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August 8th, 2010
06:21 AM ET

Back-to-school Tech Tips and Advice

From Digital Lifestyle Expert Mario Armstrong:

All month on CNN I'll be sharing "Back to School Tech Tips and Advice." Catch the segments every Saturday around 8:20am ET with TJ Holmes. My 1st tip kicked off with renting, NOT buying text books and where to find low-cost and free Office Suites to do your reports, documents, presentations etc... Did you know that on average U.S. college students spend $1,122 each year for text books? The rental websites in many cases saves you 50% or more for renting the book NOT owning it. I don’t know about you but I wish they had this around when I was in school, I NEVER made out on selling books back to the bookstore 🙂

Here are some of the sites I mentioned this week on CNN:

http://www.Chegg.com – been around for quite some time, some people have called it the Netflix of online book rentals. Ohh and one neat thing about CHEGG is that they apparently are an eco-friendly company, they plant a tree for every book rented.

http://www.RentScouter.com – this site is like a comparison shopping website that searches for a variety of costs for the book you are interested in, whether its new, used, or rental. It’s like a travelocity for book prices.

Office Suites:

1. Microsoft is the most popular used office suite and typically costs $149.00 BUT right now they are offering a nice discount of $79.00. ALERT: In order to get the discount you must show some proof that you are in school – student ID, University or school email address, transcript, class list, anything that can prove you are a current student.

2. If you are looking for free Office Suites then look to OpenOffice.org or Google Docs both of these services are safe to use, I have tested and use both regularly. One thing about Google DOCS is that you can also collaborate on documents in real-time which is great for those group projects you may have.

Look for Mario Armstrong's everything tech segments in the 8 o'clock hour of CNN Saturday Morning with TJ Holmes. This Saturday, Mario shares tips on how to get the best pricing on laptops and netbooks!

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