The Ultimate Textbook Purchasing Guide

Textbooks are a mandatory part of the college experience, but how do you purchase them without going completely broke? Today on the blog I am answering some very important questions about purchasing textbooks in college so that you can get the best deals when you purchase.

The Ultimate Textbook Purchasing Guide | Purchasing textbooks doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Click through for all my best tips on purchasing textbooks such as where you should get your books, when you should get your books, if you should buy them new, and so much more!

Where Should You Get Your Textbooks?

A lot of people say that you should automatically stop thinking about the bookstore on your college campus. I don't really think this should be the case. Sometimes your college bookstore has the best deal.

Personally I think you should think about a couple of things:

1. Price: How much do the textbooks cost? This is an extremely important part of the process because you want to make sure that you can afford everything.

2. What Your School Pays For: Sometimes if you are on a scholarship, you get a certain amount of money for textbooks. You may have stipulations for that textbook money and if someone is paying for your textbooks, you may as well use that money how they want.

3.  Convenience: Yes, getting the best deal is awesome, but sometimes you also need to think about what's going to be more convenient. Waiting for multiple shippers to get all of your books can be a pain and some shippers are slower than others.

I did a lot of comparison shopping between my campus bookstore and places like Amazon. Ultimately I found that my bookstore had a couple of books at a lower rate and so did Amazon. For me, it usually wasn't worth it to go to sites like Amazon because it was just more convenient to get all my books from one place.

Here are a couple of alternatives to your campus book store:

Check out this Consumer Affairs article about textbook rentals and see where some of the most discussed book rental places stand when it comes to reviews.

When Should You Get Your Textbooks?

Another statement that I see often when it comes to textbooks is that you should wait until after your first day or even week of class to get your textbooks.

Personally, I don't think you should do this.


Well, there has only been one time where I didn't actually use a book that was assigned to me. I didn't end up taking it back, but there is usually a window of time where you can take textbooks back for a good chunk of your money back or you can sell it online. I encourage you to check out the policy for the store you are purchasing your books from.

Chances are you will need every book on your list and you don't want to be stuck days into the semester with no book.

College classes are fast paced. A week without your book during the beginning of the semester can devastate you, especially in textbook heavy classes like math, foreign languages, etc. Sure, you can always catch up on reading, but you shouldn't be spending your first few weeks playing catch up, you should be spending those weeks getting ahead.

So, yes, waiting to get your book is a possibility, but I am not sure if this is a possibility that I would personally go with myself.

Is winging it ever okay?

So many students try to save money on textbooks by simply not purchasing the textbook.

While it is possible to make a good grade in a class without the textbook, I wouldn't chance it, especially if you are not the best student.

Library copies will already be used by someone else and therefore fail, the friend whose book you are using will bail on a study date, and the internet will go down making it impossible to look up the book online to get your work done. You never know how much you need a textbook until you can't use the textbook. The chance of all these things happening at once is slim, but the chances of them happening at different times throughout the semester is not.

There are ways to get textbooks without paying an arm and a leg for them. You just have to shop around and be okay with a used textbook or two.

At the end of the day, you are in college. Purchasing textbooks is to be expected. It would be nice if we could get around that, but for convenience and the sake of your grades, you should purchase your books.

To Rent, Buy New, Or Get Used?

There are SO many ways to get your textbooks. Should you rent them, buy them new, or get them used?

I have only bought a couple of books new in my life. One was my Intro to Sociology book and one was my Spanish book. I am not sure that I would have bought my Intro to Sociology book new thinking back to my freshman year, but I still would have gotten my Spanish book new. At my school we used our Spanish book for three semesters in Elementary Spanish I & II as well as Intermediate Spanish I, so while it was a big investment my first semester, I used it for two other semesters. Renting it wouldn't have made sense for me and I wanted the best copy so getting it used didn't work either.

For the most part I buy books used over renting them. I have rented books before, but going back and returning rented book is one of my least favorite things so I usually just buy my books used.

You have to be careful with used books and try to get a good quality used book. Used books can be awful in quality and you don't want to be stuck with a bad book. So many times I have had bought a used book only for the quality to be awful. I have had books where the spine was barely hanging on and books that belonged to people who thought EVERYTHING was highlight worthy. Getting the best quality used books is essential in my eyes.

