Graduate stipends may be generous or minimal and local cost of living may be high or low. Any which way, you can choose a lifestyle and money management system that enable you to efficiently allocate your pay.
You just received your offer letter, but you don’t have context for the stipend amount vs. the local cost-of-living. How far will my stipend go?
The most optimal time to think about you money and deliberately choose your lifestyle is before you even arrive on campus. Set yourself up for success by keeping your large fixed expenses in line and bring savings with you to grad school.
Before you start making a budget, reflect on your values. Only then can you formulate your goals and pick your tactics.
Learn to think of your low income as a blessing in disguise.
There are many money management systems you can have success with and many pieces of software that can help. Be sure to account for your irregular expenses in your budget.
Don’t buy the pro-credit card or anti-credit card hype. You need to determine whether using a credit card is best for you.
When you have a limited income, you can free up money for what you really want to do by adopting frugal practices. Focus first on enacting the best kind of frugality.
Further listening: Financial Basics for Grad Students: Priorities, Budgets, and Credit with Patricia Berhau on the PhD in Progress Podcast
Resource: The Graduate Student’s Guide to Personal Finance
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