This post is sponsored by the Barnes & Noble MasterCard, powered by Barclaycard. All opinions are my own.
This fall, my oldest child of 5 kids heads to college, Penn State University. In my generation and my husband’s generation, college was not a certainty. However, to Generation Z, adulthood starts with college. If my son wants to earn a good living, he needs to have a college degree.
However, coming from a larger family, my son has also learned to stretch the money we’ve saved for his college as much as possible. He’s headed to a local branch of Penn State University as a commuter student, saving money on room and board while living at home. Thanks to two grants and a student loan, my son plans to graduate from college with $20,000 in student loans, well under the average student loan debt of $30,000 in 2014.
The second biggest expense my son faces in college is textbooks. According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, the average college student spends $1,200 per year on textbooks. The cost of textbooks has increased a whopping 864% since 1978, more than the cost of inflation. Fortunately, today’s students like my son have more ways to save on buying textbooks than I had when I graduated in 1990.
This week, we visited the local Barnes and Noble store with a gift card given to me by Barnes and Noble MasterCard to buy some of the many textbooks my son would need for the fall semester. Since he plans on majoring in English, I wanted my son to have some basic, important tools – a dictionary, thesaurus, and the MLA handbook for writing research papers. Having these tools already on his desk will save him time later on. He can highlight them and use post-its to mark the relevant pages for late-night paper writing sessions.
We’re buying the rest of my son’s textbooks online at Barnes and Noble. All I need to do is type in the name of the textbook and the edition I want to see our buying and renting options. As a Barnes and Noble Rewards member, shipping is free, plus I can get 5% cash back on my purchases.
5% Cash Back on Textbooks and Supplies with the Barnes and Noble MasterCard
When I bought my textbooks in the late 80’s, I could sell them back at the end of the semester to recoup some of the money I had spent. I think we could buy used textbooks, though I’m not certain, and the supply may have been limited. I ended up keeping a number of books from my English courses simply because I couldn’t be parted from them.
Today, my son can buy new or used text books, or rent them for the semester at the Barnes and Noble campus bookstore or online. Plus, I can get 5% cashback on the purchase when I use the Barnes and Noble MasterCard. I love that! At the end of the semester, my son can sell back his books or sell them privately. When the next semester starts, we can charge the text books again and use the sell back money and cashback to help pay the credit card bill for the new set of text books.
$25 Gift Card for each 2,500 Reward Points
For many college students like my son, freshman year is the first time they may have access to a credit card. Using the Barnes and Noble MasterCard wisely together as parent and student is a good opportunity to teach the value and pitfalls of credit. Thanks to online access to the credit card account, I can monitor my son’s account and make sure he’s sticking to our agreement of paying his credit card off in full each month. There’s no annual fee for the card plus a Complimentary FICO® Credit Score.
The rewards program is a fantastic incentive to keep all purchases limited to one credit card. You’ll receive a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift card after your first purchase. Each $1 spent on purchases (excluding Barnes and Noble purchases) like gas (great for a commuting college student) and groceries (also good for students without meal plans) earns 1 reward point. When you hit 2,500 reward points, you automatically receive a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift card. A savvy student can save up their Gift cards to buy Christmas presents for friends and family.
When you add up the 5% cashback savings over 4 years of textbook and other purchases for college, the Barnes and Noble MasterCard is the best card for parents and students!
For more information about the Barnes & Noble MasterCard, or to apply, visit bncreditcard.com with your college student.
To find your local Barnes & Noble store, or shop online, visit BN.com.