Tips for When You Can’t Afford Textbooks

cheap text book options

As a college student on a tight budget, I know firsthand how expensive textbooks can be. When I started my freshman year, I was shocked to see textbooks cost easily over $100 or more per class! Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years to get textbooks without breaking the bank:

Check Your School Library

Most colleges have at least one copy of the required textbooks that you can use while in the library. You usually can’t check them out, but you can go to the library between classes or in the evenings to finish your reading. Some libraries may even have e-books available for checkout.

See If You Can Rent

Renting textbooks has become more popular and is a great money saver. Sites like Chegg and Amazon allow you to rent a textbook for a semester for a fraction of the purchase price. Just ensure to return it on time or you could get charged the full price!

Buy Used Copies

Used textbooks are always cheaper than brand-new ones. Check sites like Amazon and eBay for used copies in good condition. Also, check with upperclassmen at your school – they may be looking to sell their old books.

Share With a Classmate

Consider sharing a textbook if you have a friend in the same class. You can split the cost and take turns with the book. Just make sure you work out a schedule to get the necessary access.

See If an Old Edition Will Work

Professors often list the newest textbook edition but say an older one is okay too. Older editions can sometimes be found very cheap or even free. It can’t hurt to ask!

Look for Free Online Versions

Many textbooks now come with online access or companion sites. See if your textbook has a free online version available. There also may be free websites, like OpenStax, that offer textbooks for free in PDF format.

Talk to Your Professor

Professors understand how expensive textbooks are. Speak with yours and see if they have any extra copies you can borrow. They may also be able to point you toward free resources that can substitute for the book.

With a little creativity and effort, you can find solutions to avoid paying full price for textbooks. Don’t be afraid to speak up and utilize all the resources available to you. You can get the textbooks you need without going broke.

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