by Taryn Harpool, Biological Science Major
We all know that college is full of expenses: tuition, parking passes, endless cups of coffee and, last but not least, textbooks. Let’s face it, buying textbooks has been one of the most dreaded parts of going to college because of the heavy cost. Fortunately, there are some ways to cut down on the cost and save some extra cash for tuition (but probably more for coffee). Not sure where to start when looking for your books? Visit the UNH Bookstore to look up each of your classes and find out ahead of time which books you need and what options may be available.
Unless you are required to purchase the new edition of a textbook, buying a used copy, if it’s available, is a way cheaper option. You can check the bookstore as well as other textbook distributors to find a used version. Your professors will usually supply the ISBN numbers on the syllabus which can make it easier to find the right book.
Rentals and Electronic Textbooks
In recent years, renting has become a wildly popular way of cutting the cost of your textbooks. Typically the college bookstore will have an option for renting instead of buying, but you always want to check with them. Purchasing or renting an electronic copy of the textbook may be an option as well for a specific edition of the book that you can load into your tablet or laptop.
Share the Cost
What’s great about college is that you can typically make a good network of friends, especially in your specific degree program. What’s even better is that you usually end up taking the same classes together. Join in with friends or classmates to split the cost of a textbook and share it throughout the semester. This also gives you the option of forming a study group to help each other get through the class.
Another option to help save money is to check the library to see if they have the specific textbook you need on reserve. Many textbooks used for first year classes are available. Textbooks on reserve can be checked out within the library in two-hour blocks (enough time to get your weekly homework done in the quiet study rooms). If you are still waiting for your textbooks to come in the mail during the first week of classes, another great use of the books on reserve is to scan the first chapter so you don’t miss anything in class! Even if some of the textbooks are not on reserve, you may be able to at least find reading materials for a liberal arts class. The best way to find out if the books you need are on reserve is to make a list of all the books for your classes and check with the library before classes start.
Social media is great for keeping in touch with old friends and sharing cat videos and memes, but you can use it to your advantage when it comes to saving money. Connect with people from your college or, better yet, join your college community group on Facebook. You can post to see if anyone has the college textbook you need and share, borrow or buy. If your specific program doesn’t have a Facebook page, consider starting one or talk with your program advisors to start one. Not only is it a great way to meet people in your program, but a great way to stay in touch after graduation.
Sell Back Your Books
If you do purchase a new or used textbook and do not need to keep it throughout your duration at school, selling it is always an option. There’s no worse feeling than buying a textbook for an exorbitant amount of money only to receive a small percent back. Shop around using some online retailers as well to see if you can get more back on the expensive book you purchased.
Start Saving Ahead of Time
One of the things you’ll start to learn in college is time management — making time to work, study and possibly maintain a social life. Equally important, you’ll start to learn financial management as well. Start putting a chunk of money aside each paycheck months ahead of time before classes start. That way if you end up having to buy the new edition of a textbook, you can have a little something saved up and not be totally blindsided by the cost.
There are so many options available; it’s easy to find one (or more) that works for you. Don’t forget to ask your friends what they are doing to save money on textbooks like these guys did. There are lots of ways to make your college education more affordable. For more great money-saving tips, visit our Facebook page throughout the semester.
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