The 2019 results are in! College students spent 23% less on textbooks than in the previous year. Once the holiday festivities have ended and the glitter has been swept off the floor, you can start the new semester with even more savings. Make sure to stay on trend, and ring in the new year with these textbook buying tips:

Talk to Professors

College professors have access to resources typical students don’t. Talk to them. See which books on the syllabus have older editions that will suffice for their class. If cost is an issue, ask if they know of other textbook options. Sometimes professors receive copies for free from textbook companies, and they may have one to spare. Be ahead of the curve. When you know your instructors for the next semester, e-mail them ahead of time and get the jump on textbook buying and borrowing before the back-to-school rush.

Rent (but Return!)

Don’t want to buy that French book for a mandatory foreign language course that you’ll never use again? Rent it instead. Renting textbooks can be more affordable than purchasing them. Be sure to read the fine print and be mindful of late fees, however. Missing the due date for textbook returns, even by a few days, can cause them to accumulate serious fines.

Go Online

Renting or purchasing electronic versions of textbooks is often a cheaper alternative for students. Unfortunately, online resources come with their own level of risk. Be mindful of viruses and other forms of malware when digitally downloading textbook files. To avoid problems, make sure to install antivirus software and keep your other software up to date on your computer and other electronic devices.

Visit the Library

The campus library should be the first stop on your textbook buying journey. Check out the library’s online databases for hard copies or digital versions of your textbooks. Often, professors will at least put copies on reserve for in-library use. You can also see if editions of your textbook are available via interlibrary loan.

Buy Used

Used textbooks can save students serious cash. Hit the online hubs and campus bookstores early to find the best deals.


In the past couple of years, some textbook publishing companies have started offering subscription services. College students can pay one affordable semester fee that allows unlimited access to digital course materials, including many textbooks.

Sell Back Last Semester’s Books

Are there any books from last semester lying around your dorm room? You can squeeze a few dollars out of each book you don’t intend to keep. If campus bookstores don’t want your textbooks back, go online. In addition, note if campus bookstores and websites offer guaranteed buy-back options that ensure a specific upfront price for returned products.

Once you’ve lived away from your parents, your old home (and perhaps hometown) feels different. You’ve changed, your friends from high school have probably changed, and you may even find that your bedroom has been converted to a guest room. Things may not be the same as you remember, but you can definitely still enjoy yourself while you’re home for the holidays. Just follow these holiday survival tips.

Expect Rules at Home

You’re used to living by your own rules. You can stay out as late as you want without telling anyone. You can sleep in late, eat cereal for dinner, have friends over until 3 a.m. — the list goes on and on. Now you’re under your parents’ roof again, and they may not be so keen on your new habits. At the very least, they’ll want to know (or try to tell you) what time you’ll be home by.

As tough as it is to relinquish your freedom, remember that your folks get to make the rules in their own home. Talk to them ahead of time. Do they still want you to have a curfew? Do they mind if you eat all the food in the cupboard? Knowing what your parents expect can help you avoid unpleasant surprises during your visit. Also, taking the time to ask about (and follow!) their rules shows them that you’re responsible. Doing chores is another way to win brownie points. Hopefully, in time, they’ll treat you more like an adult.

Be Prepared for Questions

You may be asked a barrage of questions, especially if you have extended family visiting. What do you plan to do when you graduate? Who do you hang out with? Are you seeing anyone? What happened to that last boy you were dating? Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with intrusive questions, but if they do come up, you can redirect the subject to something like the Ultimate Frisbee team you just joined.

Ask About Your Old Bedroom

While some parents like to keep their child’s room the same, even once they’ve grown up and moved away to college, others seem to have long awaited this moment. They now get to finally have a craft or exercise room. This isn’t the type of thing you want to find out the moment you open your old bedroom door. Before you go home, ask about any major changes your family made around the house.

Make Time for Old Friends

One of the best parts of visiting home — aside from the free, homecooked meals — is seeing your friends from high school. It’s a good idea to make plans in advance, especially if any of you work part-time during the holidays. Try not to feel too surprised if you see a noticeable difference in any of your friends. This is a time of change for all of you!

Visiting your family for the holidays can be a bit stressful, but seeing everyone again is worth it. Try following these tips, and it should ease the transition.