Cut the Cost of Nursing School by Saving Money on Books and Nurse Supplies

The cost of nursing school is significant when you go to are considering earning your nursing degree, but only a small fraction of the outcome that a degree in nursing gives you.

6 min read

For the price it costs to go to nursing school, you earn a lifetime’s worth of lessons on how to care for patients, be a healthcare team member, save lives and make lifelong friends, and you will have a vast array of nursing career options at your fingertips.

After learning how to find a nursing school and choosing the right program for you, preferably in one of the nursing schools with no waiting list, either a traditional nursing program or online nursing school, you will enroll in classes. It is important to note during your nursing school selection process what is included in the tuition. In most cases, books, uniforms, and the NCLEX exam fees are not included. If that information is not stated in your tuition breakdown, then that is one of the questions you should ask before enrolling in the nursing program.

By the time you are ready to enroll in classes, you will have a good idea about how you are going to pay for nursing school, and with luck you will qualify for one of the nursing school scholarships available to students. However you plan on paying for nursing school, you should remember that there are always additional costs and fees that will not be included in your tuition. These variable costs can add up in nursing school, but are mandatory to earning your degree. As stated before, if supplies and books are not included in your tuition, you will be responsible for paying for your scrub uniforms, books, supplies, test preparation and tests (such as the TEAS, if required, and the NCLEX), and you will be paying for these things on your own dime. There are many ways to save money and help ease the stress of paying for nursing school, including saving money on books and supplies. Consider the following options:

Cut the Cost of Nursing School by Renting Your Textbooks instead of Buying

There are several reliable sources for renting textbooks while in school. Some students love this option, because:

  • The prices are much lower to rent than to buy.
  • If you do not want the book for future reference, you do not lose money when you return the book.

However, some students also don’t like this option because:

  • They are not able to write or take notes in the book.
  • If there is a CD or access code that is needed with the book, there is a chance the rental may not come with this feature.
  • If you end up needing the same book in a class later in nursing school, you will need to rent it again and might have saved money by buying the book.

If you do decide to rent, check out these places:

  • Amazon offers a large selection of text books used in nursing schools across the United States. Once you find the one you need, Amazon gives you the option to buy or rent the text book you need. Amazon rents out textbooks by the semester and follows a standard school-year calendar. For example, when renting for the fall semester, you have the book until finals around December 22. Amazon offers extensions on the rentals for 15 days or an additional semester, and offers free return shipping. Most rentals are eligible for Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping. At any time, you may buy the book to keep.
  • eCampus: A great source for inexpensive textbook rentals is This site allows you to rent, buy and sell-back textbooks all on one easy-to-navigate website that offers a wide array of medical and nursing textbooks. The Marketplace is also available on the website to compare prices from private sellers. Textbook rentals are issued on three time periods: short term, semester or quarter.
  • This website sells new and used textbooks, allows customers to rent textbooks, has a selling platform for used textbooks and also sells e-textbooks for immediate electronic download. covers the return shipping on the item and also offers deep discounts if you buy your book and then sell it back instead of renting. Most rentals are by the semester.

Buy Used Textbooks instead of New

Buying textbooks is a great cost-savvy option for you if you would like to keep textbooks for future reference. All of the sites listed above offer new and used textbooks, in addition to rentals. If you aren’t finding the textbook you need at one of those sites, check out some of the sites listed below. Keep in mind that when buying a used textbook, there may be notes and highlighted sections in the used books. This can be confusing for your reference if you like to make your own notes in your books. If that is the case, try using post-its or different colored pens and highlighters. Another thing to note is that when you buy used textbooks, the CD or access code that comes with the textbook may not be included. Be sure to check the quality of the book and if possible, buy “like new” textbooks.

  • Valore Books: Dubbed “The Students’ Marketplace,” Valore Books is an e-store that offers the option to buy, rent and sell textbooks. Used textbooks are offered at deep discounts and offer a 30-day money back guarantee for their new and used textbooks. The website lets you to browse through different offers in a marketplace format, allowing you to compare prices and choose the best option for you.
  • Abe Books: This easy to navigate website offers everything from rare edition books to new and used textbooks. Textbooks are listed by different sellers and are easily searchable so that you can find the best deal. There is also a community page on the website complete with a forum, blog and tools for helping you find the right book for you with a form called BookSleuth®, GiftSleuth® and BookHints.

Shop Smart for Nursing School Supplies

School supplies needed for nursing school include the standard back to school items, such as a day planner, pens, highlighters, binders, paper and index cards. You can take advantage of beginning-of-the-school-year sales for these items. However, there are a few additional items you will need when starting nursing school including a stethoscope, Maglite, watch (for taking pulse), scrubs and comfortable walking shoes. These items are a little bit harder to find on sale, but shop around at local medical supply stores and online to compare prices. Check out our blog giving tips on how to shop online for nursing school supplies.

Take Advantage of Free Resources to Cut the Cost of Nursing School

Succeeding in nursing school is made easier when you take advantage of resources such as test preps, how-to guides and other materials. When buying resources like quick reference guides or practice tests, the cost can add up. Save money by taking advantage of free resources available to you online. Find Nursing Schools offers an array of free resources, including our TEAS Study Guide pdf, free Nursing Career Guide and tips on the NCLEX-RN exam.

In addition to cutting the costs of nursing school through your books and supplies, check out these tips on how to make money in nursing school and find more ways to save. If you are ready to start nursing school, use Find Nursing School’s “Nursing Schools Near Me” tool to find the right program for you to advance your career into nursing.