I’m 34 years old, graduated with honors from one of the top-15 universities in the world, have a “real job”, and I’m broke. This is the story of how I did everything I thought I was “supposed” to do and still found myself 100K in debt and moving back home (to my aunt & uncle’s). Want to start from the beginning? Go to My Money Story: Can I Have A Do-Over?
June 27, 2018
For many, selling college textbooks back to the bookstore at the end of the quarter is a rite of passage. But, despite my enthusiasm in having someone hand me cash to get rid of a book that caused me unmeasurable stress and anxiety over the previous ten weeks, I still ended up keeping quite a few.
Actually, the truth is, I held on to them like a child holding on to training wheels when they’re learning to ride a bike. You know you have to move onto the next stage eventually, but you’re scared that if you let them go you’ll fall flat on your face. At some point though, you have to take them off and hope you learned what you needed.
Maybe it had to do with the uncertainty of the future — I didn’t know what I needed to prepare for. Maybe they were fulfilling some idea that I had of myself — I wanted to be an employed anthropologist and I thought the books were part of that path. Whatever it was, it’s time to get rid of them.
Begrudgingly, as it turns out because part of me still holds on to that identity and the idea of getting rid of these textbooks feels like I’m leaving it behind.
The thing is, just because I am selling or getting rid of these books doesn’t mean I can’t be whatever and whoever I want to be. These books do not define me or guarantee the identity I imagined. Carting them around from apartment to apartment (and possibly paying money I don’t have to store them) is a waste — especially considering I haven’t opened them since I graduated.
So, today, I’m going through all of them (yes, all) to see if I can sell them back, 5+ years later.
As it turns out, going to the campus bookstore when you’re no longer a student isn’t the most convenient task. Fortunately, there’s a handy website called Bookfinder.com that lets you input the ISBN of a book and then compares various textbook buyback companies to see where you could get the best price.
It’s genius. I should have done this years ago.
Out of the 27 books I entered, 10 were worth selling (they would buy them from me for more than $1).
I ended up selling to two separate buyback sites, 3 to Textbooks.com for $15, and 7 to Chegg for $40.51. Both companies give you a prepaid UPS shipping label, so all you have to do is find a box and ship them.
If only paying student loans were this easy…
As the purge of my things continues, I’m amazed at how easy it is to get rid of them when I know there’s an end date. When I have to decide whether that thing I’m considering taking with me is worth the amount of money or space it will take to store it. It’s actually very freeing in a way. But, also, a little sad.
Fortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of time to explore the feeling. It’s easier when I’m able to compartmentalize the sad and just be all business.
Here’s to hoping.
Want to know how this whole thing started?
Go to My Money Story: Can I Have a Do-Over to start from the beginning.