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Headed for College : Textbooks

Remember that whole budgeting thing? Well, we hope you budgeted for books, because they’re not cheap. Just how not-cheap depends a lot on your major, but you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re spending at least $100 per class on books, some of which you’ll actually like.

There are some ways to cut that number down, though:

Buy used.
The words don’t wear down just because someone else has read them. Just beware, buyer – not everybody knows how to use a highlighter. Before you pony up, make sure the previous owner wasn’t a total slob.

Buy online.
The Web is full of search engines that specialize in finding books – textbooks, even – at the lowest available price. Just be sure you factor in the shipping costs and the delivery time, and make sure you get the exact edition you need.

Ask around. Someone you know may have the book you need, and might be willing to lend it to you, or trade it, or sell it cheap. (Who knows, they may even throw in their class notes for free.)

It may seem radical, but that big square building in the middle of campus is a library – they may have the book you need, and they won’t charge a thing. It’s not ideal, though – you can’t write in a library book, and you can’t keep a library book. In some cases, though, it’s a great way to save.

Sell back.
Keep in mind, you always have options. Of course, this doesn’t do anything for you up front, but it’ll help on the other side of the equation.

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