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For Con$umers Cheap Textbooks

The Providence Journal (Newspaper) - 9/22/2008 by Associated Press
Cheap textbooks

Did you know that the international edition of a college textbook can save you as much as 90 percent off the cover price for the exact same book sold in your college book store?

This and many other tips, secrets, and tricks are featured in the Student Loan Network’s new guide, “How to Find Cheap College Textbooks,” a free resource available for college students everywhere at www.studentloannetwork.com/resources.

“Financial aid is about more than just helping students find student loans,” said Joe Cronin, president and chief executive officer of the Student Loan Network, an Edvisors company. “Anything that is likely to significantly impact what a college student or family will have to spend money on is something we aim to help with as much as possible. Certainly, things like federal student loans and private student loans are important, as are free scholarships such as our Scholarship Points program. But that also includes advice on how to conserve spending money by comparison shopping for college textbooks.”

In addition to “How To Find Cheap College Textbooks,” the Student Loan Network offers free guides on how to find scholarships, how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and many other free resources at www.studentloannetwork.com/resources.

Student Loan Network is one of the nation’s fastest-growing providers of student loans and related information. For more than 10 years, it has helped students and their families gain access to federal and private student loans, scholarships and consolidation financing for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education. Each year, more than 5 million students, parents, and financial aid officers make use of its loan products and free resources. Learn more about the Student Loan Network at www.StudentLoanNetwork.com.

Long-term care insurance

Joyce Smith visited friends recently at a modern nursing home in Chicago that made her thankful she has long-term care insurance. With relatively plush conditions, including large private rooms and lots of space and privacy, this was the type of safety net she could live with someday.

Turning to her husband, she said: “You keep paying that long-term care, Harry!”

While the Green Valley, Ariz., couple are healthy and hope they are years away from filing a claim, they figure they’ll end up in much better hands thanks to the long-term care policy they secured six years ago when Harry was 54 and Joyce was 60. They acted after watching Joyce’s mother, Gladys, fall ill and go into a nursing home without such protection, draining her life savings of $200,000 in 2˝ years.

The Smiths are among 8 million Americans with long-term care insurance — an area where insurers expect big growth as baby boomers zero in on their senior years.

The projections are high because the reality is that about 70 percent of people over 65 will require some type of long-term care services during their lifetime, according to the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information. It might come at any age, actually; 40 percent of people currently receiving long-term care are 64 or under.

But adding a significant extra cost can be daunting, especially at a time when many are focused on saving for retirement.

So can figuring out what level of benefits you want and how long a period to pay for. Most people get three, four or five years of coverage, because only 20 percent of today’s 65-year-olds will need care for more than five years. The more you sign up for, the higher the cost.

The price varies widely based on age, policy type, benefit level and number of years purchased, among other things, and can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars a year. Someone seeking protection equal to today’s average annual cost of care, about $55,000, would pay $1,064 a year for a standard policy purchased at age 55 or $2,013 for a similar policy at age 65, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, an industry group.

Swap books, save money

One budget line Wendy Li isn’t watching even in this tight economy is her spending on books. That’s because she uses PaperbackSwap.com, one of the book-trading sites that are growing in popularity.

“All I have to pay for is the postage,” said Li, a 44-year-old banker in New York City. A diet of three books a month costs her only about $6, clearly a bargain for an avid reader.

Whether it’s trading titles, downloading e-books or tapping discounts at major retailers, borrowing from the library isn’t the only way readers can cut costs.

If you’ve got books to barter, check out sites such as PaperbackSwap.com, Bookins.com and BookMooch.com.

The rules are simple; generally you list the books you’re willing to trade. Every time you mail a title out, you get a credit or point, which you can redeem for a book. At PaperbackSwap.com, which currently lists 2.4 million books, you can also purchase credits for $3.45.