When thinking about the cost of college, tuition is the first thing that comes to every student’s mind. But what about the surprise costs? In today’s marketplace, everything has a hidden fee, right? When you buy a car, they show you the cost of the car, and then they show charges like a delivery fee, a preparation fee, a title fee and a license fee. This adds up to quite a bit of extra cost, and this extra cost will often times help you decide whether you can afford to buy the car or not.
With college, a basic list of “hidden” costs includes pens, pencils, notebooks, computer supplies, books and lab fees. The sneaky troublemakers on this list are the books. The word “book” sounds non-frightening enough, but you can’t judge a book by its cover. The average college textbook will cost a student around $150. To bring this in to perspective, the average college student is taking anywhere from two to five classes per term. If each class requires one textbook (some classes use multiple books), a student who is taking four classes is paying roughly $600 per term just for textbooks. Combine these book fees with the cost of supplies and lab fees, and the final “hidden” dollar amount is enough to have a dramatic impact on the overall cost of your college education.
Since these costs are hard to avoid (passing a class without using the textbook is like eating a frozen pizza without cooking it) you might ask, “What are college students doing to cover these expenses?” In many colleges, a student can cover the cost of their textbooks by using student loans. But, if your textbook is $100 when you buy it, plan on it costing you about $130 by the time you have paid off your loans. And by that time, your book will be outdated, and worth a couple of dollars at best.
Another way to tackle the textbook beast is to pay cash for your books. But “paying cash” doesn’t necessarily mean paying full price. Many college students are already aware of this, but to make sure we are playing fair, it’s time to tell everybody the secret about textbooks. Used books are as good as new books, except better. How are they better? Well, just like a car, the resale price of a book goes down once it leaves the store. Depending on the condition of the book, a used book will usually sell for a fraction of its original price, and in most cases all of the same vital information is still intact!
Used textbooks can be found in a number of convenient locations. Your college book store is a good place to start, but if they don’t have what you need, go to the Internet. Websites like Amazon.com, AbeBooks.com and Valorebooks.com all do a terrific job by selling and shipping used textbooks to college students all around the world. When searching for your used textbooks online, make sure you are searching by using the ISBN number. This will ensure that you are ordering the correct edition of the book. Like gasoline, the cost of college textbooks will likely continue to rise. But, no matter how high new book costs go; used books will always be cheaper. Get used to buying your books used and keep your college investment as inexpensive as possible.