Lastly, book rentals. I have only rented a couple of books as I stated earlier. Renting is a great idea if you don't really need to use the books after the class is over. I mainly rented books for classes outside of my major. Renting is a great option and it saves you a lot of money. I have also rented a lot of digital books on Amazon which is great because there was no returning--they just expired after a certain time period.

Should You Get A Physical Copy Or A Digital Copy?

Lastly, let's chat about physical books versus digital books.

This is another textbook debate that you may want to consider.

I personally use physical books way more than digital copies, but I have used both through my 6 years of college and graduate school.

Digital textbooks are usually much cheaper than physical copies and you can even easily rent digital textbooks.

The great thing about digital textbooks is the very fact that they are digital. You can access them from many locations like your laptop, iPad, Kindle, etc. Also, some digital textbooks allow you to even print portions of your textbook which makes it easy to bring digital textbooks into the real world.

There are some downsides to digital textbooks, the most obvious being they always require you to be connected to some type of electronic device unless you can print portions of your textbook. If you depend on time away from the computer while studying, it is really difficult to do that if you have a digital textbook. You don't have to be on your computer, but you will probably need to be at least on an iPad, Kinde, or phone which wouldn't allow you to be as disconnected while studying.


Buying textbooks doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.

I hope that this guide has demystified the process of of purchasing textbooks for you. I wanted to talk about a variety of textbook related topics in this article and I hope that this guide provides you a great place to start in the textbook debate.

What are your best tips for purchasing textbooks?


Amanda Cross

My name is Amanda Cross and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a 20 something college graduate, graduate student, and all around awesome person.

12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went To College


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5 Ways To Be More Confident In College With AcneFree

Disclosure: This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and AcneFree. All opinions are mine alone. #AcneFreeSummer #AcneFreeLife #CollectiveBias

The end of summer is coming quickly and it's almost time to go back to school. It's crazy how quickly summer fades when you are having fun. 

With back to school on the horizon, it's important to feel as confident as you can, especially if you are going to a new college or school. Today I will be sharing some easy things you can do to boost your confidence.

5 Ways To Be More Confident In College With AcneFree: {AD} With the school year on the horizon, you don't have any time to not feel like the confident goddess you are. Click through to check out my best tips for being more confident in college, brought to you by AcneFree!

1 | Smile

This is SUCH a simple tip, but you would be surprised what a simple smile can do for your confidence. Smiles release all those happy endorphins, just like exercise. This will create happiness, positivity, and confidence within you.

The great thing about smiling is that you don't really need anything to smile about. All you have to do is curve your lips up and you get the same results as a genuine smile plus your smile attracts people to you!

2 | Communicate How You Feel Most Comfortable

I am an introvert, y'all, and you can be too! Don't force yourself into situations where you have to communicate in a way that makes you nervous. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try new things when you go to college, but you don't have to always force yourself out of your comfort zone. Even at a party you can find a small group of people to talk with if you are an introvert. If you take the time to communicate how you feel most comfortable you will flourish and feel more confident.

3 | Create An Action Plan

So many people come to college without an action plan. Some people (shout out to all the Type As out there) just do better with a plan, I mean, all people do better with a plan to be honest. So, create a plan for how you will succeed in college.

  • How will you define success in college?
  • Where will you find your new friends?
  • How will you study for class?

Have a plan for all the things that could happen in college. Creating that plan today will help you feel more confident when you step foot on campus. Plans change, but having some semblance of an idea about college before you go will help ease your mind.

4 | Drink More Water

Water is amazing for you. When you drink more water than other drinks like soda and juice you create a healthier inside which is bound to make you feel more confident. Confidence comes from the inside, truly, so making healthier food and drink choices will make you feel better and more confident.

5 | Take Care Of Your Skin

While the water takes care of your insides, you also want to take care of your outsides. Even though a lot of your confidence comes from within, a lot of people don't feel as confident if their outsides don't match their insides. Taking care of your skin is a great way to make yourself feel more confident.

I am so happy because I got the opportunity to try out a couple of cool products from AcneFree to help me feel more confident and I can't wait to share those products with you today.

I think young adults and adults in general are always in this limbo of being upset with their skin. We are often told that acne is a teenagers problem, which makes us think that our skin is somehow awful because we still have acne as an adult. Acne happens, but there are many things that we can do to take care of our skin and help the situation.

