Editor's note: Barry Courter has a 24-year-old son who is a college graduate and a 20-year-old daughter who is a sophomore in college.
Q: Dad, every semester, the issue of buying textbooks - and these days that often means access codes for ebooks or software - comes up and I never know whether to buy early or wait. Which is correct?
A: It depends. If you have unlimited funds and don't care, get your schedule, find each class' syllabus and buy everything. If money is tight, wait until the first class to find out what you will really need. Of course, that means the book store might run out, or your only option will be an old beat-up copy that will still cost a fortune. You also can try eBay or Amazon, which sell used books, but you'll be going up against students all over the country so supplies run out quickly. The truth is, there is no good answer of which I'm aware.