So the new semester is already here, and while it may indicate a promising and purely exciting time, it also (with no intent to upset you) is the time when you spend your savings and hope you still have some money left to spend with your friends. I mean, sure, the situation isn’t that somber for everyone, but the amount of money students spend on textbooks is just absurd. And the numbers are growing.
Since 2006 textbook prices steadily move up, and in 2016 that increase reached 73%. And while you can name a bunch of reasons to justify this pattern of behavior of publishing giants, it does nothing good to your own pocket literally.
We’ve all heard horrid stories about graduates living their lives haunted by the debt trails of their precious diplomas. And while we might be under illusions that it will not be our case, it will be a good idea to take some precautions. Designed by the government education system has been having its way with college students for way too long, so don’t let them take advantage of your lack of knowledge. So what to do to ease your way into adulthood and not end up in survival mode? Use these loopholes in the system (more like tips carefully gathered by us) and save up for your future.
Grants and Scholarships
Choosing the place you are going to spend the next few years of your life (which will also pretty much define your future career and life perspectives, no big deal) is a traditional nerve-racking activity. And it actually doesn’t matter what month it is since the application period lasts almost all year, and it also takes quite some time to take the necessary exams and prepare all the documents, recommendation letters, and much more.
Moreover, it’s better to start on such a platform than later on work late nights for years to cover all your debts. And while the preparation process (starting with the search for opportunities itself) may be hard and seem never-ending, in the long run, it truly pays off. Search for government grants, university grants, and programs supported by various organizations. Consider transferring to four-year programs while being a junior college student. Apply for FAFSA (and be both careful and attentive). Find suitable scholarships. And just go on studying, searching, and applying till you find the option that suits you best.
Balance Your Books
Accounting may not be your thing, but it can teach you some key points: from paying attention to the details to writing down the money you “give and get” to avoid any surprises at the end of the month. Moreover, while the tuition fee is seen as the biggest money-devouring monster, the amount you spend on textbooks helps you understand how much your education is really going to cost.
The publishers, just as experienced politicians, without shame or doubt, skillfully lobby their interests in the form of new editions of textbooks that don’t even need them. How often is something beyond question new and groundbreaking discovered by scientists? So, as a result, the not-so-much updated information on an annoyingly regular basis appears on the must-have list of professors, which doesn’t leave many options for students.
What to do about that? Well, consider the following points:
- Whenever you need to buy a textbook, try to find it online first. You can use various websites or just conduct your research using Google (remember to type a format, like epub, pdf, txt, mobi). You can also use .html or .htm to find and read books online.
- While the web offers great corners to find peace and escape from a busy routine, it is also a great place to hone your research skills. Here’s where you cannot overdo it, especially if it potentially can save you money. Search for opportunities online, compare prices, and create your own list of favorite websites and companies. Some companies pride themselves in offering the highest buyback quotes, others offer impeccable service, and we here at BooksRun aspire to do both (and more).
- After you set your mind to having a physical copy of the book rather than downloading the material you need (that decision itself may take creating some pros/cons lists), you move to the next step: decide whether you are going to buy or rent. Both can be done on our website (and the process is very easy). The defining moment is usually the price. If you know that you are going to need the book for a long time (even after the end of the course) and that you would like to use the book without worrying about its condition (like writing on the pages whatever you want, any notes in the unlimited amount), well then, definitely, purchase. However, if you know that you’re only going to need a few pages or chapters in order to do your homework or that the price is a pretty much sensitive subject to your budget, then, by all means, rent. Also, with a rental order on our website, you can always change your mind and purchase the book.
- To complete the “textbook cycle,” you can choose to sell the textbooks you no longer need. Using them as part of your room decorum might not be the most profitable idea (unless, of course, you are looking for ways to monetize your interior design hobby and create a start-up). To do that, simply quote the ISBNs of the books you have, create a buyback order, and after it is processed, promptly receive your compensation.
Discounts and Coupons
This one is more of a “go-with-the-flow” tip. It’s hard to predict exactly if they will be there for you when you need them the most, but at least you can find some info about the websites that usually offer them. Also, you can use websites that specifically gather such intel and disclose it to the masses (like offers.com, retailmenot.com, promocodewatch.com, coupons.com, dealspotr.com, and many others). It’s the perfect place to note that we currently also have a 7% extra cash coupon code for all our buyback orders: START17.
Long story short, whenever you’re about to buy something that will cost you more than $10 (roughly, duh), search for every possible offer that will help you save on the purchase. In addition, check out the options that your student union offers (or any equivalent one, for that matter). Signing up with them may help you save on a wide range of things, from books to food.
Plus, don’t be shy to participate in contests (we currently have one on our Facebook page) and giveaways. You will not win every time, but at least you’re giving yourself a shot at receiving a nice and unexpected surprise.
Your Budget and Free Time
Though the fall semester has already started, now is still a good time to create a budget to live according to in the next months. Your budget consists of not just the plan you create and solemnly swear to adhere to it but also of your daily spending habits. What starts with innocent virtual window-shopping very often ends up with mindless purchases that have a drastic effect on the credit card. Give yourself some time to cool down after seeing some awesome thing you wish you’d had. Get your priorities straight and make a well-thought-out decision in cold blood.
In case this type of procrastinating is more like a habit that helps you clear your head, try switching to something more useful or at least safe. Instead of walking on the edge with your time and money, try building up your habits step by step. Moreover, you can try creating a habit tracker that will notably help you with your spending plan. Next time you feel the urge to do anything to put off doing what you have to do, just find some activity that will do you good, not merely kill your time (read, have a walk, create a bucket list, sign up for ballet, create a sitcom script, etc.).
On top of all the aforementioned facts, be careful with spending on the things you do in your free time, be it going to the movies or a bar, chilling in a spa, trying out floatation therapy or cryotherapy (or something equally fancy). Try to wait up till a promo code appears or a discount, and always remember to write it down in your budget plan. This way, it will be much easier for you to avoid unpleasant surprises at the end of the month and adjust your spending habits.
To know how much cash you will get for the textbooks you have, type the ISBN (or the title) of the item into the search box on our main page or simply scan the book’s barcode on the backside of the cover with your smartphone’s camera using our app (which is available on both Android and iOS).