June 14, 2019 By College Ave Student Loans

Managing Your Money While in Graduate School

Managing Your Money While in Graduate School

Navigating the financial aspects of graduate school can be difficult. Making extra money while you’re enrolled, even if it’s just a small amount here and there, can go a long way in the grand scheme of things. Saving money is also important; as the adage goes, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Here are some ways you can manage your money while in grad school:

Be frugal

There are always ways to cut down on expenses and save money, so you’ll want to take a hard look at your finances and see what you can eliminate. Monthly subscriptions and memberships are a good place to start. For the things you can’t do without, like food and other necessities, explore the different ways you can save. For example, cut down on how often you go out to eat (or stop entirely, unless it’s a special occasion), and use coupons for your grocery store purchases. These small changes can eventually make a significant difference.

Textbooks and course materials

Brand new textbooks and course materials will almost always cost more than used. Your college bookstore will usually sell used textbooks, but it’s important to purchase them as soon as you receive your syllabus and know what your required course materials are, as availability may be limited. You can also usually find used textbooks in off-campus bookstores or online, and in some cases, you may even be able to rent them for a fraction of the cost.

At the end of the semester, you may be able to sell back all or most of your textbooks. Generally, your college bookstore will purchase them, which can help you recoup some of the costs.

Reevaluate your need for a car

According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of car ownership for one year is $9,576. There are a lot of expenses to budget for aside from monthly payments, such as gas, parking, repairs, and auto insurance. If you’re relocating for grad school, consider a city with good public transportation and one that’s easily walkable so you can possibly eliminate the need for a car. Even if the city and/or school is slightly more expensive than other comparable options, you may still end up saving money in the end if you don’t need a car.

Take on part-time work

You may already be working while attending grad school, but if not, consider whether a part-time position would be feasible to take on. Try to find something that not only fits your schedule, but is also related to the field you’re pursuing, as on-the-job experience can help your career opportunities after you graduate.

Working a fixed amount of hours may not be possible if you’ve already got enough on your plate, but you can explore other options that can allow you to take on flexible work and make some extra cash. For instance, you can offer tutoring in your field to other students; as a grad school student, underclassman students and their parents may find it valuable to learn from someone who clearly has demonstrated their academic abilities.

Employer reimbursement

Did you know that many companies cover a portion of college tuition costs for employees? In fact, employers are allowed to provide up to $5,250 tax-free each year for a single employee. If you’re currently working full-time, you’ll want to find out if your employer offers this company perk. If you’re in between jobs and currently seeking employment, you may want to focus on the available positions that provide tuition reimbursement as part of their benefits packages.

Take advantage of what you’re already paying for

Your student ID card can get you discounts on many different things, from clothing to movie tickets, to museum entrances and more. Even if you don’t think a student discount is offered at a particular place, it doesn’t hurt to ask; you may be pleasantly surprised!Also, don’t forget that your tuition is paying for a lot of campus amenities that you may be underusing or forgetting about completely. For instance, your school may have a fully-equipped gym for students, which can allow you to cancel your monthly gym membership. Or your school library may have the books and other course materials you need so that you can avoid costly textbook purchases.

Don’t leave money on the table

Financial aid and scholarships, whether merit-based or need-based, is free money that many students often miss out on.  Even a small amount can be a tremendous help for a grad school student. If you meet income requirements and/or have good grades, you’re strongly encouraged to apply. The Federal Student Aid website is a good place to start.

Because it can be difficult to receive the full amount that’s needed to cover all of your graduate school expenses, you’ll also want to explore your other options. At College Ave Student Loans, we offer a wide variety of graduate student loan products that can make paying for graduate school more manageable. Learn more about the different loans options we provide.