Monday, January 25, 2021

Weighing spending options produces beneficial results

Move-in weekend is always a nightmare that’s impossible to escape. The influx of cars lined up along Rugar Street kick-start students’ stress levels as they prepare to spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks. Starting a new school year, however, doesn’t have to be a financial hassle if you manage your money well and know all of your options.

The development of a free app called “Swappet,” created only two weeks ago, allows students to sell and barter unwanted items like used textbooks, furniture and electronics at a price determined by the seller. With Swappet, long lines at the bookstore could be a thing of the past.

Although there are no current listings for Plattsburgh State students, this could turn into something big if Swappet begins to catch on. The service benefits the buyer, who is looking for the cheapest route for textbooks possible, and the seller, or the broke college student trying to earn a little beer money.

Think of Swappet as the Craigslist for college students. There’s a certain level of trust and comfort, however, dealing with other PSUC students as opposed to total strangers in the area. You’re not just dealing with a total stranger.

Swappet includes several features, including quick and easy item posting, effective search queries and messaging for negotiating price with the seller. The app recently jumped from the No. 58 spot on the iPhone free catalog apps to No. 19 despite the lack of items for sale even at larger universities such as UConn.

For those looking for textbooks at a low cost, looking elsewhere for the time being is wise until Swappet begins to catch on with more users. E-books, for example, are not only usually sold at lower prices than print books, they are also environmentally friendly in that they help prevent paper from being wasted.

Sites that scour the Internet for the lowest cost including cheapesttextbooks.com and valore.com, where you can sell your books and even electronics when you’re done with them, provide the route to the cheapest semester possible. This is definitely a valuable resource for students to be aware of during the beginning of the semester.

These sites advertise that you can save up to 90 percent on textbooks. I decided to do some one-stop shopping, since I myself have never bought textbooks online. On Valore, the lowest price for the textbook I need in my editing class was only $5. My mouth went agape, and I immediately started to scratch my head. Was this actually reality? I’ve never seen a book this cheap even at a used bookstore.

Consider the amount of money that would be saved if a semester’s worth of books were purchased at the same time using this site. That’s hundreds of dollars that could be used toward expenses such as groceries, Greek life dues and most importantly, tuition.

What exactly is the sense in buying books that you’re going to use for only four months anyway? Sure, you need them to study for exams, but there are also some professors who hardly use the required text. Hell, I made it through the spring semester without buying a single book and still managed to receive a 4.0 GPA.

There are other ways to make it through the semester without spending a fortune. Find a person who has taken a particular class before and ask if they’d give you the required textbook for the class or even sell it to you. If you’re looking to furnish an apartment, don’t be afraid to shop at a thrift store. Not everything has to be bought brand new. Just because there’s dust doesn’t mean it can’t be wiped off.

Don’t limit yourself to just one option. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to be a little frugal with your spending habits. So what if your possessions have a little wear and tear to them? After all, that distinctiveness gives an item character.

Email Chris Burek at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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