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How to Become a Clever College Cheapskate

Paying full-price for textbooks is an extreme expense, which can nearly debilitate the broke college student. The bad news is that college textbooks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and you will need to acquire a different set of them every single semester until you graduate. However, the good news is that college students across the nation are discovering simple ways to “beat the system” and pay a fraction of the price for their textbooks! By following these five ways to save money on textbooks, you’ll be a clever college cheapskate in no time.

1. Avoid the campus bookstore like the plague. Yes, it is the most convenient option to run to the bookstore on your campus to snag your required readings, but it is the farthest thing from the most economical. The campus bookstore is for the ballers on campus, not the cheapskates. If you absolutely have to step foot in this place, stay focused and make a beeline directly to the used book section, then get out of there! Friends don’t let friends ball out on textbooks!

2. Forget the word “new.” Okay, I don’t care how much you love the smell of a new book, or how much you enjoy turning its fresh, unmarked, crisp pages. When you’re a broke college student, you don’t get this luxury. I mean it’s Human Anatomy, not Harry Potter. You will survive. Your new favorite words are now “used” and “rent.” I now introduce you to Amazon and Chegg - your new best friends.

3. Updated Schmupdated. Textbook companies are constantly releasing new “updated” versions of their books. Most of the time, there is no significant difference between the 8th edition and the 7th edition. Ask your professor if he or she minds if you get the previous edition of the book. If it’s fine, buy the previous edition, or better yet rent the previous edition, and then just take a moment of silence to appreciate how much money you just saved. You’re welcome.

4. Beg, borrow, steal! Okay, the latter is a joke. Please don’t steal anything. But begging and borrowing will turn you into a level two college cheapskate! Do you know anyone who has taken your class before and still might have their book? If not, use social media and find someone. Ask to borrow their book for the semester or sweet talk them into selling it to you for the low! I mean, are they really going to need to refer back to GEO 101? You’ll be keeping it from collecting dust, and saving cash in the process.

5. Become a dealer. Yes, when the semester is over, start dealing to earn some extra cash… dealing TEXTBOOKS! What were you thinking? I promise you, no matter how important you thought that textbook was, you’ll probably never open it again. Get rid of it! If you bought the book, it’s now time to sell it. Sell it to a bookstore or on Amazon. Better yet, why not just cut out the middleman and sell it directly to another cheapskate who’s taking the course next semester? That’s how it’s done - cheapskates helping cheapskates!

There you have it: Five Ways to Help You Save Money on Textbooks. One more word of advice is to start as soon as possible on getting your books. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to beat the crowds and catch the best deals. Being a Clever College Cheapskate is an art and a science. Don’t be ashamed of it. Own your new found skills in frugality! For more information on saving money in college, check out ATU: the Show and Acing The Undergrad: Your Personal Mentor.

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