[This post is part of a group writing project titled “Back to School” on the Personal Finance Network. You may also want to check out Work, Life and School for Graduate Students by Clever Dude, Back To School: Get Your Educational Finances In Order by Four Pillars, Frugally and Happily Back to School 9 Different Ways by Money Ning, An Empty Wallet Isn’t Required for Back to School by Blunt Money and Dorm Room Essentials Checklist by Squawkfox from other members of the network.]
How time flies! It seems like we celebrated Canada Day just the other day and here we are, with just two weeks to go until Labour Day. With my kids in daycare and my university days well in the past, I don’t have many brilliant tips to share but one — if you buy used textbooks online, you could save a bundle.
Last semester, my spouse was enrolled in a graduate level course and the professor set a text book that is listed at $63.50 and selling close to the cover price at the University bookshop. But head over to Amazon and you’ll find that copies of the book listed in “good” condition as low as $2.79. Of course, the list price has as much relevanceas an Air Canada advertised fare to the final bill. The total cost including shipping is $17.77, which is still a huge saving, compared to the cover price. The only downside is that the book can take as long as four weeks to arrive, so it is best to order early. If you don’t plan on referring to the book again, you may even be able to sell it at the end of the semester and recoup most of your cost.
While researching this topic, I found a number of useful resources. SmartMoney lists 4 ways to save on College Textbooks and a recent issue of MoneySense magazine featured a story on free textbooks. If you have a tip on saving money on text books, let us know in the comments.
[Update: Thanks to Dave of Investing Intelligently for pointing out that AbeBooks is has a better selection than Amazon for used and international edition textbooks.]