Sinking Money Into Textbooks

November 12, 2014 (original post here)

Over the years I don’t want to even think about how much money I’ve spent on textbooks. It hurts a little to know that every night when I go to sleep, underneath my bed, idly sitting there and extremely out of date, I have about 2-3 years of textbooks collecting dust.

The one thing I hate on the first day of classes is when the teacher/professor says, “If you’re wondering, the textbook is required.” I absolutely hate it; it hurts me a little on the inside because I know that the chances of us actually needing/using the textbook is about 45-50%.

When I first started college, I bought/rented every single book that was “required” for my classes, and to be honest, I used maybe 1 or 2 of them. I had spent over $300 in text books and to only use 1-2 of them. It was such a waste of money and I couldn’t sell them back to the book store because they would be using a different book the next semester. It was a sunk cost. I have books that have only been opened once. I have books that have been used and have pages that were highlighted.

What I didn’t know is that some of the professors are forced to use a textbook. I’ve had professors who would straight up say, “I have to assign you a textbook, but here are a couple of websites where you can rent them for cheap.” Also, to make it more budget friendly, they would assign later editions so that we don’t have to purchase the newer, more expensive, ones.

If you’re a freshman or sophomore and you’re tired of buying the dang books here are some tips:

  • Ask students who have taken the course/professor and ask them if the book was necessary. Sometimes you can get away with just downloading the powerpoint and take notes on some of the vocabulary/concept.
  • Talk to the teacher and ask them if the book is necessary. If you’re in some financial troubles, they may be able to provide you with an extra copy or provide you with a cheaper alternatives.
  • Share with a friend. If you have a friend in that class and the textbook is absolutely necessary, share the costs and study together.
  • See if the campus library has an extra copy that you can borrow.
  • Look online for a free version. This option can be extremely sketchy, so be wary on what websites you click and the things you download.

Hopefully this will help some of you who are dealing with the college textbook dilemma. It’s not a fun problem to have and it can be costly if you decide to purchase one. You will either have to plan ahead, and rent books ahead of time, or be patient and wait for the books to go down in price in order to rent them.


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