Mar 10

Building Credit In College

When people hear students and credit cards used in the same sentence, it probably conjures up memories of some horror story they heard about a college student who racked up tens of thousands of credit card debt.

While these stories do exist, most college students have enough sense to realize that spending more than you can pay can have terrible consequences. Building credit in college can be a good way to get better rates on auto loans when you graduate, make it more likely that you can get approved for an apartment/mortgage in the future and generally save you some money on interest rates in the future.

A couple of ways to protect yourself from getting into trouble with your credit card:

- Only buy 1-2 things per month and pay them off immediately. By limiting your card to small purchases, you can protect yourself from getting into any debt.

- You might try to talk your parents into working out a deal where the card is in your name, but the bill goes to them. They pay the bill and you pay them back. This makes sure the bill gets paid every month and holds you accountable by having to answer to your parents if you spend more than you should.

Cards like Discover it™ for Students are a good fit because there is no annual fee, there are opportunities to get cash back on purchase, and it gives you a chance to build your credit over your 4 years of college. This is beneficial because you’ll have a lengthy credit history and you will also have demonstrated for 4 years that you have paid your bills on time.

Obviously, you should be very careful in opening up a credit card and make sure you always have the money to pay off whatever you purchase, but getting started early can be a great way to put yourself in a good credit position post-college.

Disclaimer: The advice in this blog is for informational purchases only. This does not constitute professional advice. If you are looking for professional advice, please speak to a professional. makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness or validity of any of the information on this site and will not be liable for any omissions, errors, or losses and damages that may result from its use.

Jul 25

Case Study: Buying Or Renting Textbooks Online

While you might have already seen our list of recommended retailers for buying your college textbooks online, we thought we might provide a case study to demonstrate just how much money you can save by looking outside of your college bookstore.

For our study today, we took a sample freshmen schedule and compared the best prices we could find online with the prices offered by that student’s bookstore. Here are the results:
Read the rest of this entry »

May 28

Buying College Textbooks Online Can Save You Big Money

When you begin your search for college textbooks, you’ll find, if you haven’t already, that most of them are very expensive. Typically, you should expect to spend a few hundred dollars every semester, which can be quite a drain on your bank account. However, shopping at places like Amazon and Chegg can help keep those expenses to a minimum.

The key to buying textbooks, is to search in many different places. Rarely does your college bookstore have the best prices available, so it is important to look online, as you can find much better deals on used and even new books by buying your college textbooks online at places like Amazon. Since your college bookstore doesn’t have much competition on campus, they can keep their prices higher. But online, with the variety of book sites out there, these stores have to compete to get your purchase, so textbooks are usually offered at lower rates.

If you search online for textbooks, you could save hundreds of dollars. Often you’ll hear people complaining about spending more than $500 dollars on their books, but usually that is because they bought them from their campus bookstore. However, you can be the smarter consumer by just taking an hour or so to do your research, and you can almost always find much better deals by buying or renting your college textbooks online.

First begin by getting the ISBN numbers for your courses from either your college website or bookstore, and if they aren’t available online, write to your professors or school and ask them to give them to you. Then, search through the following sites to see which ones have the best prices available. There is a brief description of each of the sites to give you some background info. Also, check out the 6 tips at the end of the post that will help you get the best possible value when purchasing your college textbooks.

1. BookBagging

BookBagging is a great site to start because it is a one-stop shop for all of your college textbook needs. This site allows you to put in your book ISBN numbers and it will search nearly all of the sites on this top 10 list, saving you both time and money as it will list out the best prices for all of these sites. BookBagging is one of the easiest ways to find the cheapest prices for your books.

2. Amazon Textbooks

Amazon is probably one of the most trusted and most reliable brands out there, so that’s why Amazon Textbooks are a great place to start your search for the best prices.

3. Chegg

Rent from Chegg and save trees. 468x60 is another one of the most well-know textbook sites out there, and justifiably so. Year-in and year-out, students find Chegg to be the best textbook rental site. You can almost always save a lot of money by going through Chegg for your textbooks.

4. Bookbyte

Bookbyte is one more textbook site with cheap options and quick service. They advertise that most of their books are shipped within 24 hours, so you’ll get your books on time and if you need to return them if the used book you buy is not up to par, then you can quickly get a new one.


How can a place called Textbooks not be a good place to shop for your college textbooks online? You can buy or rent your books here, and they have a huge selection of used books, so you should be able to find some great deals here. Also, they have free shipping on orders over $25, so you don’t have to factor in that added expense when comparing the prices with the bookstore.

6. AbeBooks Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.

Although probably not as well known as some of the other online textbook sites, AbeBooks has a very wide selection of books available at very reasonable prices, so this might be a good option for your college textbook needs.

7. eCampus - Rent or Buy is a great place to look for college textbooks, especially used ones. Plus, they’ve added textbook rentals to their site, so this is a good place to look if you are interested in renting your books for the semester.

8. Alibris

Alibris Alibris is another online textbook store that is known for having some of the best prices for textbooks on the internet. They have a great selection of books available and usually at pretty good prices compared to your college bookstore, so this could be a great place to start.

9. Campus Book Rentals

Rent Textbooks and Save! Campus Book Rentals is a good textbook rental site that gives you a huge inventory of books for your rental needs. They have a bundle discount when you rent three or more textbooks, so if you get a lot of your books from them, you can get extra savings. They say they are the no-nonsense approach to rentals and they live up to it by having an easy interface to navigate and clear terms for their rentals.

10. BookRenter

BookRenter is the last, but not least, site to get your textbooks from. They have over five million textbooks available to rent, so you shouldn’t have much problem finding your books here. Additionally, they allow you to write and highlight in your books, a feature that few rental sites allow, so this makes it very similar to actually owning the textbooks.

*There are plenty of other textbook stores other than the ones in this list, so if you don’t think any of the prices on these seem good for you, search around for others. Also, it might be the case that your college bookstore has better prices than any of the ones offered here, so always check them out as well.

Textbook Tips

Tip #1: While renting textbooks is usually less of an upfront cost, don’t forget to consider the money you can get back from selling them at the end of the semester. Most of the time you can get at least 50% of what you paid. Sometimes, people have even profited selling them back online!

Tip #2: If you work better writing notes in your books, then you should probably purchase your textbooks. Then the book is yours and you can mark it up all you want, without worrying about keeping it in perfect condition so that you won’t have to pay for it if you rented it. Plus, you can still sell the marked-up book back for a good percentage of what you paid.

Tip #3: If you think the price for a book is way too high and will probably come down, then wait. Often prices will fluctuate and you might be able to find a better deal later. The key is to start searching today though, so that you have time to be patient.

Tip #4: Contrary to tip #3, if you think the price of a book seems cheap, then purchase it today. If it is a good deal, you can be sure other people will act quickly and purchase it.

Tip #5: Check older editions of books. Many times there are negligible differences between old and new editions, so you can save a bundle if your professor doesn’t require the newest edition.

Tip #6: Be aware that some courses require online access codes for parts of the course, and this may only come with the purchase of a new textbook. In addition, be careful and read a full description of any used book you are buying. Most of the time you can get much better deals buying used, but sometimes these books might be very damaged or have a lot of writing in them, so try to look at any pictures and read the description before you make your purchase.

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photo credit: LifeSupercharger

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