They say money makes the world go ‘round, and while it can’t buy you love or happiness, it can buy you a comfortable future. If you’re a grad student, that should sound like the best deal ever.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, though. You’re going to need to develop a keen eye for maintaining personal finances if you want to make your money last.
We’re no financial experts here, but we can still give you a few pieces of advice that will be helpful to you as a grad student. Read on to help unlock the penny pincher within you.
The First Piece Of Advice: Know Your Necessities
Have you ever regretted buying that bag of Doritos for your late-night Netflix and Chill session? Yeah, us neither, but the truth is that an expense like that could have been avoided.
Knowing your necessities is the first step to becoming better at handling your money. A few direct expenses you may want to consider include your tuition, fees, transportation, textbooks, supplies, and loans. Here‘s a list to get you started.
These costs are usually unavoidable and should be given the highest priority. However, there are a few workarounds that can prove useful.
For example, you’re probably going to need textbooks for all your classes, but you don’t have to pay the full price for them. With just a little bit of investigation, you can probably find a better deal on that biology textbook by purchasing it second-hand or from an ex-student.
It’s not very glamorous, but no one said that being a grad student was. Whenever you’re about to buy something, just take a moment to think about the item that’s in your hand.
Ask yourself: do I really need this right now? Your first answer will probably be “yes”, but don’t give in to temptation!
If you can hold off on buying that new video game for just a while longer, rein yourself in. Save your money for more essential items.
The Second Piece Of Advice: Budget
This next financial tip follows the previous one nicely. If you’ve never been big on budgeting, you’re going to need to change that. It’s not fun, but it is crucial to financial survival as a grad student.
Budgeting means planning ahead, so write down all the necessities that you’ve identified following the previous piece of financial advice. Figure out how much money you’ll need on a weekly and monthly basis to cover these necessities. A good idea, too, is to set money limits for yourself.
As a grad student, you may experience a loss of income from month to month. However, budgeting can be made a little easier if you pay for things upfront where you can.
This includes pre-paying for utilities or rent or purchasing pre-paid phone cards to keep your bills in check. Above all, though, you should come up with a money plan and force yourself to stick to it.
Lastly, when it comes to budgeting, you’re going to need to get good at keeping records, so save all your receipts and organize them as best you can. You should also leave a little wiggle room in your budget, if possible. You’ll be glad you did when you encounter an emergency that demands dealing with immediately.
The Third Piece Of Advice: Cut Costs
As a grad student, you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to cut costs or avoid them entirely. Take out freebies where you can
Look for a part-time job or become a tutor to bring in more money. Always try to find the best deal when buying just about anything, especially school-related equipment.
There are plenty of ways to cut costs, and while it’s certainly not pretty, it’s worth it in the long run. You don’t want to be paying off student debts long into your thirties.
No one said that being a grad student was easy, but ultimately, becoming financially savvy will save you a lot of money in the long run. This is great news considering that you’ll probably be earning a lot more money than you are now, but there are ways to grow your wealth.
You may have to struggle for a bit, but just know that these college years won’t last forever. And with these 3 pieces of advice, you should be off to a great start in your new life.