Online Textbook Rental –

I can’t believe how expensive textbooks are.  American’s don’t realize that Canadians, on average, pay 20-30% more for everything, including textbooks, than they do.  This is a primary driver behind our desire to participate in cross border shopping. As a result, that $150 dollar book ends up costing around $200 north of the border!  Outrageous.

Back when I was in school in the mid/late 90s, I was spending $700 per year for textbooks – about $350 per semester.  That was for 5 courses, so about $70 per semester textbook and upward of $150 for a full year text book.  Since I got a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology, I often had 15 or more books in a year.  Given inflation, I can imagine that students are spending over $1,000 per year on textbooks, especially if you are in a major, like science, where books are so expensive.

How Textbook Rental Saves Money

I wish I had textbook rental when I was in school.  Since I only used my book for one class, then sold it back (at 20% of the purchase price, if I was lucky). it would have been so much more beneficial if I could rent my books instead.  Now, companies like eCampus are renting them out for the quarter, and providing savings in the process.  The campus book store sure had quite a racket set up: sell over priced books, buy them back at a steep discount and then re-sell them for a tidy profit.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I was checking out eCampus to find used books online, and I was in shock by the savings I saw for renting textbooks.  For many books, the savings for renting was maybe 50% of the cost of a new book, and 30% less than even a used book.  That is some great savings.  For example, there was is a Principles of Physics textbook, pretty standard, that sells for $214 new and $150 used.  It rents for $54 for the semester (even cheaper if you rent for the quarter).  Huge savings!

Another great feature is that shipping is free both ways on orders over $59.  They send you the book, and provide you a shipping label to send it back at the end of the semester.  This will save you a lot of money if you order many books at once.  I know I used to buy my textbooks all at once so this is a feature I would definitely take advantage of.

Finally, many books are now coming out in eTextbook, which offer even more savings.  You can save 90% compared to the cost of a new textbook.  If I had this while I was in school, I would have been paying $70 per year instead of $700 – very worth it in my opinion.

Does Your Spending Match Your Values?

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There are a number of ways you can learn about people by watching what you do. Indeed, it is possible to learn a little bit about yourself by taking a step back and examining your own habits. As you consider what sort of person you are, and the kinds of things you value, it can help to look at your spending as well. You may not realize it, but your spending reflects what you truly value.

Put Your Money Where Your Values Are

Try this exercise: List out the things that you value. Put them in order of importance. Next, look at your spending. This works great if you use some sort of personal finance application, since you can easily generate a report that tells where your money went last month. Get it in graph form for an increased visual punch. Now, look at your spending, and compare that to your list of what’s important. Is there a disconnect?

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