Frugal Fridays: Textbooks, cheaper than you think

As Memorial students, we truly have it lucky. We have some of the lowest tuition rates in Canada, which makes it so much easier to complete university with a low or non-existent amount of student loans, especially compared to other schools in Canada or the United States. That being said, tuition rates are not the only costs incurred during the time spent at university. Textbooks, rent or residence fees, food, entertainment, and supplies are just a few of the other things that students often find themselves having to pay for, and these costs can really add up. However, there are some ways that students can lower their expenses; it just takes a little bit of planning.

This week, I bring to you some of the ways that students can keep their textbook costs to the bare minimum:

– The Internet is for… TEXTBOOKS! In this day and age, almost every student has Facebook. Many Memorial students will post books they have and are willing to sell at a fraction of the bookstore price. There is even a Facebook group, “MUN Used Text Book Sale”, where you can find texts that thousands of students are both selling and looking for. There are also many online stores where cheaper texts are offered, such as eBay and Amazon, that will ship you your textbook for dirt cheap. The Internet has really improved the way that we communicate, so it is optimal to take advantage of all that the online world has to offer.

– Many English classes require novels that are older, and are now in public domain. This means that the book might be widely available (totally legally) for free online. Before buying that Shakespearean play or Jane Austen’s novels, check to see if you can find a PDF or Kindle copy! “Free” is the best number, after all.

– While many students view the Queen Elizabeth II library as a place to hang out and study, believe it or not, the place is filled with books, books, and more books! You can easily go and read a few chapters out of whatever text is required for your course every few days. While this might become a bit of a hassle if someone else has the only library copy of the book you need, at least this option is totally free as well.

– Unfortunately, the second-hand bookstores that I remember fondly from my youth are dwindling. However, there are still a few in the St. John’s vicinity, and many of the thrift shops in town have a book section that is available to peruse. Many of these stores get a large number of books, and I’ve seen many textbooks on their shelves. It is definitely worth checking out a few of these second-hand spots, because you never know what kind of bargain you will find. Many offer books at least half of cover price, so you really can’t go wrong.

– As a last resort, you can always make quick friends with someone in your class, and go in on a new textbook together. This is really a win-win scenario: you get to use a new textbook for less money, and you get a study buddy ask questions and learn with!