Here are healthy financial habits tips to ensure you don’t earn another graduate degree all while in financial hardship.
If you’re currently a grad student or will soon be one, there’s a chance your studies will consume a great percentage of your life, which might not leave you with much time or energy to work. Loans, family, savings and stipends are just a few of the ways you can support yourself financially, but even then you’ll want to take steps to properly manage your funds so they last as long as possible. Learn healthy financial habits and tips to ensure you don’t earn another graduate degree in financial hardship.
1. Separate Your Needs From Your Wants
Tuition, books, supplies and class fees are a few unavoidable in grad school, so you’ll have to factor them into your budget. That being said, it’s always best to look for ways to save money on the things you absolutely have to have. For instance, in terms of insuring the car you use to get back and forth from campus, work with your local insurance agency to see where and how you can save on your policy. When shopping for textbooks, see if you can find a less expensive used option or download the book on your tablet. Always ask if you need something or if you just want it before buying.
2. Track Every Penny
When you do spend money, make sure you know where every penny is going. There are plenty of apps available that easily let you keep up with your spending. When you see where all your money is going, you might be surprised at where and how you can save without compromising your quality of life. Spending and saving with complete awareness is key to proper financial health.
3. Develop Good Banking Habits
If you receive financial aid, get into the habit of transferring your money from your savings account to your checking account once a month and only once a month to better ensure you don’t draw too much. Additionally, when you draw money from your checking account through ATM withdrawals, make sure you take out enough money to last you for the week before putting your card away, which is another good way to avoid overdrawing. If you also use a credit card, be sure you only whip it out for emergencies and that you pay it off as much as you can before the end of the month.
4. Have an Emergency Fund
For those unexpected financial bumps in the road, it’s good to have an emergency fund. Be sure you budget to put back a percentage of your income into an emergency fund every time you make those monthly withdrawals mentioned above. Even if you aren’t able to save very much, every little bit you put back could mean the difference between you and a financial disaster. Your future self is sure to thank you.
5. Slice Costs When and Where You Can
Use your school as a way to save money and take advantage of free resources. For instance, you can check out free books and DVDs at the library, and there might even be opportunities for you to get a free meal here and there. Additionally, your school might offer part-time job openings or work-study assignments you can use to make some extra cash. Keep your eyes open, and don’t hesitate to ask your professors and instructors if they know of anything you might be interested in. There’s a chance you might be able to make money and earn credit at the same time.
Grad school is often hard enough as is without factoring in financial difficulties. Even if you’re a few years away from grad school or graduation from college, these tips can still be of significant help.