Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info.
The cost of college textbooks increased by a rate of 88 percent between the years 2006 and 2016.
The high price of textbooks can be unaffordable for many students struggling to make ends meet in the first place.
That's why it's important to consider ways to dodge the price increases by thinking outside of the box to get your hands on the right textbook. Check out our smart budgeting tips to make sure you get the best textbooks for your college education.
Let's take a look below!
In This Post:
- 1. Avoid the College Bookstore
- 2. Always Check the College Library
- 3. Share Textbooks With Friends
- 4. Buy Second-Hand When You Can
- 5. Why Buy When You Can Rent
- 6. Download as an E-Book
- 7. Buy an Older Edition of the Textbooks
- 8. Sell Your Textbook After Use
- 9. Focus on the Important Textbooks
- 10. Ask to Borrow a Textbook
- Smart Budgeting for College Textbooks
1. Avoid the College Bookstore
If your college has a bookstore on campus, you might be tempted to buy your textbooks from there.
That's what everyone else is doing, right? It's convenient and easy to just wander into the bookstore and leave with a bunch of books.
However, you probably couldn't find a more expensive place to purchase your textbooks. This is the equivalent of visiting an artisan grocery to refill your refrigerator.
Whenever possible, you should definitely try to shop anywhere else to get your hands on your college textbooks.
2. Always Check the College Library
Many college students depend on the college library for textbooks. If your professor has put it on the reading list, then it's probably held in your college library.
However, everyone will rush to get the same college textbook. So, make sure you're early to get your hands on the book.
You may even be able to order the textbook online before anyone else gets there.
You don't really need to buy every textbook yourself.
The average student spends around $579 every year on textbooks. Why don't you try to share the cost with your friends at college?
Of course, you might need to make arrangements to study together sometimes when you share a textbook.
However, if you share a textbook with a close friend or roommate, this can always make things much easier.
Depending on your professor, you might not always be able to share textbooks. If you need to use the textbooks on a daily basis, this may not be suitable.
4. Buy Second-Hand When You Can
You don't need to buy new textbooks. Many textbooks used by professors have been around for years.
You need to take advantage of any book fairs or online websites where you can buy the same textbook but a bit rough around the edges.
Used books can often be significantly cheaper compared with brand new copies. Sometimes you'll find them in really good condition!
Find out more about education on a budget here.
5. Why Buy When You Can Rent
When you have finished with the class at college, you're probably never going to look at the textbook ever again.
That's why it makes no sense to purchase textbooks. You can simply save a lot of money if you rent your textbooks instead.
Some textbooks are priced at over $100. You really don't need to invest in a textbook this expensive for one class. That's why many students try to rent books.
You might find that your college bookstore runs a rental scheme. However, make sure you don't forget about the terms of the rental. You don't want to end up with fines for forgetting to return your textbooks when the class is over.
6. Download as an E-Book
Many textbooks can be downloaded as ebooks now. This usually reduces the cost of the textbook.
You could either rent or buy the textbook in this format. Just make sure you have an e-reader to read the ebook. You can't read everything on your smartphone.
Ebooks can be really convenient to carry around campus and to class. You don't need to drag a bunch of heavy books with you anymore.
However, ebooks aren't always as pleasant to read. You also won't be able to make notes in the margins of the textbook.
7. Buy an Older Edition of the Textbooks
Textbooks are constantly updated. Every year the publisher might release a new version of the same textbook.
But, you save a lot of money by buying the previous edition of the textbook. Most of the time, nothing has substantially changed about the content.
You might need to make sure the textbook is broadly similar to the new version before you part with your money.
8. Sell Your Textbook After Use
You may decide that you simply can't avoid buying the textbook brand new. But, you might be able to recuperate some of the costs after.
You can put up your old textbooks for sale online to make back some of the money you spent while studying for that class.
9. Focus on the Important Textbooks
Not every textbook is important. Some textbooks are an essential aspect of your class. Others aren't so essential to what you do.
Therefore, you need to focus on using your budget wisely. Buy the books you can't pass the class without.
But, if you only need to read a chapter or two of another textbook, you can probably skip it to save money.
10. Ask to Borrow a Textbook
If you're desperate for a textbook, then you could simply ask your friend in the same class to borrow their textbook.
You could even take a photo of the page in the textbook. This will allow you to save your money for the more important textbooks.
Smart Budgeting for College Textbooks
If you're on a budget, you can't afford to splurge everything on expensive textbooks all of the time.
But, the truth is that you don't always need to waste your money on textbooks. There are a bunch of clever ways to save money. Follow the tips above and you'll save money like a pro.
Do you want to discover more tips on how to save money on your textbooks? Check out everything you need to know about smart budgeting on our website!