As most of you know, I am back in college to get my MBA. Now, MBA programs are not cheap and my goal is to finish school without any student loans. However, textbooks can get ridiculously expensive. I just felt the pain of that yesterday when I ordered books for my summer courses. There are definitely ways to make that pain a little less.
First of all, the bookstore is most likely going to be the most expensive place to buy books. Yes, it is convenient, but you are often not going to need the textbook right now if you plan ahead for your semesters. Furthermore, they will not usually be the best place to sell your textbooks back at the end of the term either. Take a look there, but don’t just buy there without shopping around a bit first.
Take advantage of rental opportunities. Oftentimes, we don’t look at our textbooks once a course is over. So, renting is a great option in order to not deal with the fuss of trying to resell your book after the term is over. There are several places online that offer textbook rental. The ones I have used in the past are Amazon.com and Chegg.com. Chegg has the added bonus of being on ebates, so yesterday I got an additional 5% back on my textbook rental.
If you buy your textbooks, sell back at the end of the term. There are several places to sell your textbooks. You can set up a seller account on Amazon or Half.com, or you could also reduce hassle by doing a trade-in with a variety of companies, including Chegg or Amazon. Then, you will have free shipping and money in your pocket almost right away. However, if the trade-in value is significantly lower than the going price for used books, I suggest you try selling instead, especially if the book is a newer edition.
Always buy used if possible. Oftentimes, when I buy used textbooks through Amazon, they are in great shape, especially if you order from one of the bigger resellers. I have had books that I ordered as used come to me that had never been opened before. Used books will work just as well as new ones at a lot lower of a price tag.
What do you do to save money on college and especially textbooks?