I learned in college that I was brilliant.
Being brought up in a family that never had all of the newest stuff (but never lacked anything important), I have always had a bit of a frugal mindset. Even when I went to college and was on my own for the first time, I didn’t really have a problem blowing money, because my parents had taught me how to be responsible with it. I was SHOCKED though the first trip I made to the bookstore. What was this? My calculus book* costs $120.00 USED?!?! Why?!
Of course I always purchased used books (unless forced to do otherwise), but I had a plan when reselling (this is where the brilliant part comes in). I would keep my books at the end of the semester instead of immediately reselling them. Then at the beginning of the next, I would scout the bookstores during “peak” book season (you know…the first day of class after everyone has gotten a syllabus and needs to get the books). I would go to the aisle of the book that I wanted to sell and find someone eye-balling that book. Having the book in my bookbag outside the store (we were required to check them at the door), I would sell it to them and we’d both make off like bandits! For example: A chemistry book costs $80 used. However, after I used it and tried to sell it back to the store, they would only give me $25 for it and then resell it for $80 again. That’s how they make money. However, if I sell it to the person in the aisle for $50 or $60…we both win! Don’t be obvious of course, as I doubt the store would appreciate you doing this. =) It worked like a charm, as I typically then had a lot of money to put toward the books that I then needed to buy for my classes.
So there is my “brilliant” advice for starving college students.
*By the way…that calculus book took me through 5 calculus classes, so it was really a bargain in the end.