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How can you save money on schoolbooks in Spain?

Everything is getting more expensive in Spain, and schoolbooks are no exception. With the return to classrooms just around the corner, here are some tricks parents can use to cut costs in terms of textbooks and other material.

how to save money on school books in spain
In 2022, parents in Spain will spend on average €405 per child on 'la vuelta al cole'. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

Most children in Spain will be going back to school in the second week of September, which still leaves quite a bit of time to get all the new materials and books. However, it’s best to start as early as possible, as a scramble for books in early September often causes them to run out, and prices to go up. 

In 2021, families in Spain spent on average €386 per child on their return to school, with books and other materials making up about half of the expense. 

In 2022, with rising inflation affecting pretty much all living costs, it’s no surprise that what parents will pay for schoolbooks will be even higher (the overall return to school cost per child is expected to increase to €405). 

For infantil (0 to 6 years), parents can expect to spend €101 per child on schoolbooks, for primaria (6 to 12) it will be €187 and for secundaria (12 to 16) the average expense is €260.

READ ALSO: Why are books so expensive in Spain?

Keeping this in mind, parents should be armed with all the tricks in the book to help reduce costs, so here are some handy cost-cutting tips: 

Compare prices in different bookshops

The website Ahorra en Libros allows you to compare prices in different bookshops, so you can find the cheapest new books. You can search them easily by using the ISBN number.

Independent bookshops

Many independent bookshops will give you the maximum authorised discount of 5 percent on books for Bachillerato (high school), and up to 10 or 15 percent for primary and secondary schoolbooks, so it’s worth asking for a discount.

Second hand websites

Of course, the best way to save money (and to be less wasteful) is to buy second hand. Websites like OkLibros and Relibrea have been set up in recent years specifically to help people find schoolbooks.

Meanwhile many parents have also been using re-sale websites like Wallapop, where users can buy, sell or exchange with people in their neighbourhood.

Some bookshops like La Casa del Libro also have their own second hand book sections, which you can search on their website.

When buying used books, be sure to check that the ISBN number matches the one in the list provided by the school. Text books have to be reedited with new information every few years, so some of them get outdated very quickly.

Getting in touch with other parents at the school

Perhaps the most effective way of swapping books is by getting in touch with other parents. It’s likely many of the books on the curriculum will be the same as the previous year, so it’s worth trying to find someone in the year above who can pass on their books, and someone in the year below who might be able to reuse yours.

The school’s own second-hand scheme

Many schools have been organising their own book swaps, where children effectively “rent” their books and return them at the end of the school year. However, this means the books need to be looked after throughout the year and kept in good condition if you want to get your deposit back.

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For members


What’s the maximum amount you should have in a current bank account in Spain?

Most people in Spain only have one bank account and use it for all different purposes, but what happens when you manage to save up a bit? Here's the official advice on Spanish savings accounts.

What’s the maximum amount you should have in a current bank account in Spain?

Our bank accounts are used for many day-to-day activities such as paying bills, receiving paychecks and buying groceries, but is there a maximum amount of money you should have in your account at one time? And what should you do if you go over this amount?

While there isn’t an official maximum amount that you should have in your current account, the Organisation of Users and Consumers (OCU) advises that your current account only be used for certain amounts and everything over that should be put into different accounts.

According to the OCU, in your main bank account, where you receive your salary, pension or other significant payments, you should have a maximum of three months of your salary.

So for example, if you earn the minimum wage of €1,000 per month in Spain, then the maximum you should have in your current account is €3,000.

READ ALSO – Ask the expert: What are the best UK banks for Brits in Spain?

They advise that you don’t want to go too much under this amount either because you want to make sure you have accessible cash to use when you need it, as well as for possible emergencies. They also suggest checking your account balance regularly to make sure you don’t go into the red and don’t incur extra bank fees.

But equally, you don’t want to have too much in your account and keep all your savings in one place for security reasons.

Savings accounts

The OCU recommends opening a savings account or cuenta ahorro for any amounts greater than three times your salary, rather than keeping it all together in your current account.

Most banks have various types of savings accounts with different interest rates and different fixed terms where you’ll have to keep your money in for a certain amount of time.

For money you’ll need in the short term, but not right away, the OCU suggests putting it into a fixed-rate savings account (cuenta ahorro plazo fijo) for 12 months, but warn that if you need the money before the year is out then you may have to pay fines take it out.

For money that you know you won’t need in the short term, the OCU advises putting it into a long-term investment or a fixed-rate savings account for longer than one year. “For amounts that you don’t plan on touching in the next five or ten years, it’s advisable to make a little profit on it, however, keep in mind there may be seasons in which you suffer some losses too”, they said.

Savings over €100,000

For anyone that has savings over €100,000 in any type of account, it’s important to distribute the amount over various accounts warn the OCU.

This is because during an economic collapse or bank failure, you will not be covered by the EU Deposit Guarantee Fund, which is only able to guarantee the repayment of your money up to €100,000.