Childfreelife’s Weblog

{June 30, 2008}   Little Chunk: Saving on School Supplies

Part of my nightlife is spent investing in myself.  I don’t have to worry about leaving kids with a sitter or burdening my husband with their care.  As a childfree person, I do not have to save up money for someone else to go to college, I can spend it on myself and increase my value to employers and society now.  I contribute to society in my career and the more I learn the more I can do to that end.  I work in the bankruptcy field, helping people get a fresh start on life.  I also know how much I want to avoid bankruptcy!  So I find ways to invest in myself without getting further in debt.   And to that end, I try to save as much money going back to school while still getting a great education.

One of my largest expenses going back to school has been the school books.  When I was a freshman, I foolishly paid full price for all my books in the school bookstore.  It was just financial aid money then, but the deal is, I am now paying all that back now in student loans.  Now that I am back to school for a professional certificate, I know better that I need to save money on anything I can.  Legal textbooks are terribly expensive.  Some books cost nearly $200.  That is almost as much as the tuition for the course!

This term I lucked out and purchased my book on ebay for a deeply discounted price, at the school bookstore the price is over an hundred dollars, I got mine for $12.  If you figure out your classes ahead of time, you can save major money buying your books online.  Try, ebay, powell’s and amazon.  For classes I know that the latest material won’t matter, I buy the prior editions of books, sometimes they haven’t even changed the questions at the back of the chapters!  This way I can get my books for just a few dollars compared to hundreds.  If I realize a week into the term that getting the prior edition was a mistake, my risk was only worth a few dollars extra.  And if I am in the clear and the old edition is okay, then I have saved a bundle.  So far I have only missed one test question because I had the older book.  I have only tested this method in my paralegal courses, so I can’t vouch for how it works in other fields.  Considering that the older books are usually under $10 I think it is a risk worth taking, if you don’t need the newest book, you have saved a bundle.

I remember my first time around in college, I also bought a lot of fancy school supplies.  School supplies, I didn’t really need and that cost a lot of money because they were pretty or colorful.  Now I am still using up those old supplies, and when I do need to buy new ones, I just get the standard no frills stuff.  I don’t need a five dollar notebook.  I can take notes that I won’t read again after the term is over on a cheap legal pad and get just as much out of it.  I also don’t need seperate supplies for each class, one note pad and pen will do just fine for all my classes as long as I label my notes properly.


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