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How to Save Money in College

Updated on June 18, 2013
The latest textbook I sold on craigslist. I bought it used for $50 and sold it $30. The new price at the school book store was $85. Total cost to me - $20.
The latest textbook I sold on craigslist. I bought it used for $50 and sold it $30. The new price at the school book store was $85. Total cost to me - $20.

College Costs money

Books prices are ridiculous these days for college. Chances are, you're not even going to use the book you paid a couple hundred dollars for, ever again after that quarter or semester. So how can you save yourself tons of money during your years in college? You can't haggle your way to lower tuition costs but you can spend less on your "required" textbooks and even sell them when your done with the class. If you do this right, your college text books could cost you next to nothing or even end up being free after selling them and recouping your costs.

Tips for Meeting Craigslist Buyers or Sellers Safely

  • Don't go alone
  • Meet during the day
  • Look over the product/count the money in front of the person and before leaving
  • Meet somewhere that there will be people present
  • Agree on a safe location
  • Don't give out your address, only state what part of town you live on when trying to decide on a mutually beneficial location.

Craigslist Textbook Buying Guide

  • Check which books you will be needing for the upcoming semester or quarter. For each textbook, write down the title, author, edition and ISBN. It is also very helpful to have a picture of the correct textbook to reference quickly. You should also go to your school's book store and find out how much they are charging for those textbooks new and used. These ideas help you know if you're getting a good deal and that you are getting the correct book. Nothing is worst than showing up on the first day of class with the wrong book.
  • Make sure to check if the textbook you need for class includes any kind of one time use, online code. If so, check how much they cost on their own. Sometimes it is just cheaper to buy it new that buy the book used and then the code separate.
  • Log onto Craigslist for your city and state or your college's city and state. In the search bar, type in the course you are taking (MATH 1524) or the ISBN of the textbook you are looking for.
  • Textbooks go fast on Craigslist if they are inexpensive. So, look at the more recent listings. Find the cheapest one and read the listing and look at the picture. Make sure this is the book you are looking for.
  • Call, text or e-mail the person who listed the textbook. Use whatever method they have provided and stated to be preferred. Let them know your interested and what textbook it is you want.
  • Even if the price of the book is acceptable to you, try offering 5-10 below what they are asking. They might actually give it to you for less than you would have accepted.
  • Agree on a price, time and place to meet.
  • Buy your book and save money.

Craigslist Textbook Selling Guide

  • When you list a textbook, you want to make sure that the person looking for it will find it and find everything they need to know about the book. Think about the things you would look for if you were looking to buy that textbook.
  • You don't need to "sell" your textbook by saying how great of a book it was or anything like that. If someone is looking for your textbook, they most likely have to have it for school. They could care less if it was a good read or not.
  • Go to your campus book store and check the price of the textbook you are going to sell. Find out what it costs new and used. If your college bookstore has a buyback program, find out how much they are offering for your textbook. Most of the time, the school bookstore offers less money than what a stranger would pay you for your book.
  • Decide how much you want to get for your text book. If the bookstore is charging $100 for the same book, you are going to want to ask for less or people will just buy from the book store.
  • Go on Craigslist and search for the book you want to sell. Check how much others are selling the same book for. This will give you an idea of how much competition you have to sell your book.
  • Decide on a price and make a listing on Craigslist for your textbook. If you want $55 for your book, list it at $60 just in case someone is willing to pay more. If a person isn't willing to pay $60, chances are they will contact you and make and offer that is lower. It is then your choice to accept it or not.
  • Your listing needs to include the author, title, ISBN, picture, condition, price, location and contact information for the best chance at selling.
  • If no one responses for a while, make sure your posting is still active, if not, renew it. You will have the best shot of selling your book if you post it about 2 weeks before the start of school. Re-post it 1 week before school starts to make sure it isn't getting buried under a bunch of other postings.
  • Once someone contacts you, agree of a price, time and date to meet.
  • Sell your book and smile!


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      megameghan 4 years ago

      I still believe that buying used and selling used is the way to go. I'll use a site like and just comparative shop. When I'm done, I do the same, since they can shop for the best price to sell your book from. I think renting seems cheaper, but in the end, if you're savvy about buying and selling textbooks, you will save more money that way then renting.