Go paperless and look to other homeschooling families in your area
Chances are, if you homeschool your children, the money for school textbooks is coming out of your pocket. The price of homeschooling textbooks can add up fairly quickly when you figure that each elementary-school textbook costs around $100 for each. Typically you will need 4 to 5 per year to represent each core subject. However, if your child decides that he or she would like to learn a new language or subject, suddenly those extra books add up—and for books you might only need for one year of learning. Plus, paper textbooks are easily damaged, and their contents can become outdated or obsolete within just a few years (if you are planning to hand down textbooks to younger homeschool siblings).
Fortunately, we’ve put together the following list of helpful homeschool textbook resources that can help you save a lot of money.
1. Online digital textbook rentals
School textbooks that are available in digital format are created to the same public and private school curriculum that paper textbooks are. Now homeschooling children can take the advantage of digital textbook rentals, which they access online from their homes. A second advantage of digital textbooks is that they will not be damaged or lost like paper textbooks can. They cost significantly less than traditional paper textbooks, are more environmentally-friendly, and are regularly updated online to fit the most current curriculum.
2. Organize a textbook exchange
If you are hard pressed to find a textbook exchange with other homeschooling families in your city—organize one yourself! Put an invite you to nearby homeschooling families, asking them to bring unneeded textbooks to your house in exchange for textbooks they need. Many homeschool families will have a collection of school books and will gratefully trade you for the books that their children need.
3. Borrow or buy from public schools
Go to your local elementary school and ask the principal if you can borrow or buy their extra, gently used textbooks. Schools will often get textbook samples if they recently bought a new collection for the school.
4. Look to local public and religious-based libraries
Many local and religious-based libraries will carry curriculum resources in their catalogs for borrowing—in addition to learning tools like teaching aids and resources, museum passes, popular curriculum-friendly fictional titles, non-fiction books, and online language databases. Also, look you’re your library’s extended checkout policies, which many will extend to homeschoolers.
5. Work with other homeschooling groups
In most towns there are other families who decide to homeschool their children just like you! Seek out other homeschooling groups to join in your community. Even if you just find one other family, they will be a very valuable resource for information on finding homeschool grants available for your family, for trading textbooks and teaching resources, and parents may specialize in certain subjects that your children might not otherwise have access too. Other homeschooling families can be a great source of support and encouragement and you can even build a cooperative learning environment within your group.
That’s right; your college is fleecing you—and good!
Unfortunately, most higher-education institutions can’t look at a college student without seeing dollar signs. However, the good news is that most of the swindles on campus can be evaded if you know what to look out for.
Here are some of the biggest college cons running and a few pointers on how you can avoid them:
1. Textbooks: There may be no bigger rip off in college than what you’ll be charged for textbooks. Worse yet, a majority of the “required” textbooks were written by the professor teaching the class. Not to mention, many aren’t just textbooks; they include accompanying lab notes, CDs, etc., that really jack up the cost.
How to avoid the textbook rip off:
- Bypass college bookstores at all costs
- Look to places like eBay, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace to find and buy used textbooks
- Rent your textbooks online
- Buy one textbook and share it with a friend (photocopy a second version for studying)
2. Campus parking fees: Not only do annual student parking passes cost $300 to $500 on average, but colleges typically sell more passes than there are spots so you have to arrive to campus at the break of dawn to snag a spot or fight for one when you finally get there. Park in an undesignated area and you’ll get a ticket faster than you can say, “campus parking officer”, who by the way will sit and watch for illegal parkers or literally wait for meters to run out just so they can slap you with a parking ticket.
How to avoid the campus parking rip off:
- Seek alternate means of transportation—take the bus, ride a bike or walk
- If you absolutely need a car, find parking for cheaper through nearby businesses
3. Student credit cards: You know that credit card companies have it out for college students, when they set up shop on campus during frosh week with their cheesy promotions. Their goal is to get you to max out your credit card, and they get your parents to cosign so they’ll come to the rescue and pay off your credit card debt when you can’t. And, with the majority of college students living away from home for the first time ever, credit card companies are guaranteed to snag a few suckers who would rather order Chinese food every night rather than cook for themselves.
