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How much money do I need per year for books?

diana2012diana2012 Registered User Posts: 462 Member
edited May 2012 in College Life
I'm trying to save up this summer so I'll have all my book money. I'm going to Smith College and majoring in international relations/African studies and I've saved about $1,100 so far. Is that enough for a year? Too much? Too little? The website says $400+ a semester but that seems a little low to me
Post edited by diana2012 on
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Replies to: How much money do I need per year for books?

  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 Registered User Posts: 5,966 Senior Member
    It may depend on what classes you're taking. When I was taking my math and science gen eds and things like foreign language, I paid a good $500-$600 a semester on books. When I was only taking poli sci, english, and history in later years, I spent more like $200-- buying the 20 or so novels that were required reading cost a lot less than buying five or six legit textbooks.

    I didn't go to smith, but $400 seems like a decent conservative estimate for the early years to me. With your major, it will probably get cheaper as you go on.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,894 Senior Member
    You can also buy used books online or even take them out of the library (sometimes).
  • YonderMountainYonderMountain Registered User Posts: 290 Junior Member
    Depends if you are stupid enough to buy everything they list at the campus bookstore at the prices they charge there. For the vast majority of textbooks, you can get them for half the price on Amazon, or next to nothing if you buy used and maybe an edition out of date.

    My first semester I was forced to buy my books at the bookstore, and spent over $400. This semester, I spent about $200, and that includes an unfortunate situation where I bought a bunch of books for a class I didn't end up attending. At the end of the semester, I was able to sell my books for around $150, so my net cost was only $50 and I kept one book and gave away another that would have made up most of the difference had I sold them.

    One thing to consider is whether to buy an older edition (which will be much cheaper but probably won't resell) or a newer edition (which will be much more expensive but might resell for almost as much).
  • sopranokittysopranokitty Registered User Posts: 1,506 Senior Member
    It depends on your classes. I was able to save $200 on books this quarter because my suitemate let me borrow her O-Chem textbook and model kit, so the only books I purchased was a book for my introductory animal science class (got that off Amazon for $6) and a supplementary book for O-chem ($30. It was not listed on my college bookstore's site, but I got it cuz I figured it would help me).
  • soccergurl7988soccergurl7988 Registered User Posts: 896 Member
    That seems like a pretty good estimate for early semesters. Another good set of tips is that if you can get the book list for your classes early, try to search for prices at every website you can think of and compare to your campus bookstore: B&N (the member program is great at saving some money here), Amazon, Chegg, Half.com, etc. Sometimes your campus bookstore may be way cheaper, sometimes it can be up to $20-30 more. Also, if you can hold off on buying your books until you get the syllabus, you may be able to save yourself from buying books you'll never use.
  • Writer1992Writer1992 Registered User Posts: 1,072 Senior Member
    Depends on your major/classes. I only spent about 200 bucks last semester which wasn't bad but it was only that high because my physics book alone was $100. The rest of my classes were english and comm classes so it wasn't bad.
    Next semester, however will be a different story because I will be taking stats and econ where each book costs over $115. This summer I'm taking Macro where the book is nearly $200 and Calc where the book is ~$100. And this is used book I'm talking about.

    But yeah, $1,100 is plenty.
  • MD MomMD Mom Registered User Posts: 6,728 Senior Member
    $1100 will most likely cover your book bill for the year.
  • marcdvlmarcdvl Registered User Posts: 1,315 Senior Member
    Buying and selling from amazon, my net is only about 250 a year with brand new books. Keep the books in good condition.
  • Ricky93Ricky93 Registered User Posts: 147 Junior Member
    It depends on where you're purchasing the books, but generally you're probably going to need at least $500.

    A friend of mine introduced to a website called Shop.com/NEG (it's basically Amazon, but better) and I got basically got almost all my required books for either HALF or less than the bookstore or standard online pricing AND they have this program called "Cashback" which essentially gives you another % discount off whatever you're buying for less. It has like thousands of partner stores including book sites like Bookbyes, Textbooks.com, etc. so instead of just going directly to one of those textbook sites, go through the Shop.com/NEG, redirect to the book site you want, and you'll save even more.
  • rebeccarrebeccar Registered User Posts: 2,168 Senior Member
    Yeah, definitely do NOT buy from the campus bookstore unless it's absolutely necessary (like if it's a custom book for your school, and even then you may be able to buy from a previous student on Facebook or something). I keep seeing people line up at the bookstore to buy brand new editions of their textbooks when they can get them on Amazon or Half.com for SO much cheaper. I spent <$100 this semester. Not to mention you can sell those books to other students when you're done with them, sometimes for more than you even paid. I spent $9 on an Amazon textbook that was in the bookstore for $80 for the newest edition. I sold it for $20 and the girl was really happy she was getting such a "great deal".
  • waitingforivywaitingforivy Registered User Posts: 878 Member
    Related: How do you get books for less?

    Chegg.com
    Textbooksrus.com
    Amazon.com
  • wmurphy126wmurphy126 Registered User Posts: 340 Member
    How do people spend so much money on books?? I looked online at the syllabuses, typed each ISBN into amazon and the books came in used @ $40-$80 used and if you have 5 classes, thats $400 on a bad day.

    Am I missing something?
  • 3weeks3weeks Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    When I was in college my books were around $100. You can also sell books!
  • MD MomMD Mom Registered User Posts: 6,728 Senior Member
    Some science and math texts approach $200. If you are using new editions, often used books are not available.
  • icedragonicedragon Registered User Posts: 2,170 Senior Member
    I spent about 900 last year for two semesters...
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