Going to graduate school is not only hard work but it is also expensive. Whether you are a full-time student or a part-time student, you could be spending tens of thousands of dollars per semester for your degree. While expenses like tuition are unavoidable, there are ways for graduate students to lower their expenses at university. Here are 4 money saving tips for graduate students.
Cook Your Own Meals
One of the easiest ways to save money and gain a new skill is by cooking your own meals rather than eating out. This may be a turn off for some but during my master’s program I learned how to make my meals tastier and more interesting. For example, I found a quick and easy recipe for stuffed mushrooms that makes for a tasty side dish with dinner. Another money saving tip for graduate students is to learn to cook the meals you like to eat when you go out. If you like pizza, find an easy pizza recipe. For me, I love burgers and fries. Instead of buying fast foods I just get burger patties, buns, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes to make fries. There’s also the bonus of eating healthier meals!
Rent Your Textbooks
If you think your textbooks were expensive as an undergraduate, wait until you start graduate school. You could end up paying between $200 – $600 per semester for books you’ll probably never use again. The saving tips for graduate students that I’d recommend is for you to rent your textbooks rather than buy them. Thankfully there are many sources for students to rent their textbooks at a fraction of the sale price. Amazon is a great example of this.
Take Public Transit
In New Jersey, gas prices have fluctuated between just over $5 and $3 per gallon. Depending on your commute to work or school, gas expenses could amount to over $100 a month. Taking public transportation is a great way to save money for graduate students. Especially if your campus is located in a city where you have to pay for parking. In some cases, your university may offer parking passes for students, but that amount can be more expensive than fees paid for public parking.
Taking public transit also reduces the cost of maintaining your vehicle. You’ll need less oil changes done. You can also go longer periods before needing new tires. Also, mechanical malfunctions are less frequent. A great bonus is you can end up paying less in car insurance as your yearly mileage will decrease. Taking public transit is a great way to save for graduate students.
Use Cash Back Credit Cards
Using a credit card is one of the best methods to build good credit. Credit cards can also be used to save money. Most credit card companies now offer competitive incentives to encourage customers to use their credit cards for purchases. Many companies offer generous cashback up to 5% of purchases for the period. Find out which of your credit cards offer this bonus and use this credit card for recurring purchases. Be mindful that to get the benefit of this savings tip you need to pay your credit card balance in full. This is one of the riskier money saving tips for graduate students but if you manage your credit card spending responsibly, you’ll be rewarded.
Buy Consignment Furniture/Décor
If you’re in graduate school right now you’re planning to build a better and more financially secure life. Therefore, you don’t need the most classy or highest quality furniture. However, you still want your house to feel like a home and reflect your unique personality/taste. A compromise is to get high quality furniture at a consignment or a thrift store. If you’re not too concerned about quality, then you can find plenty of great options throughout your or neighboring town. Remember, when you finish your program and get that dream job, you’ll be able to afford new furniture to match your budget. This is one of my favorite money saving tips for graduate students.
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