I don't have awful skin, but I consistently have small amounts of acne on my face. I was excited to partner with AcneFree to test out one of their duos and their full 24 hour system. I think that both products are great depending on what you need at the time. The duo includes an awesome battery powered brush and their cleanser. The 24 hour system I got from them includes all three steps: the cleanser, toner, and repair lotion. They have so many options for your skin so I would explore the products to see if you do well with just a duo or getting the full blown system.

I tested the system out on my face for twice a day for 4 days to see how these products would affect me. The before and after pictures will be at the bottom of this post as I took these blog photos at the beginning of my journey.

The AcneFree Advanced Deep Cleasning Duo is absolutely perfect. It comes with everything you need to help clear any blackheads and acne breakouts you have as well as deep cleaning your pores. It has two speed settings, and it even comes with batteries (what comes with batteries anymore?!)

Sometimes the best way to help care for any acne you have is a good deep clean. It's hard to get that with a regular face wash because you can only turn your hand so much. This brush is great because it rotates for you so all you have to do is move the brush around your face and feel it do all the deep cleaning on its own.

I really love AcneFree because you can purchase it so easily. I picked up my AcneFree products from Amazon and they were at my door super quickly because I had Amazon Prime. Yay for 2-day shipping so I could quickly get started adding these amazing products to my skin care routine.

Now, if you are truly like me, you may say, I need it all! AcneFree has some wonderful product systems just for that y'all!

AcneFree's 24 Hour Acne Clearing System is a great option for someone who wants a full regimen to help them with their acne-prone skin.

This system includes three steps:

Step 1: Oil-Free Purifying Cleanser: This solution, that should be applied twice a day, helps to deep-clean your skin. The exfoliating microbeads in this cleanser helps to remove dirt and oil from your pores and skin as well as eliminate acne bacteria.

Step 2: Renewing Toner: This awesome toner includes vitamins, witch hazel, chamomile, and aloe to help even your skin tone and control the oil you have throughout the day. You should also use this twice a day after you use the cleanser.

Step 3: Repair Lotion: You use this awesome lotion twice a day after you cleanse and use your toner to help fight acne bacteria and help stop new breakouts before they begin.

If you have tricky skin AcneFree has multiple formulas of this product: one for sensitive skin and one for people with severe acne. I don't have particularly bad acne or sensitive skin so I just picked up the 24 Hour Acne Clearing System.

As a college student I know that it can be difficult to invest in anything, but I think that this makes an excellent investment, and a pretty reasonably priced one at that. You can get either of these products for less than $20! That's a great steal in my opinion, especially because all of these products last so long (no tiny baby sizes in these products.)

Do you want to shop these products? Hover over this picture to see more and shop all of the products below.

As I stated earlier, I started utilizing these products the day I took these pictures for the blog. I made sure to document a clear picture of my face after every use so that you could follow along with the journey to clearer skin. Keep in mind these are my results after 8 uses. I will have to keep y'all up to date after I make this a bigger part of my routine.

I wanted to test these a bit more for y'all, but I got sick through this process and I honestly think that really messed up with my review of this process as being sick is known to cause acne flare ups.

I wish that I could have kept my lighting as consistent as possible for you, but unfortunately that wasn't possible. Some of these pictures were taken in my bathroom while others were taken in my bedroom and they both have drastically different lighting.

I think I personally started to notice the most change around use #6-7. 

Try AcneFree For Yourself!

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  • AcneFree is launching a 4-week sweepstakes on August 14th, 2017. 3 Grand Prize Winners will win $1,000 spending money and AcneFree Supplies for a year. Additionally, AcneFree will give away 10 AcneFree® 24 Hour Acne Clearing Systems every week for 4 weeks.
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What Does Your Skincare routine Look Like?


Amanda Cross

My name is Amanda Cross and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a 20 something college graduate, graduate student, and all around awesome person.

12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went To College


Subscribe to get instant access to my masterclass 12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went To College so that you can create the best college life by learning from all the mistakes I made as a college student.

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How To Grow More Comfortable With Yourself

Today on the blog I am chatting about how to push past your insecurities and grow more comfortable with yourself.

Over my years I have gained a lot of insecurities and it's a fight every single day to get past them and go to the right direction. All that you see before you today was the product of a ton of work that I am still getting myself through. When you deal with your own insecurities and comfort with yourself, know that you are not the only one dealing with those issues.

Today I am sharing a couple of things you can do to become more comfortable with yourself, plus a whole lotta cute photos from a recent photo shoot I had. If you want more inspirational fashion shoots like this, let me know!

