Tips for getting your books without going broke

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Many of us get a little worried about how we’re going to pay tuition each semester. We might pick up extra hours at our jobs, cut back on late night Jimmy John’s or rent movies rather than go to the movie theatre. But one thing we often forget during our saving is the cost of textbooks. Here are some quick and painless tips to get all your books and still have money leftover for a Turkey Tom!

  • Find out what you books you need and buy them in advance. Don’t wait for the first day of class, go to the bookstore website and look up the books required for your classes. You can even pre-order online and pick them up at the bookstore. Just don’t wait until the day before classes… used (aka cheaper) books might not be available the longer you wait.
  • Check online to see if you can buy your books cheaper. Sites like Amazon.com and Half.com almost always have people selling their used books cheaper than you’ll find in stores. The only thing you have to worry about is paying for shipping so you can get them in time… Hint: if you’re buying online, allow enough time for shipping!
  • Rent instead of buy. Renting books is even cheaper since places are getting the books back. Sites like Chegg.com and our own UW Oshkosh rental system allow you to rent books for as few as 30 days (…interim!) and give you free shipping to send them back when you’re done. Chegg even plants a tree for every book you rent! See? Money does grow on trees.
  • Borrow books from a friend. In your freshman year you will probably end up taking some of the same courses as your friends. Ask around to see if anyone has taken the class before you or is taking it at the same time. Sharing a textbook will save both of you money! Teamwork.

I’ve just listed a few of the ways you can save money on books during the semester. Anyone else have any tactics they’ve used or heard others use? … And simply not buying them doesn’t count as an option. Nice try. ;)

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