The beginning of the semester is a bit of a whirlwind. You need books and parking passes and ID cards and you’re trying to get settled into your apartment and read your assignments for your first classes. And on top of that you have to deal with money. Tuition bills to be paid. Student loans to be disbursed. Student aid living expense refunds to be budgeted. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Many students are receiving large student loan refunds at the start of the semester to fund their living expenses for the fall term. In order to make budgeting a bit easier, I encourage you to deposit this money into a savings account and regularly “pay yourself” by transferring a designated amount to a checking account. When that pay is gone…don’t let yourself access any more funds until the next scheduled “pay day.” This will help you better budget your money to last the whole semester and avoid a diet of pasta and ramen noodles during exams when you’ll be needing proper nourishment the most!
If you need help figuring out a spending plan that works for you, there are several helpful web sites you can refer to. Access Group offers a budget calculator designed specifically for graduate students. This Wall Street Journal article also provides helpful tips on how to develop a spending plan.
Challenge yourself. Do you see places that you can reduce expenses? Try it! You may be surprised at how frugality can become fun.