How much do college students spend on textbooks? The price continues to climb. According to CollegeBoard, the average college student spends $1,200 per year (!) on textbooks and materials for their classes.
This means that, on average, students spend about $100 per textbook. Some classes require books that easily exceed this number—especially if you’re in a class where the professor requires you to buy their textbook, like my college poetry teacher who made us buy all her books.
(*Insert eye roll*)
Here are some way college students can save money on college textbooks.
How Can I Save Money On Textbooks?
Here are a few tips to help you save cash on textbooks (and everything else) while you’re in college.
1. Buy Used Books (Or Rent)
There’s really only one time you should buy your textbooks new from the bookstore: when there’s literally no other option. Buy used or rent textbooks whenever possible.
Your best options are websites like Chegg, textbookrentals.com, and Amazon Rentals. Be sure to compare prices on all these sites before you buy or rent. It only takes a minute, and you’ll easily save more money.
2. Bookshare With Classmates or Friends
Use classmates and friends to save money on textbooks. Unless your professor or university prohibits it, there’s no reason you can’t split the cost of a textbook with one or two classmates. Just make sure you split them with people you like and trust.
By the way, you can still do this even if it’s a textbook you need to write answers in. Just agree ahead of time that whoever has the textbook has to make photocopies of the assigned pages for the other people you’re sharing with.
3. Go Digital!
Most used textbook services now offer a digital option. Instead of ordering a hardcover book that costs $200, you can order a digital version for a fraction of the price. Some sites even do digital rentals. You’ll end up paying pennies on the dollar compared to what you’ll spend at the campus bookstore.
4. Cut Costs In Other Areas
All your expenses are related. If you save money on textbooks but spend too much on food or alcohol, you’ll still run out of money.
The easiest, most powerful way to save money in college is to follow this one-step plan. Sorry if that sounded clickbait-y. If you don’t want to read the article, the bulk of the advice is to save 10% of every dollar you ever make. Learn to live on the 90% and automate how that 10% is saved. This way you always pay yourself first and have a nest egg to lean on if you need it.
5. Use The Library!
You know that big building with the books in it? The one in the middle of campus? Yeah, they built that thing for a reason.
Actually, most college libraries stock the textbooks for popular prerequisite courses like mathematics, anatomy, or chemistry. The campus library likely won’t have all of your books, but it doesn’t hurt to check. Even one will save you money.
So, how much do college students spend on textbooks? Around $1,200 per year, but you can easily cut this number in half or more by shopping smart.