Commuter Life: Salvage your textbook savings

- Courtesy of Flickr User Danny Nicholson

I’m sitting in class and I have my notebook ready to go along with my pen and full attention. The class begins and as the clock ticks away, I come to realize we aren’t going to be using the “mandatory” textbook for the course, once again.

Semester after semester it’s been a similar experience, for a lot of my classes. I wonder how much money I’ve spent on renting a used textbook or buying a brand new one only to let it sit in my room for three months.

For a commuter, a student should expect to pay on average $1,250 for textbooks and supplies at a public, four-year institution, according to College Board. This number is flexible, especially towards each major and the cost of each book (sometimes $300 to $400 per book).

Additionally, online books are becoming more popular among professors and cost an astronomical amount for an access code (from my own experience). There’s no way to avoid the high costs of an online book when quizzes and tests for the course are linked within the website.

It always seems to be a mystery, whether or not a textbook is really needed to get through the class. I always bought the book, it was the safer option and never left me guessing. Plus, with the help of a textbook I would be set for success — in most cases.

I found that buying the absolute lowest price of a textbook was the best option to get my money’s worth, even if I never touch the book. My favorite website with the cheapest options for used rental textbooks is Amazon. I’ve never had an issue with their rental process yet.

When the textbook is only offered at the college bookstore, it’s important to rent or buy used books, if available, so you aren’t throwing away cash (and don’t forget, if you change your mind and want to buy the book, you can always buy it at the end of the semester).

I still have a sociology textbook from years ago. It’s sitting underneath my bed gathering dust with the years of notes alongside. I’m hesitant on selling it knowing the exchange will never amount to what I paid. The best decision I did make was to rent my books from Amazon. It’s convenient, easy and saved me from buying hundreds of dollars worth of books.

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