Today the cost required to attend college is higher than ever. Not only must college students consider the cost of tuition; they must also plan for the ever-increasing costs of housing, food, social outings, and textbooks. The amount of money spent on tuition is rather difficult to adjust. In comparison, by taking a few simple steps, a typical college student can save a significant amount of money when acquiring textbooks. Following are a few simple steps to follow to save significantly on books.

Check The School Bookstore

Often school bookstores are well-aware of the prices listed by discount online retailers or third-party Amazon sellers. To remain competitive in this crowded field, school stores may offer their students textbooks at a significant discount. Before seeking out alternate options, college students should first check their on-campus store.

Don’t Buy, Rent Instead

College students often spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks that they only need for a single semester. At the end of that academic semester, these students are forced to try to sell their books if they wish to reclaim even a small percentage of their original expense. Buy renting in place of purchasing, students can eliminate a great deal of this end-of-semester worry over finding other students to purchase their books. When renting, students are often guaranteed an amount of money that they will receive upon returning the book as long as it is still in good condition. Knowing this expected “return refund” can also help students with budgeting for semesterly costs.

Purchase Early

Far too many college students wait until the very last minute to acquire their books. However, by taking action early, students may be able to save a significant amount of money. Textbook prices inflate as sellers run out of stock. Additionally, used copies – which cost quite a bit less than new versions – typically sell out first.

Seek Out Older Versions

5 Tips For Saving Money on College Textbooks

New versions of textbooks are released every semester. Often these books versions differ from one another minimally, if at all. When a new version of a textbook is released, the previous version drops significantly in price. By purchasing the last version of a textbook, students can save even more money. However, students should also consider that the money they can make reselling these older versions will also be quite a bit lower.

Check Different Formatting Options

Long gone are the days in which the only formatting options from which to choose were paperback or hardcover. Today one is able to choose a hardcover or paperback book, an ebook, or even an audiobook. When making this decision, factors like preferred learning style, convenience and price are taken into consideration. A college student who is more of an auditory learner may favor listening to his or her book. In comparison, a college student who is taking multiple back-to-back courses may favor the convenience of an ebook that can be stored on an iPad or Kindle along with thousands of other titles. Regarding price, ebooks are often cheaper than the most recent physical copy of the same text. This combination of convenience and lower cost may be an ideal option for a busy college student who is looking to save money.

David Milberg is a financial expert from NYC.