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What Else Could You Buy with Your Textbook Money

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There’s no doubt that college is expensive. The high textbook prices on top of tuition costs can feel like adding insult to injury.

A total of 87 percent of students think that the biggest problem with textbooks is that they’re too expensive, and 62 percent of students try to reduce their textbook spending by buying used books, using textbook rentals, or borrowing textbooks from a friend.

The cost of textbooks has risen more than 88 percent in a single decade, and the purchases aren't covered by financial aid.

According to the College Board, students spent about $1,250 on books and supplies each academic year. What would you do with that money if you didn’t have to spend it on books? Check out 70 other ways you could spend your textbook money.

What Else Could You Buy with Your Textbook Money

Textbook Prices vs. Food Costs

If you didn’t have to spend money on textbooks, you could buy these food and drinks instead.

  • A jar of Nutella every day for a year
  • 12 bowls of ramen each day
  • A Chipotle burrito every other day
  • One Big Mac per day
  • 20 smoothies per month
  • Sushi three times per week
  • FroYo fans could eat 5 cups of frozen yogurt per week
  • Nine cups of coffee per week for a full year
  • Eight pizzas per month
  • Seven cans of La Croix each day, helping you build that wall of La Croix like the Whole Foods in Brooklyn

Textbook Costs vs. Phone App Purchases

Here are app services you could buy using the money you’d spend on textbooks:

  • One Uber ride per week for a full year
  • A year’s subscription to Spotify for you and 20 friends at the student rate of $4.99 per month
  • An annual Netflix subscription for yourself and 11 friends
  • Antivirus software for 110 devices
  • Use Solvit to get 250 express answers to help you with your homework
  • Dragon Dictation service for 8 years, so you’ll never have to type a term paper again
  • 18 years of VPN service at about $70 per year
  • Password manager service for 52 years

Textbook Costs vs. Buying the Essentials

Rather than buying textbooks, you could use that money to pay for these basics:

  • Cell phone plan for two years
  • Six months of car insurance
  • Two month's rent in a 2-bedroom off-campus apartment shared with a roommate
  • 385 loads of laundry at the laundromat
  • Oil changes for eight years
  • 13 pairs of eyeglasses from Warby Parker
  • Pay off 30 percent of the average student's credit card debt
  • Wash your hair 11,359 times
  • 250 rolls of duct tape

Textbooks vs. Shopping

Would you rather be hitting the shops instead of paying for textbooks? Here’s what you could buy if you didn’t need books:

  • 29 pairs of Levi’s jeans
  • Visit Target every 18 days, based on the average per-visit purchase amount for the retailer
  • 50 hats with your college’s name
  • Eight pairs of Ray-Ban shades

Buying Textbooks vs. Dorm Decor

Would you rather decorate your dorm room than spend money on textbooks? Here’s what you could buy instead of a year’s worth of books.

Textbooks vs. Learning Costs

If the money you spend on textbooks were used for other learning expenses, you could buy the following:

  • 10 percent of your tuition bill based on the average tuition cost of $10,230 for a four-year public school
  • Annual OneClass subscription for you and nine friends, including unlimited online lecture notes and study guides
  • Take the GRE six times
  • Lab fees for eight science and tech courses

Textbooks vs. Going Green

For the same amount that you’d spend on college textbooks, you could do the following:

Textbook Spending vs. Travel

Would you rather use your textbook money to have an adventure? Here’s how far you could travel:

Textbook Costs vs. Tech Gadgets

Here’s what you could buy instead of spending money on textbooks:

Buying Textbooks vs. Paying for Fun Activities

Instead of buying textbooks, you could be spending your money on doing one of these fun activities:

Textbooks vs. Class Supplies

Textbooks aren’t the only course materials you’ll need. Using the money you'd spend on textbooks, you could buy the following:

  • Three bookbags per month
  • 20 notebooks per month
  • 3,875 highlighters per year, helping your class notes to be clearly organized
  • 88 citation guides so you’re never without an MLA Handbook

Textbooks vs. Becoming a Student Entrepreneur

If you’d rather start a business while you’re in school than pay for textbooks, student entrepreneurs could buy the following:

  • Website hosting for 10 years
  • 83 domain names to cover a bunch of similar business names
  • 34,723 business cards to help your networking and marketing

To clarify, we’re not actually recommending that you don’t buy your textbooks. However, it sure is nice to think about what you could buy instead.

Find out how OneClass can help you get better grades and pay you to go to class.


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