Renting Textbooks Cuts Down College Costs

Whether you're a recent high school graduate or an adult hoping to pick up a new trade, attending college can -- and will -- put a major strain on your finances. Tuition, meal plans, housing and beer kegs can add up to a colossal chunk of change. Samantha Whitehurst, winner of this month's Frugal $ense contest, is empathetic to this and offers some thrifty advice regarding one of college's most tedious expenses: buying textbooks. How did you get your idea?

Samantha Whitehurst: Ever since I've been back in school I've been trying to find ways to save money because tuition is going up through the roof. So I started looking around online, seeing if I could at least buy cheaper textbooks, and then I found that you can rent textbooks through a website called I could rent the textbooks for like, 75% off of what I could buy them for. I don't need the textbooks after the class is over, so it was a huge savings. Why have you returned to school?

Samantha Whitehurst: I decided to return to school because I'm looking to get into a new career. I do accounts receivable at a community college here in North Carolina, and I just really miss working with people. So I'm returning to school in hopes of pursuing a degree in human resources. How long have you been renting textbooks?

Samantha Whitehurst: I've been back in school for a year now, and I've saved a ton of money. I compared the cost during my first semester, and the books were going to be about $300 altogether. I ended up getting all three books I needed for $75, so I saved $225 right there. Is renting textbooks easy to do?

Samantha Whitehurst: The process is very easy. Just log on and look up the book using its ISBN number. They ship it to you within a week. When it's time to return it, they send you boxes or envelopes and let you print out labels so you can send it back for free through UPS. Do you have any other frugal tips for college students?

Samantha Whitehurst: When you rent your textbooks online, they always ask if you have a promo code. I definitely recommend searching for one online. I love one site called Just type in in the search box on the site, and it'll bring up promo codes such as 5% off of your rental or free shipping. Using promo codes can save you even more money.