazon, eCampus, Bookbyte, Campus Books, and more.
Tip 2: Make Friends, Borrow Books
Everyone loves to make friends during college. Most people do not think to leverage those friendships to mutually benefit each other. Find people who have taken the courses prior to you, and who kept their books, then see if you can borrow them.
Tip 3: Rent Your Books
If borrowing is not an option, you could always offer to rent the books from them, helping your friends earn back a little money they invested in their textbooks. A plethora websites offer textbook rentals. These include ValoreBooks, BookRenter, CamusBookRentals, Textbook Rentals and more.
Tip 4: Look For Older Editions
Many publishers release new editions of textbooks every two to three years. Aside from minor changes to the text, this is a great marketing strategy for these companies ensuring new students have to purchase new editions. Check with your professor, and consider buying an older edition. This can save 50 percent and more.
Tip 5: Try eBooks
While some people prefer a regular print book, you can save a lot of money using eBooks. You can get digital versions of textbooks from iBook for iPad, as well as from sites like Chegg and Amazon, just to name a few. There are also a growing number of textbooks available through open-course or open-access, which are digital textbooks provided by the university.
David Milberg is a credit analyst in NYC.