Online programs can sometimes be a less expensive option when earning a college degree, but e-learning can also come with its own unexpected costs. Whether some or all of your courses are online, making sure you have the right technology and equipment is essential to successful e-learning. From computers, printers, and internet service to course materials and software, purchasing what you need for e-learning can add up.

You can cut costs, though, by doing a little leg work and making cost-effective purchases.

The following tips may help you save money when buying what you need for e-learning.

Shop for Refurbished Equipment

When shopping for equipment like computers, printers, headphones, and more, it can be tempting to go straight for brand-new, high-end products, but that can lead to some pretty steep prices. Instead, consider looking for used or refurbished equipment. Certified refurbished equipment performs like new. When purchasing refurbished equipment, ask about available warranties in case you need something repaired. Using your own equipment might mean more wear and tear than if you were using campus resources as well

Look for Student Discounts on Tech

Attending classes online instead of in person doesn’t mean you don’t get the same student discounts. Many stores and tech companies offer student pricing sales, back-to-school discount periods, and general year-round student discounts on things like laptops, PCs, software, and more. Whether you’re purchasing equipment yourself or someone else is doing the shopping, be sure to ask about student pricing and discounts. You could be taking advantage of your student status instead of potentially paying more for the things you need for online courses. You may even be able to get equipment and software free or at discounted prices through your college or university. Give them a call and inquire.

Adjust Your Internet Plan

One of the biggest necessities when taking classes online is having reliable internet service. If you already have an internet provider, ask if they offer student discounts or student monthly plans. Some internet providers offer lower pricing just for students. If your current internet provider doesn’t offer discounts for students, consider shopping around a bit. It can make a big difference in your monthly payments. Also, consider switching to a lower internet speed, if possible. Choosing the minimum internet speed needed to accommodate your course activities could reduce your monthly internet bill.

Save on Course Materials

Course materials can often be a big part of college class expenses, and online courses are no different. Even online, tuition and materials can really add up. Contact your school or professors to find out which course materials are necessary and which, if any, are optional. That way, you’re only purchasing or renting what you need to succeed. And whenever possible, try to purchase or rent e-texts and digital copies of required course materials, which are often much cheaper. Depending on which online courses you’re taking, you might even be able to rent the materials or texts you need from your local library for free and save even more money.