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3 Money Tips To Help You Afford Textbooks

By Danielle Wirsansky

We all know that college is expensive. Yet for a lot of new students, why college is so expensive is somewhat of a mystery. Sure, you have got to pay to live on or near campus, but you would have to live somewhere even if you were not going to school. Sure, classes cost money too, but that is only to be expected.

One cost that many do not expect is the cost of textbooks, which can be astronomical. The College Board estimates that the average college student spends more than $1,200 on books and materials over the course of a single year. And CBS News reports that the average cost of college textbooks has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation over the past 10 years. That is a lot of money!

Just about every single college course you take will require some kind of textbook. You do not want to hurt your grade in the class by not buying the required texts, so what is a poor college student to do? Read on to learn some money tips to help you afford your college textbooks!

Use Bargain Websites

If you are dead set on getting a hard copy of this textbook to keep and own forever and ever and ever (amen) but are stressed out by the cost of it when you checked it out in your campus bookstore, then have no fear! If you are not opposed to getting the textbook used (though occasionally you might find mint condition books as well), then you will surely want to check out a bargain book hunting website!

Most of these websites are pretty easy to use. You type in the book title or the ISBN number of the book you need, and a lot of option will come up. Some sites will even cross reference all the copies of that book for sale across multiple sites and show you the best options in price, shipping, and condition. This way you may keep the book forever, especially if you found it useful, and even write notes or highlight in it. It will be yours to do with as you will. And it will feel more satisfying to use because you got it for cheap.

Websites to try out include Textsurf, DealOz, AbeBooks, and more!

Rent Textbooks

If you are not married to the idea of purchasing your textbooks outright, then renting your textbooks may be the right choice for you! Some people buy a textbook, crack it open only for class (barely), and then never, ever look at it again. The book sits on your shelf, unused and forgotten, for months or even years, until you finally get rid of it.

Keep your clutter to a minimum and give your textbooks a second chance at life by renting them instead! You can usually rent books on a semester-by-semester basis. This can cut the cost of your textbooks considerably. And you do not even have to handle the resale aspect of finding a new home for your book yourself.

You should keep in mind that with this option, the book you might be given may have some wear and tear to it as many students have probably rented it for the semester. You will also not be able to write in or highlight passages in your book, otherwise, you might have to pay back the cost of the book.

Check the Library

Another option you can check to get your textbooks for class is to check out your library. You can check out your local library or even your on-campus university library as either may have copies. They are especially likely to have the book if it is not exactly a textbook but a regular book that has been assigned as a required course text instead.

If your campus library has it, your professor may have even requested the library put it on hold so that many students could come to check it out and read it for an hour at a time in the library so that many students can share the book and read, or at least some kind of similar arrangement. You might only get the book for a limited time, but it is better to get it for free than not at all! The earlier you put a hold on the book, the more likely you are to get it. So be sure to look high and low and check every library at your disposal!

Whatever you decide to do, choose the option that best fits your budget and what you want to do with the textbooks. If owning a textbook forever or being able to write in it is very important to you, then you know what you need to do. Shop smart!