When Should I Buy my College Textbooks?

There are always expenses in college. One of the costs you have to absorb is expensive textbooks for your classes. You might be asking when should I buy my college textbooks? There are a couple of ways to do this. Some people buy before arriving at school and some buy once they get to school. Let’s review the options and what you should do.

Once you actually get accepted into college and figure out what university you were going to attend, there’s a lot of extra preparing that you have to do. Especially when it comes to financing college, there are so many different things that you have to do in order to make sure that you are fully prepared to pay for your tuition, housing, food, and books.

All of the payments for your tuition and room and board will be taken care of by the time that you even get to school. No matter how you have to go about doing that it will have to be done before you can actually attend.

However, when it comes to buying books for all of your classes this is something that every person will do differently.

Some people will go ahead and buy all of the books that they think they will need before school starts. However, most people will buy their books after they get to college.

This is something that is very confusing when you are a first-year college student because you have never had to buy books for classes. Some teachers may send you their syllabus ahead of time so that you can buy books early and be ready day one of class, but many will not.

There are some different websites where people will rate their professors and talk about if they needed books or not, but professors may change their curriculums and you never really know what you’re going to need until you go to the first few days of classes.

It is completely understandable why certain people buy all of their books before they get to school because they want to be prepared and have less to worry about once they actually get there.

However, you could be saving so much money by not doing this.

The worst thing that you can do is spend way too much money on books that you could be spending on other things. Some classes may not even need any book at all. Believe me, it is very different for every class and every professor and your best bet is going to be to just go to the first few classes and see what the professor needs from you.

You may also run into situations where you buy a recommended book and then you do not use it. I have had that happen to me before.

Check out Libraries

When it comes to books, the main thing that you want to do is research and ask current students about the libraries at your university. Many universities will have thousands of books for each class that you can rent out at the library.

Of course, there’s usually only one or two copies of each book and you can only have it for a certain amount of time. Normally, you can’t even take it with you to your dorm, house, apartment, etc. you have to actually use it in the library.

This is good for you to know because it could save you so much time and money.

If you have a class that needs a book that you were only going to use for a few weeks, which makes it a waste of money to actually buy it. Being able to just go to the library and do the homework that you need to do with the book is really great.

This is something that many people don’t realize is available until they actually get to school and have already received a list of books that will be needed. This is why it is important to do research on your school’s website and try to ask as many current students as you know about it.

These are the types of smart things that you can do to save yourself a little bit of money here and there. Because believe me, it will all add up eventually.

For me personally, my university has a website strictly for all of the books in our library‘s.

This website shows us everything that is accessible and available to us online, and also everything that we can rent out at the actual libraries. It even tells us which library it is at if it is not at all of the libraries.

I had no idea that this website even existed until about two months after school started. I really wish that I would have known about this when I first got on campus. I got lucky and didn’t have to spend a lot of money on books during my first semester, however, some of my friends weren’t so lucky.

A lot of my friends that were in pre-med spent around $800 and $900 on their first semester books. If we would’ve known about the books available to us at the library my friends could’ve saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

Friends Textbooks

One of the best things that you can do is try and see if you know anyone who is older than you that is taking the same classes as you. Even if you know they’ve only taken one of the classes that you are taking you can see if you can use the book if they have it or buy it real cheap.

Usually, the bookstores are always the most expensive places to actually buy textbooks for college. But the trouble is, that these book stores on campus are always going to have all of the books that you need no matter what. So sometimes the only place that you can get the book you need is at the local college book store.

Especially when a professor from your university has published a book for his class or another class, this may be one of the only places that actually has a book you can get. Which in this case you are going to have to buy the book from that book store.

I lucked out a lot and had a friend who had two books for classes that I was taking my second semester. He didn’t even make me pay him for it so I saved myself around $250.

Once again these are the types of little things that will really save you a lot of money. You’ve already had to pay for tuition and everything else to do with college, trying to spend the least amount possible on books is definitely the way to go.


Something that you will figure out soon after you attend college is that the cheapest way to get books other than getting it from a friend or renting them out of the library is to actually rent them from a different website.

Amazon is known for renting college book to students for a very cheap price compared to other places like university bookstores.

I actually have first-hand experience renting books off of Amazon and it was very easy to do and cost me very little money.

I was so glad that I found this one textbook on Amazon because if not I would’ve been paying over $100 as compared to $20 or $30.

Half of the time you don’t even use the books as much as the professor says you will, so spending $300 on a book is just pointless.

You obviously have to get the books that you need and sometimes the homework is out of the books, but if you can spend as little as possible all that you are doing is helping yourself out and saving money to actually enjoy yourself at college and pay off tuition.

There are many different websites other than just Amazon that offer this type of deal.

Basically, all that you have to do is keep the book in good condition and return it by the date that it tells you too. This is definitely something that you want to look into and research and find good places for your specific university to get books from.

It is also something else that you can ask friends and current students at your university for help with. You just wanna find the best deal that you can and who would know better than people that are going through the same process as you.


Overall, no matter what you are definitely going to have to spend some money on books during college. But, there are so many different ways you can go about saving money with them that you shouldn’t have to break the bank.

Really look into renting books online, buying them off of your friends, and using books at the library. If you are already struggling with money to get through college, this is definitely something that you need to think about. But don’t worry, you’ll figure it all out and everything will work out in the end.

Recent Posts