Saving Money on Textbooks, And, How I Planted A Tree in Guatemala
It’s that most wonderful time of the year… Students have their credit cards maxed from Christmas spending and have to turn around and spend obscene amounts of money on textbooks. It is impossible to recoup the costs of new books, and difficult to break even by buying and selling used books. And if a professor decides to use a newer edition, the book is rendered worthless.
This semester I paid a grand total of $6.71 on all of my books.
This is through a combination of making connections with other students in my major and renting books instead of buying.
By getting to know other people in my major I am able to get an idea of what to except. When I ask people about textbooks for a certain class they generally say,
- “I never used that book. Don’t bother, it was a waste of money.”
- “The book was helpful for the final project. Let me know if you need to borrow it.”
- “Yeah, I actually used the book. Want to buy mine?” or,
- “I actually refer back to that book a lot. You’ll want your own copy.”
Luckily for me most recommended not to buy the book. Books relevant to my major were purchased last semester and will be used again for classes this semester. The one book that I did “buy” was actually rented through Chegg.
This is my second semester renting with Chegg.com. I returned to them again because:
- Their prices are less than buying used
- They give 30 day full refunds (helpful if dropping a class)
- Shipping is free
- They’re eco-minded
Last semester I “purchased” books through Chegg. They came in a box with a return shipping label, a return packing slip, a new pen, a pad of post-its, and very little excess packaging. They encourage you to save the box for return shipping which, of course, I did. At the end of the semester I put my books back in the box as well as two others that I was selling to them for a credit. I dropped the box off at my nearest UPS drop and was good to go.
This semester I applied my credit to purchasing my new book which cost $48.14 after tax. The book cost $66.13 new from Amazon, and at least $51.30 used. If I bought it used I also would have had to pay shipping.
Previous to discovering Chegg I purchased my books exclusively used via Amazon and then attempted to sell them back at the end of the semester. I was usually able to recoup about half of my money, depending on whether a new edition was available. Books that I will want to keep are still purchased used from Amazon. For the (quickly ending!) rest of my college career I will continue to use Chegg because of their ease-of-use and guarantee that I won’t have useless textbooks sitting around at semester’s end. The free pen and post-its are a nice perk for someone not buying new.
And about the tree thing…
Chegg plants a tree for every book rented or sold. I got to choose where I wanted my tree to go, so it went to Guatemala. I didn’t actually go there, unfortunately.