The More You Know, The More you Save: Textbook Edition

For high school students, textbooks are provided at no cost. One tough-to-get-used-to aspect of the transition to college is that textbooks have to be purchased, and they're not cheap! In fact, the College Board estimates that the average annual cost for books and supplies at a four-year institution is $1168! According to the Government Accountability Office, textbooks equate to approximately 25% of the cost of tuition and fees at state universities and over 70% at community colleges.

However, you can quit nervously speculating about taking a second job, becaue there are cost-saving measures available! They include: shopping online, renting textbooks, or purchasing used books. It's also possible that some textbooks may be available for your e-reader, which may well mean you spend less.

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • New textbooks (especially in hardback) will probably have the highest cost.
  • Used textbooks will generally cost less (though they will not always be in perffect condition).
  • Rental textbooks may be available through some bookstores and online vendors, and this option could be even less expensive (though you should be aware of any possible hidden costs, such as late fees).
  • E-books will often be the least expensive option, when availble (though this option will require a compatible device).

In purchasing textbooks, as in many aspects of your financial life, a little research can go a long way to a better bottom line.