How To Save Money On College Books Your First Year, Because They Cost How Much?

Remember when Kristen Wiig was sitting on a plane in Bridesmaids and said, "Help me, I'm poor?" Yeah, I felt that. As much as you love college, it can be quick to drain your bank account. Everything just adds up — snacks at the cafeteria, notebooks for class, and the repairs you had to get on your laptop, according to the technology center. You swipe your card, and cringe a little bit at the total on the screen. (Does this mean you shouldn't order pizza tonight? Ugh!) Believe or not, you can cut some costs. I'm here to give you a few tips on how to save money on college books your first year, that will make you the best student with the best budgeting skills.

Picture this: You walk into the library on campus with a list of the textbooks you need. Your biology class is requiring a lab manual, and you need a special workbook for Spanish. So, you start roaming the aisles and dodging the crowds of other college students who are trying to conquer their own to-do lists.

The store clerk asks you if you need some help, and you gratefully accept it. This place is a maze, and you'd be looking for The Great Gatsby for hours. She brings you down the right aisle, and you start reading the price tag attached to the shelves. This book costs how much?! Take a deep breath, and look at your options. You can save money on books your first year with these seven tricks.

1Buy From A Friend

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Working your network isn't just for landing your dream internship. It's actually a really good way to save some money on your textbooks. You might know a girl in your new sorority who took the class last semester, or your best friend used the same materials, despite going to a different school. Take advantage of those connections, while also taking a heavy textbook out of their hands. Odds are, you'll pay much less than you would at the campus store. (Did someone say "friends and family" discount?)

2Rent Your Books

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At the beginning of the semester, think about what materials you want to keep, and what books will end up at the bottom of your closet once the year is over. Truth is, you may want to have materials related to your passion or field of study on hand in the future. But, if you're an art major, you probably don't need that calculus textbook past finals week. In that case, choose to rent your books instead of buying them. You'll notice that this option is normally significantly cheaper, and saves you some money.

3Get The Digital Copy

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Next to renting your books, grabbing the digital copy is a great way to keep the cash in your bank account. As easy as it can be to flip a page and have the physical book in your lap while you study, it's usually cheaper to purchase and download a copy to your computer.

The campus store will send you a link to a PDF, or access to the book through their specific portal. Just like that, you're ready for class and conveniently don't need to carry around that extra weight, too.

4Share The Book With A Classmate

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You'll make all kinds of friends during your first semester of college. But, the girl you meet in class will be one of your favorites. She understands your love for art history, or the professor's little quirks that make you laugh.

When finals week comes around, she'll be your study buddy, and you two will sit in the library until well-past midnight with a stack of flash cards. Together, you'll conquer tests and rainy walks to class. Save some money and share you textbooks, too.

5Look For Your Books Beyond The Campus Store

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As much as you love your school, it gets really expensive sometimes. You're tired of spending so much money on little things, and assume there are other options. You're right — and when it comes to buying your books, I highly suggest looking beyond your campus store.

Compare prices between the different sites, like Chegg, Amazon, or even Barnes and Noble. Find the one with the best bang for your buck, or possibly buy a used copy that gets shipped directly to your door. You'll be surprised how little you can spend on a textbook that would normally cost hundreds of dollars at your university.

6Use The Class Copy

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More often than not, the professor reserves a copy of your textbooks in the library for the entire semester. This is meant to be a resource, especially during those first few weeks when nobody really has their books yet.

You can copy chapters out of the book for like five cents, or do your studying in the library where you have access to everything you need. Although it might not always be the most convenient or reliable option, it's definitely a good way to save some money on books that you might not use as much.

7Make Sure You Need The Books

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Your first year in college, you'll assume that you need every single book. It's inevitable, and something that most of us learn the hard way (Shoutout to my nutrition class and its super expensive book that we never used.)

The professor will be handing out reading assignments for the first week, and stressing every point on the syllabus. Take a moment of your own time to look through what the class entails, organize your assignments in your planner, and see if you really need the materials. Can you get the job done with just the lecture notes and PowerPoints?

You might feel better having the extra resources, and that's OK. Everybody studies differently, and it's up to you to use your judgement about what you'll need to succeed. Just know that there are ways to save some money on books, so that you're not screaming, "This costs how much?" in the middle of the campus store.