How to avoid the student credit rip off:
- Sure, signing up for one credit card will help to build your credit score while you’re in college
- Just make your payments on time
- Don’t sign up for multiple credit cards
- Watch your credit limit (credit card companies will double it without notice)
- Ask them to reduce said credit limit—there’s no reason why a college student needs a $2000 credit limit, ask that it stays at $500
Campus dining: Many colleges have meal plans; however, the rules differ from college to college. Some college meal plans work like a point system where you purchase points on a card at the start of the year. Every time you eat, your card gets swiped and the points for that meal are deducted. Other universities cover certain foods on the “inclusive” meal plan, but don’t cover the goodies on campus like Harvey’s, McDonalds and Pizza Pizza. So if you want fast-food, you end up paying out of pocket or with the above mentioned credit card that you just got. On top of that they get you with the campus cafeteria hours. For example, weekend breakfast is from 7am to 10am, and if you miss out, you’re forced to buy from one of the pay-out-of-pocket fast-food venues.
How to avoid the campus dinning rip off:
- Read the campus meal plan rules and stick to them
- If you live off campus, or have access to a kitchen, buy and cook your own food
College students prefer the long-term advantages of e-readers
As an eager college student, how would you like to simply download digital copies of your required textbooks, for a fraction of the cost, and view those textbooks on one digital device? It sounds a little too good to be true—doesn’t it? Well, it’s not!
Digital e-readers—such as Kindles and iPads—mark a new era for college students and for money-hungry campus bookstores. In recent years, most of the college textbooks that you’ll need for next semester are suddenly available in digital copies. With the introduction of e-readers to college campuses all over North America, students are saving time and money in various ways, by opting for college textbook rentals online and then carrying them all to campus in one lightweight, easily transportable device.
If you weren’t already convinced, the College Board reports these digital college textbooks cost an average of 50-percent less than their hardcover textbook version
2. E-readers offer compatibility with new technology: Digital college textbooks are compatible with an array of new technology publishing tools—such as Amazon, Kindle and soon the Apple iStore. These are already familiar online tools that students use almost daily—which saves valuable time compared to learning a new system or standing in line at the campus bookstore. In addition, those handy Apple iStore gift cards that students ask for during the holidays and for birthdays, can suddenly be put towards the cost of digital textbooks, saving them even more on school costs.
3. Tablets help save on chiropractic bills: The most felt advantage of digital textbooks is the relief on backs and shoulders. E-readers replace heavy, bulky textbooks with all of your textbooks condensed to one thin, lightweight electronic device. Rather than breaking your back carrying 3 thick textbooks to 3 classes; you can store all of the books on the device. Believe us: your back will thank you!
4. E-readers save you money over time: For the college student on a budget—who isn’t?—an e-reader device is a great investment over time. Yes, the initial cost of an e-reader device can be high (Kindles range from $150 to $800 for better tablets). The digital textbooks they buy cost 30-percent to 50-percent less compared to new, printed textbooks. If you consider the investment over the average university career—which is typically 4 years—the investment in an e-reader will pay for itself over time.
5. The technology makes studying more productive: Another appealing advantage of e-reader for students is that they suddenly have digital textbooks and the ability to do quick search all from the same device. So instead of leafing through a 500 page biology textbook for one specific paragraph; you can simply search and be directed to the desired page in your digital textbook. You can also print this page for further reference.
6. Going digital helps the environment: Since digital textbooks are paperless—they reduce the average student’s paper consumption. Not only are digital textbooks good for the environment—they will save you a great deal of money by cutting out the publishing and shipping costs associated with paper textbooks.
7. Buying textbooks online reduces student stress: Shopping for college textbooks and waiting in long bookstore line-ups is hard on your wallet and your stress level. Using online book stores is easy! You simply search by title or author, add the book to your shopping cart, review your order, and follow the easy payment instructions. And let’s face it, any way you can lessen the stress of school and concentrate on your studies—the better.