How To Grow More Comfortable With Yourself | Let's chat about being comfortable with who we are. Many of us have insecurities that we haven't truly dealt with and it's time for that to stop. Click through to learn a couple of things you can do to become more comfortable with yourself.

Say Your Affirmations

First things first, say your affirmations y'all. I know this is such a woo-woo thing to say, but telling yourself something positive is a great way to start each day.

I would encourage you to stand tall in front of your mirror each day and say something nice to yourself for a few minutes.

This works because the more year hear something said out loud, the more you begin to believe it.

Journal Your Feelings

If affirmations aren't your cup of tea try purchasing a cute notebook and using that to journal about your feelings every day. 

Journals are a great way to become more in tune with your feelings and more comfortable with yourself.

Don't think of journals in a negative way. Use them to relax every morning or evening; write down all your fears, hopes, dreams, and wishes; and just take the time to settle down and be in the moment.

I would also note how you felt the morning that you journal. After a good handful of journal entries you may be able to recognize some patterns in what made you more likely to feel a certain way. Maybe you felt anxious after each campus game you went to, so you could find a way to go to the games while easing the anxious feelings you get after each game. 

Understand What People Say Is More Of A Reflection On Them

People can be pretty cruel sometimes, but that's not your problem. 

What people say, feel, and think does not reflect you as a human being. Your worth is not tied to the approval of some random person in class or on the internet. If someone says something nasty about you or makes fun of you, that's on them.

In order to truly get past the issues that you might have, you have to understand that their thoughts have no control over you. What was said by some a**hole on the internet or in your life has no bearing on your self-worth and awesomeness.

Learn To Laugh At Yourself

When I went back and looked at all these pictures, I realized there was a pretty big stain on my shirt. I could have been upset with my otherwise beautiful pictures and decided not to share them, after all, I see the stain every time I look at these pictures. Instead, I laughed at myself, and realized that's just what you get with me. I am a complex, messy, positive, and emotional individual. Yes, there is a stain on my shirt, but it's not the end of the world.

The important thing about tiny imperfections is to remember not to make them too big. Superficial things only have the weight that we give them. If you don't give the stain on your shirt any weight in your life, it won't matter. Laugh it off, and dance like no one's watching.

Realize You Are Not Alone

I promise you, everyone is dealing with some sort of insecurity about them.

People don't go online and share all their negative feelings. They go to a therapist, talk with really close friends/family, keep it bottled up inside, etc. Either way, people don't actively talk about their bad days with the world.

If you are feeling down about yourself and not comfortable with yourself, you better believe that there are SO many people feeling the exact same way as you do.

Do More To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

For me, as crazy as this sounds, I started posting more content about myself online. Images featuring fashion I was wearing, blog posts with fashion infused in them, etc. That coupled with just wearing new an interesting outfits really helped me embrace my inner awesome lady.

If you aren't comfortable with yourself, one of the best thing you can do is push the envelope of what comfortable is to you. More than likely, you can accomplish SO much more than what you think you can. All you need to do is put one foot forward.

Understand When It's Time To Seek Outside Help

I didn't want to end this article without telling you the honest truth. Sometimes all the woo-woo affirmations and laughter medicine isn't enough. There are many positive changes that you can make to become more comfortable with yourself, but it might not really fix your issues.

Talking to a therapist or psychologist about your issues is okay, y'all.

Many of you are in college, which is a good thing, because you can often get free or close to free therapy sessions on your college campus. If you are not on campus or your campus doesn't offer this, see if it is covered by your healthcare or if you can just find a therapist outside of your healthcare.

Your mental health is the most important thing in the world, girl!


 From the bottom of my heart, I want you to know you are not alone. You are not the only person who is uncomfortable in their own skin. I don't say this to diminish your thoughts and feelings. Instead, I do this to let you know you are not fighting this battle alone. There are people who love you, want to see you happy, and who think you are the bees knees. When you are in that spiral of not feeling comfortable in your own body, know that there are so many people who feel your pain.

Shop This Post:

Want some beautiful coffee themed products? Allyson from Printable Happies has this design on a couple of different pieces so you can click on each image to shop them for yourself. While this post wasn't sponsored by Printable Happies, I love to support small business.


Amanda Cross

My name is Amanda Cross and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a 20 something college graduate, graduate student, and all around awesome person.

12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went To College


Subscribe to get instant access to my masterclass 12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went To College so that you can create the best college life by learning from all the mistakes I made as a college student.

I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit