Ways to Save Money in College

As a college student, saving money can be hard. We’ve compiled a list to help you save your hard-earned money. Believe it or not, we live by these tips too. What better way to provide advice than with some methods we’ve already tested ourselves! We hope you’ll be able to use some of these methods during your years in college and into the future. 

Textbooks

One of the first dilemmas you’ll face as a college students is having to buy expensive books for your classes. Let’s face it, you won’t even read half of the chapters in your class for some of them. Instead of buying new books, we recommend that you rent your books!

We’ve noticed some students purchase expensive books in hopes to sell them later on for an equal or higher price they bought them for. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Bookstore can’t always guarantee that they’ll buy your books back for the price that you’re hoping, or if they will be buying them back at all later on as their need for books fluctuates every semester. You’ll actually be saving yourself SO much money by renting!

At Textbook Solutions, we aim to keep our book prices lower than your on-campus bookstore and rent out books up to 90% off their new price.

Fitness

You should also look into what is included in your tuition: take advantage of the amenities that your university offers! If you’re looking to keep in shape while in college and are looking for a gym, don’t spend your money on a membership. Most universities have a gym for their students. All you’ll need to show at the door is your student ID. You can get fit and stay active without spending more money!

FOOD

On a similar note, we know that some classes can be super time consuming when it comes to homework and assignments, which may limit your meal times. Don’t let that pressure you into eating out every day. Many universities offer meal plans included in the tuition that will give you access to the cafeterias and on-campus restaurants. It’s already included, so you’re not spending more money by eating out!

One healthy, money-saving tip for eating and drinking is to always carry a reusable water bottle with you. It’ll not only help you in staying hydrated but also save you money. If not eating on campus, you should also consider the time of day that you go out to buy your next meal. We highly suggest visiting your favorite place during Happy Hour! Restaurants are more likely to be having special offers during that time.

Resources

In addition, most universities have a computer lab that allows you to print all the documents you need for free. Instead of having to purchase a printer, paper, and ink, all you’ll really need is your USB or Google Drive information and your school ID. You won’t have to worry about not having enough ink or paper!

Of course you’ll need a means of transportation to and from the computer on campus. While having a car can be useful, you can also look into taking the shuttle. If you live in university housing they most likely have shuttles all around – and the best part is, you don’t have to pay for gas! The shuttles on campus are designed to help the students get from their dorm to classes on time. We suggest scoping out the shuttle stops and checking out their itinerary.

Student discounts

People always say you should always carry your ID, and we couldn’t agree more. When you go out, never forget to ask if they have any active student discounts. If you’re in need of electronics/entertainment, Apple, Sprint, AT&T, Office 365, Best Buy, Dell, Spotify among others offer discounts for students! Restaurants like Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Waffle House, and Burger King can help you save 10% on your next meal. Don’t be afraid to ask if a place has any student discounts!

Budgeting

If you’re just not sure if you can keep track of your expenses by yourself, don’t worry! There are actually various budgeting apps designed to guide you. They’ll not only tell you how you’ve been spending your hard earned money, but how much you’ve been spending in transportation, shopping, dining, etc. Here are some budgeting apps you can use for free: Mint, Wally & EveryDollar. They can also help you in alerting you when your next bill is in addition to creating monthly budgets so you can stay within your ideal budget and save some moolah!

We know how hard it can be to save money while in college. At Textbook Solutions we aim to help you Save More Green. We hope that with these tips you’ll be able to do just that!

Cautions For Using Professor Review Sites

When I go to create my class schedule for the coming semester, I tend to look for a few things. The required classes for my major and minor, the time of the class, and the professor that is teaching the class are the top three factor I take into account when choosing my classes. The one thing I have found the most problem determining is which professor I should take the class with. Enter professor rating sites.

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Sites such as ratemyprofessors.com are a staple to students choosing classes in today’s college environment. However, are these sites really accurate?

Extreme Posts: These posts on this site are very much in the fashion of sites like yelp and other review sites. Many of the posts I have found on my professors have been subjective and seem to be mainly written from the extreme ends of student opinions. This lends itself to extreme reviews either highly praising or critiquing the teacher.

Outdated Reviews: While using these sites, the date that the review was created is also important to take into account when deciding the validity of the review. The professor’s curriculum can change very frequently in the college world as well as professors changing their teaching styles to try and reach their students in a more effective way. This means that a review created in 2008 will likely not be as reliable as one created in 2018.

Relying solely based on reviews of professor rating sites is not recommended, as this information can be a hit or miss in accuracy. Here are some suggested actions in addition to using review sites:

Email the Professor: It’s possible to email the professor and as them questions personally or even get a copy of the syllabus if they have taught the class before. Although these sources are convenient, it does not always provide the best information on the professor.

