Ok, I'm about to tell you a secret. A big secret. One I hope will help you save money. Here it is: How to get college textbooks for cheap.
Ok, so you have your textbook list, right? How about getting your textbooks for free? In that case, check Bracken Library and borrow the books that they have. They don't have it? Then get them through Interlibrary loan. This system allows Ball State students to browse other schools' libraries for the books they want. When they find what they need, the library will send the book to Ball State-- all for free! Honors College students have a leg up here since they can borrow library books for the entire year as opposed to a few weeks (Although Interlibrary loan items usually have a two week limit for everyone), but with some planning you'll be able to get all the information you need from a book in two weeks. And if not? Just check it out again.
Let's say that's a little too much planning and effort just to save a few bucks. In that case, try sharing books with classmates. This works really well for textbooks. Just split the cost of the book with a friend and share the book. It's also nice because you'll always have a study partner. At the end of the semester, sell the book to someone and split the proceeds.
Still want to buy your own books? That's ok, because the internet is full of deals. I just learned that amazon.com has a student offer-- free two-day shipping on books. Nice, huh? But before you buy, be sure to compare prices at half.com, textbooks.com, and on Facebook Marketplace. There are tons of other places to look, so ask around and get some recommendations.
And while you're asking, find someone who has already taken your class and ask to buy their old books. It's true local bookstores will buy back books at the end of the semester, but the price they pay is usually a joke. You can offer to pay more than the bookstore, but less than what the bookstore is reselling it for. That way, everyone wins (well, not the bookstore, but whatever).
And of course, if you're in a bind or running short on time, you can always purchase books the old-fashioned way at the bookstores around campus. A word of caution: have the book list BEFORE you go to the store; I've had a few occasions where the bookstore has insisted something is required for the class, but it really wasn't. If they're selling the books in a package and it includes items you don't have to have and don't want to buy (*cough*physicalfitnessclasses*cough*), ask them to sell you only the items you need. You do not HAVE to purchase those packages, so don't let them make you spend unnecessary money.
That's it! I hope it helps.