Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have graduated! Or you are looking at Birmingham-Southern College and wondering if it could be THE school for you. OR you are about to start at another college or uni in the fall and are looking for some tips to save that DOUGH, YO!
…… Okat, I’m done.
Whatever the case, I am super excited for you! College is one of THE BEST and most LIFE-CHANGING experiences I have ever had! During my time at Birmingham-Southern, I have lived on campus and off campus and living my best broke college student life! Because of my experiences and because I know what you are about to walk into this fall, I have a great tip for you to save money and lower the stress level a bit:
BUY YOUR TEXTBOOKS IN ADVANCE
Before you even start school, you have probably been sent a schedule of your classes for the fall. The numbers, letters, and names seem meaningless right now, but they will carry far greater meaning by the end of the first semester.
Because you have your schedule, it’s time to take advantage of it! A lot of people wait till syllabus day to get a list of the books they need. That’s what I did during my first semester. I waited till everyone else was getting books and that was my first mistake. NOTHING prepared me for the frenzy in the BSC Bookstore.
People grabbing onto books everywhere talking to their parents or guardians on the phone and comparing prices to Amazon to try and save as much money as possible. People carry around their books and syllabi in one hand and try to grab the used books with the other. There were books that were quickly out of stock and the stress and pressure of getting the books settled in.
Since then, I found ways to get textbooks for cheap or FREE and with less stress. Another benefit I discovered with this is having my textbooks ahead of time sets me up for a strong semester ahead!
Here’s how I do it and how YOU can do it:
- College Bookstore Website
On the BSC website, under the menu section, there is an icon for the Bookstore. Once you click that it will take you to the BSC Bookstore web page.
Under the textbooks tab, there is another tab, BUY/RESERVE, which takes you to a textbook price comparison page. Not many BSC students know about this helpful tool.
This tool allows you to put in the term, the department (example, HI, for History), the course number, and the professor. Once this information was filled out, the course will pop up and the price comparison button will show you all of your textbooks you need for that course!
What was so nifty about this resource is that it divides prices by rental and buying, buying new or used, buying from BSC bookstore or online, and so on. It shows you every possible option so that you may get the very best (AND CHEAPEST) deal for your textbooks!
On random Hope note, I sometimes copy the ISBN and paste it in Amazon if I choose to buy the book from Amazon because I have Amazon Prime. Do make sure it is the same edition in case your professor assigns certain pages. That gives me even more options for used or new copies and I can usually get my books in two days depending on who I buy it from. There is a college student deal with Amazon right now where you can get 6 months free for prime shipping and all access (in case you didn’t know)!
Depending on the class, I usually don’t rent my textbooks unless I know I will not be using the material again. For example, I kept my books from Reforming America with Dr. Ott and used those for Story of Freedom with Dr. Hustwit because I am a history major and those classes’ materials intertwined and were useful for papers!
Whereas my giant, 60-pound art history textbook, was rented and returned through Amazon promptly…
Sometimes BSC has good deals and if you do end up buying from them online, they will have the books ready for you to simply pick up at the store and checkout with your fresh new student ID!
AND if you are not going to BSC in the fall, but are attending another college or university, check if your bookstore has a website OR check Amazon for your textbooks!
2. FREETEXTBOOKS APP
I had not heard of FreeTextbooks until my sophomore year! FreeTextbooks is a company that buys and sells textbooks back from students to buy and sell back to other students! It is a way for students to make money from their books at the end of the year by selling their textbooks to a FreeTextbooks Rep (which I am) and making more money than they usually would at the school’s bookstore!
FreeTextbooks is a great app to have right before you start school and keep on your phone throughout the semester! Throughout the semester they have representatives who give out free food and such to people who have the app! It is a great little surprise to diminish those Monday blues.
At the beginning of last semester, I entered my classes onto the app to see the prices for my textbooks and see if they were better than Amazon. To my surprise, all but one of my books was cheaper than on Amazon! And five of them were $0.00!! Free! I did not have to pay a dime or shipping for some of my books! Most of those books were used but were in great condition!
When you are shopping for your textbooks, I would download the app and compare their prices as well!
I hope these resources are helpful to you! If you and I can invest some of our time early on to save a couple hundred dollars, later on, your time in college will be a bit more smooth and a little less stressful!