Ask Others: Check around with students you know to see if they have taken the professor you are checking. Because it is a student you know, you can better understand and trust their advice.

What are the benefits of getting used textbooks?

Used textbooks are a great choice for students looking to save money on their path to graduation and finding a great job! Here are a few reasons why used textbooks are so great:cash-coins-money-259165

Cheaper option: Used books are almost always cheaper than new books! Aside from regular wear and tear from being used by other students, there are no content differences between a new book and a used book.

More books in the market: There are way more used books in the textbook market than new books, which makes finding a great deal on the book you need easier, faster, and cheaper.

Can help save time with studying: A pre-highlighted word here and a pre-underlined word there might just make the important information stand out easier!

Won’t affect your buyback price: If you plan on selling your book at the end of the semester, you might as well purchase a used book. Normally, bookstores will buy books at the same price, even if you bought it new. The only time the price may change is if there’s minor damage on the book and the bookstore isn’t willing to pay the full price.

Lower Negative Environmental Impact: Everyone loves the smell of new books; the paper, the ink – and maybe even the glue…but it’s no doubt that mass production of books and paper products require a lot of lost trees. When you purchase a used book, it’s just like reducing, reusing, and recycling!

3 Reasons Why College Textbooks Are So Expensive

We all know college textbooks are expensive, but why is that the case? Here are a few reasons for the growing textbook costs we see today:

Publishers only make money when new books are sold

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Publishers create the textbooks and make money based on how many new books are produced and sold. Because of this, they want to see more new books bought and fewer used books bought.

“Since the publishers don’t make any money off used-book sales, their business model is to make the old editions obsolete and force you to buy a new book.” (NY Post)

There are a few different tactics we have seen publishers use to try to sell more new books:

Marketing new editions of textbooks to professors. Marketing reps are trained to hook your professor into selecting a new edition of a textbook without really mentioning the price of the book. These new editions often contain only minor content changes. As soon as the new edition is selected by the professor, the old edition often is useless for their class.

Creating custom editions. Publishers will create university specific book editions (custom editions) with no named authors, which makes it hard for students to find cheaper alternatives. These editions also frequently are minor revisions, with some being a simple of a difference as a different title page in the book. It is basically impossible to tell the difference between a custom edition of a book and the edition of the book that it is based on without purchasing copies of both and comparing them.

Packaging books with access cards. Due to increased use of online homework programs that require access cards, there have been increased amounts of textbooks being bundled with the access card. This makes getting all the materials you need for your class very easy, but it often comes at a high price. These access cards can often be purchased individually from the publisher for a lower price than the package, but it is difficult to identify exactly what access card you need for your class. Because of the difficulty of this process, many students will choose to just buy the package and spend more than they should.

Textbooks are chosen by people who aren’t paying for them

The process of choosing what textbook is used for a class is part of what drives textbook prices up. Textbooks are typically chosen for a class by the professor who is teaching the class. These professors are visited by publishers who try to convince the professor to use their book. The professor evaluates their different options and selects a book that is best suited for their class.

So what is the problem with this? The textbook is selected by someone who won’t have to pay for it. When evaluating which textbook to choose, many professors do not consider the price of the book and what impact it will have on their students. Because they will not be paying for the book, there is little incentive for professors to include price in their ultimate textbook decision.

Lack of Competition

There’s just not that many publishers! The textbook market is dominated by five major players, and none of them are willing to make room for small publishers with better prices. These major publishing companies are able to hike up new textbook prices without fear of market competitors.

“According to the National Association of College Stores, more than 77 cents of every dollar spent on textbooks go to publishers. Of those 77 cents, the publishing company makes about 18 cents in pure profit, while spending 15 cents on marketing, and roughly 32 percent to cover costs (paper, printing, employee salaries, etc). At the same time, the author – the person who dedicated hundreds of hours of research to write the book – only gets about 12 cents on the dollar on average.” (Business Insider)


Which is better: renting my college textbooks or buying them?

While searching for your textbooks, you may be wondering whether you should rent or buy your textbooks. The short answer is it depends on the book! Here are a few tips to help decided if you want to rent or buy your textbook:

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  • Expect to save 50%-90% off the new price of a book.
  • Allows you to pay less money today than buying books.
  • Great for textbooks you’re not sure you’ll want to keep, especially classes outside your major or introductory classes.
  • Reduces stress and risk of selling your book at the end of the semester.

Buying:

  • Great for novels and books that you’ll want to keep, especially books in your field of focus.
  • Able to try to sell the book for cash at the end of the semester.
  • No risk of being charged a fee if the book gets lost or damaged.

Ultimately, the better option depends on your situation. If you are having trouble making a decision on whether to rent or buy, just ask us! We will be more than happy to help you make a good decision that fits your needs!

Check out an earlier blog post to see Four Tips For Getting Cheap Textbooks.