Old Books, New Tricks

If you’ve recently had the good fortune to return to (or start) college this fall, you’re faced with a lot of expenses. Tuition, rent, food, even OrderUp is worse than you remember it being. And if you’re also like me, you have a grand total of $20 in your bank account. So splitting up whatever you have among your academic and social life is rough.

One area you can really keep yourself in the black is in the books themselves – textbooks! You may not think of them as a big part of your budget, but depending on where you get them, they can really chalk up the debt.

For the past year, I’ve made a point of avoiding going to the university bookstore to get my textbooks. To see how much I’ve saved, I decided to look at my current batch of books:

DSCN1842.jpgThey certainly look fun. (kidding!) It’s a very science/math heavy course load, and I’ve noticed they tend to be more expensive than the normal Psych or gen. ed. textbooks I’m used to. But let’s see exactly what I paid vs. what the Hawkshop would sell them for…

Research Methods in Psychology –

Hawkshop: $133.35

Amazon: $78.35

Statistics –

Hawkshop: $288.19

Amazon: $37.79

Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind –

(New @Bookstore): $179.06

Amazon: $126.94

Calculus with Applications –

Hawkshop: $225.20

Amazon: $156.42

Introductory Chemistry Essentials –

Hawkshop: $55 (online book)

Amazon: $70.80


As you can see, for almost every book, it is waayyyy cheaper on another site, as opposed to the university bookstore. The only weird case was that my Cognitive Psych book was only available online, but that’s rare.

When it comes to which online source is the best, I have to vouch heavily for Amazon. I compared prices on Half.com, Chegg, and even eBay, but Amazon won almost every single time.

I also personally buy all of my textbooks (my fatal flaw) because I have the crazy mindset I might want to look back at them for reference someday, although I can’t imagine poring through “Calculus with Applications” for fun in a couple years. Other than that, buying them lets you mark them up and highlight as much as you want, and not have to worry about returning them at a certain time or getting an extra bill. At the very least, you can always sell them back to another poor student.

Hopefully this helps anyone looking to save some money for the more important things in life (e.g. coffee)! Comment below if you have any other recommendations for cutting costs in college.



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