Back-to-School Money Tips for Teens From Mellody Hobson

Do Teens Need to Balance Checkbooks?

Hobson says it's important for teens to learn that you need to track your expenses, and one of the best ways to do that is by balancing your checkbook. When you pay attention to how you're spending money on all those little items, you realize how everything adds up and you can budget wisely. You also need to make sure the bank is getting things right, or that you don't have a big check waiting to clear and you might end up overdrawing on your account.

How to Trim Textbook Expenses

The most recent government statistics show that the average student spends $900 a semester on textbooks. Hobson says this is outrageous, considering that you use the books for one semester and then never look at them again. This high price is mostly attributed to students' buying their textbooks from the university bookstore, but there are some real money-saving alternatives that could lead to big savings.

One of the best ways to find cheaper books is to buy your books from Amazon.com or Half.com. On Amazon, you can save up to 90 percent on used books and 40 percent on new books. Similar savings can be found on Half.com.

Another great option, Hobson says, is electronic textbooks. The largest textbook companies got together and created coursesmart.com. Through this site, you can buy digital subscriptions for your textbooks for a certain period of time. The site has more than 7,000 titles, and the savings could be close to 50 percent. Individual publishers and campus bookstores may have their own subscription services, so check with them too.

ABC News' Katie Escherich contributed to this report.

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