Saving Money on Books for College

Cedric Brown, a recent graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design with a B.F.A in Fashion Design. I am an international, award-winning fashion designer and visual artist. Originally from Atlanta, I enjoy traveling, creating art, and volunteering in the community.

College years can be rewarding and life changing, but it is important to make wise decisions. As a college freshman, one will face many challenges, and one of those challenges is buying books for school. Textbooks can be quite expensive, ranging from 100 to 500 dollars, and if you do not make a budget, any extra money you have will go towards it.
During my undergraduate years, I worked at the college bookstore. I observed students saving money and spending a fortune in the bookstore. A lot of new students/freshmen got taken advantage of. When the new semester would start, most students were giving a student id card, which gave students credit to buy supplies in the bookstore. Students used the credit to make purchases on various items, such as, office supplies, laptops, tablets, candy, textbooks, and school clothing. Before attending any class, many students purchased books early by looking at the class syllabus. However, many students did not know that money not used on the id card would go towards their college refund check, and they could buy these items later for much cheaper. Before buying books, it is important to research and compare prices.
Always research the books that you are going to buy. Before making any purchases, I recommend to attend class first. Instructors normally make changes to the syllabus and will highlight the most important items to buy. For example, during my freshman year of school, my English professor explained the books that were most important to get. It was 3 books listed, but we mainly only used one of those books.
From taking so many college courses, I realized there is only one – two main books for a class, and any other books we normally don’t use, or we just use them one time. Sometimes I would be lucky to get a good professor to share secrets. “The bookstore may say to get this one, but it’s not required.”
Always compare prices when buying books. There are several methods to obtaining books to keep in mind. For example, one can buy used books and e-books, rent, borrow, and check out from the library. There are positive and negative points for each one. For example, renting books can be cheaper than buying a brand new book, but one will only have it for one semester. Buying a brand new book, you can keep for a lifetime or can sell back to the bookstore or to someone else.
There are some important things to know about selling books back to the bookstore. First, the bookstore will only give you 40 -50 percent of the used price on their shelf. Second, the bookstore does not always purchase the books back. Sometimes they restock a new edition of the book for next quarter, the book is not being used any more, or they already have bought enough of the books back. Other alternatives can be to sell them online or post them on bulletins around campus.
Budgeting money for books can be healthy for your college finances. I think these tips can help you to save money. School comes with so many expenses, but one does not have to go broke to pay for them.

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