Anyone who’s trying to get a Masters Degree or a PhD knows how difficult it can be to be carefree about money when you’re in grad school. It’s not the same as when you were in college the first time around. You’re older therefore supposed to be more mature, responsible and completely self sufficient.
We know how tough things can get. Even if you juggle school and a job on the side, a lot of necessary expenses – rent, food, textbooks, and tuition – can take out a lot from your savings. And then there’s the tiny matter of saving up for the future for when you’ll no longer be a student. Most people don’t land a job right after stepping out of grad school. There are interviews to appear for and finding the right kind of employers to suit you (who in turn take their sweet time trying you out for size). It’s absolutely essential that you think ahead and save up for these times so that you don’t end up having to skip a meal or two just so you can find the right suit for your interview.
Money is a bare necessity. Grad school itself is expensive and involves a lot of costs. Instead of living paycheck to paycheck, here are a few tips you can follow to save up when you’re studying in grad school.
- Save on rent. Find a nice, cheap place to live. Remember you don’t need a Jacuzzi or a well decorated front porch. Find a place that is clean, comfortable and suitable for your budget. It’s best to have a roommate in your grad school years so that you can split the rent and save up that way.
- Be social but frugal. One of the most enjoyable aspects of school is the social life. You’re not under your parents’ reign anymore, nor do you have a curfew. Enjoy your life as much as you can before work takes over but be careful not to spend too much money on social activities. Avoiding bars and drinking at home or at a friends’ place can be surprisingly effective to save some money.
- Walk or bike to work. Neither of these activities will cost you money, and these are good for your health!
- Switch off the lights when you don’t need them. Saving up on electricity bills can go a long way in keeping your cash with you. Make a habit of switching off all lights, fans and other electronic appliances when you don’t need them.
- Get in the habit of shutting down your laptop instead of just putting it on standby. Laptops are notorious for raising expenses. Putting it on standby will drain the laptop battery of its power faster; it’s better to just shut it off and turn it on when needed so you don’t have to waste extra power charging it up too frequently.
- Pack your own lunch. Eating healthy food like fruits and veggies instead of take outs will help you save money. Pack your lunch with light, inexpensive healthy food and avoid eating fast food as they have long term effects on your health and will eventually lead to extra costs in the future.
- Cut down on unnecessary expenditures. Avoid spending too much money on things you don’t need. Before buying something ask yourself if you really need it and if you will fare too badly without it. If the answer is no, don’t buy it and save that money for when you really need something.
- Join a library. Grad school costs a lot as it is. Instead of buying first hand textbooks, join a library and make a habit of taking notes as meticulously as possible. A simple library membership costs a lot less than buying hundreds of textbooks every semester.
- Make use of students’ discount whenever possible. This is one of the ways you can enjoy your life in grad school whilst saving money as there are students’ discounts on public transport, in movie theatres, retail stores as well as bookstores. Take advantage wherever and whenever possible.