Tuition, room and board are not the only costs of going to college. Other things you need for a college education can add up.
Be sure and put the cost of textbooks in your college budget. Some students forget the high cost of textbooks can break a college budget. Don't be blind sided by hundreds of dollars needed each term for books.
Don't wait. Buy your textbooks early. This will allow you to have a bigger selection of used textbooks to choose from. Wait too long, and you pay full price. College professors and lecturers all use email. Before class begins, email and ask for the textbook. You can even contact the department for information on textbook requirements.
Renting textbooks is a newer option. Chegg.com and amazon.com are two places that will rent textbooks. Normally, you choose the textbook, pay to rent it, then agree to send it back in a certain number of days. Amazon does do free shipping as well. Textbook renting is not perfect. You don't get to keep the book, so you must keep it in great condition. You cannot write in it or spill anything on it. Combining books on amazon is actually a decent deal. Remember, the book you get may not new, but used. It will be in good, usable condition.
Shop for used and new textbooks online. You can save quite a bit over college bookstore prices. But be sure and factor in shipping costs. Sometimes this can make the textbook less of a bargain.
Sell your books early too. As soon as class finishes, put it up for sale online or post a note on campus. Putting your used textbook up for sale online is easy. Most large sites like Amazon.com and Ebay allow easy listings. On these, don't forget to factor the shipping cost.
Sometimes an older edition will do. An older edition probably only has minor things missing and can be quite cheaper.
Check out auction sites, especially Ebay.com.
Be exact when buying and selling textbooks. Get the correct ISBN number. Get the right title, author, and edition. Making a mistake can be costly.
Amazon.com is another great resource. Many students buy and sell textbooks using their service. You can get quite a deal if you shop many different sellers.
Look for ads posted on campus. Many students know the campus bookstore will not pay top dollar for their used textbook. But the price they want will probably be less than the bookstore wants even for that same used textbook!
Best advice on used textbooks is to shop early and try online first.
As soon as you get your list of classes, head to the college bookstore. If you get in early, you can snatch up a used book. Wait too long, and you will be forced to buy a new one, or worse, the bookstore will be sold out. Then you will have to spend time trying to find one. The longer you wait, the more chance you have at paying more.
Compare the cost of the bookstore against online retailers. You may not realize that a shipping cost can raise the price. Check out how textbooks are taxed in your state as well.
Buying a used textbook online from a private party may not be the best thing. If you drop the class or accidentally get the wrong one, you probably not be able to return it.
Speaking of returns, make sure you save your receipts just in case you need to return them. Check with your college bookstore as to the return policy. Sometimes they only allow returns if you drop a class.
Keep your textbooks in great condition and don't lose the material, like study guides and CDs that came with it. This will allow you to sell your books back for more money.
Remember that buying textbooks is one of those expensive costs of college you don't think about.