Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
Well budgeteers, my credentials just got a little more legit. On Wednesday, I started my master’s program. While my financial qualifications are completely self-proclaimed, I will now have a piece of paper that states I’m a graduate level communication and leadership guru. That’s right; in just 24 more credit hours you can call me Budget Brittany, master of the arts and possessor of professional communication and leadership. Snazzy!
While my glorious title momentarily distracted me from the realities of graduate school, I was hastily reminded once my syllabuses came in. It was at that point that I began to have vivid flashbacks of me standing in the Valdosta State University bookstore holding the dreaded piece of paper that outlined my imminent doom and the overpriced books that would transport me there. The smell of textbooks still makes me shudder to this day. My doctor calls it allergies . . . I on the other hand, know it only as fear.
Thus, my purpose became clear. I, Budget Brittany, would need to find another way to buy my books that didn’t require me to take entry into the coliseum, otherwise known as the school bookstore. I am happy to report that I found a solution that is quick, easy, and most of all, budget friendly. It’s called Amazon Student.
It’s basically an Amazon Prime membership at half the price. For the first six months, you get free two-day shipping on Prime eligible purchases, deals and promotions exclusively for students, and will even receive $10 credits when you refer friends. After the six-month promotional period, you will pay just $39 a year! Additionally, once you become a paying member you get to borrow free kindle books which comes in really handy, especially if you are taking literature classes.
To register for Amazon Student, all you need is a valid .edu address and a credit card. I know what some of you are thinking, why should I pay for a discount? Sure, I had the same concern, but this is how I quantified it. If you are an undergraduate student, 12 hours or four classes is considered full-time. In one year, that is eight classes that will at the very least require eight books. Shipping on each book would be $3.99 apiece, so in total you are paying $31.92 just for shipping alone. Let’s say one of your books can be bought on your Kindle. A Kindle book from Amazon normally costs $10, but as an Amazon Student member, you get to borrow the book for free and can return it whenever you want.
If you don’t feel like you can make the most out of a yearly membership, there are some other ways to save money on schoolbooks.
1. Check your local and school library. While the library will likely only carry one copy of the book you need, it’s worth checking because it’s free.
2. See if your school has a book-renting program. This is a really common program that allows students to pay to use a book at a percentage of the wholesale cost. Students can save as much as 80 percent. If your school doesn’t have this program, there are online book rental companies like bookrenter.com. To rent, all you need is the books basic information like ISBN, title and author.
3. Inquire about earlier editions. Most professors have students buy the latest edition of every textbook, but most new editions have changes as minor as one new picture in a 700-page book. You can save a lot of money just by going with an earlier edition of a book.
4. Buy used. While this practice is not going to save you tons of money, every little bit counts. Most students sell their books back after the class ends, so when you buy it, you are essentially getting a new book that might have been used for five months.
5. Shop the competitors of your school’s bookstore. If you live in a college town, you have likely seen locally owned bookstores pop up all around you. The goal of these stores is to get you to buy books from them and not your school. Their prices are often fairly competitive.
6. Cut out the middleman. Many students have started selling their books to other students on their own. Check for flyers on your school’s bulletin boards and even search for communities on Facebook. If you have a large group of school friends, start your own community. With the outrageous prices of textbooks, it is not uncommon to see students hold book swaps where no cash is exchanged, and they swap books they have already used for books they need. It’s a bit of a revolution.
That’s all I have for you this week budgeteers. I have changed the address to my current Facebook page to www.facebook.com/BudgetBrittany. It’s the same page, just easier to search and find. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter