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Categorized | Paying For College

Textbooks – Not The Only Thing You Will Rent At College

The following is guest post from Rachel Freeman at

With the price of a college education continuing to soar, students look for ways to save on costly items like textbooks. Some student report borrowing, sharing and simply going without as way save on books which often cost more than $1,000 a year. But what does it mean to your success as a student if you don’t have access to the books you need? Another  way to cut costs on textbooks is to rent instead of buy. Textbook rental allows students to save up to 80% on the cost of textbooks without sacrificing any of their own success to do so.

Think about all of those General Education classes you take to satisfy a requirement but may not relate to your field of choice. I once had to take a prerequisite class and the book for the course cost $160! Because it was a pre-req, I knew I didn’t want to spend that much money on the book. At BookRenter, however, I was able to rent the book for the entire semester for only $70. That’s $90 I could use on tuition, food or, even better, a ticket to a Giants playoff game! Since BookRenter launched the first textbook rental site in 2006, the market has taken off at an astronomical pace.

But textbooks aren’t the only things you can rent. Rental allows for tremendous flexibility, especially for students whose lives may fluctuate frequently. You can try new things without taking a huge financial risk and then you can spend the money you would have spent purchasing the item to buy something else. Consider this, if you rented just two of the textbooks you need each semester, you would save yourself a couple hundred dollars – the cost of a typical student season ticket for football and basketball.

What else can you rent?

So what other kinds of things can you rent besides textbooks? ZipCar, which has been around for almost 10 years, allows people to rent cars for a couple hours or a few days. It even has locations on over 100 college campuses around the country! Going out of town and need somewhere to stay? Instead of forking over an arm and a leg on a hotel room, check out AirBnb, where you can rent rooms, apartments or homes directly from real people.

Now if you’re like me and you have a fancy event to attend but don’t necessarily want to purchase a whole new outfit, what better way to avoid that expensive cost than renting your dress, jewelry and purse? You can rent jewelry from Adorn, designer dresses and gowns from Rent the Runway and One Night Affair and your purses from Avelle (which is also known as Bag Borrow or Steal).

As college students, there are certain dorms items we may want to have, but not want to own. Ever heard of a Microfridge? It’s a microwave, a refrigerator and a freezer all in one that you can rent for only $180 for the whole year. And if you are in need of a technology gadget, computer, or tablet, head on over to Rentacomputer. Need a movie for a chill night in? Redbox allows you to rent DVDs for one night for only $1. Their kiosks are located in grocery stores, drug stores and McDonald’s among other places, so you’re bound to find something you like!

Renting is definitely a viable option for all sorts of options. When you are in college, the last things you want to worry about are expenses and if you rent, you can help take that stress away. Put more money in your pocket by renting everything from textbooks to cars.

So now what?

As you head back to school this fall, consider these questions:

  • Do I need to own this, or do I just need to be able to use it for awhile?
  • If it’s a textbook, am I really likely to use it again, or is the information I might want also available on the Internet?
  • If I buy an item, am I going to have to move it frequently over the next 5-7 years? How do I feel about moving this item around a lot?

About the Author:

Rachel Freeman is an aspiring social media guru and video editor who likes the San Francisco Giants, traveling and her dog, Mollie. She graduated with a B.A. in Communication in 2010 and is pursuing her M.A. in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts. She is currently an intern at

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