Expenses in undergraduate add up and will continue to do so in undergraduate programs. You can take control of your budget effectively and make the most out of it with some key tips in mind. Don’t allow yourself to succumb to massive debt when it can be avoided with these tips:
Take Out the Smallest Amount of Loans if Possible
Only take out the loans you need. This might mean taking out loans for classes and school, but not living expenses like rent. If you can score a bartending job, that can help you pay for your expenses that aren’t school-involved. You will thank yourself for this later. Student loans in graduate school can pile up pretty quickly if you aren’t careful.
Establish Good Credit As Soon as You Can
If you don’t already have a credit card, get one. You should definitely get a rewards credit card. This can save you a lot of money through cash back programs and other benefits. When using a credit card, make sure you are buying things you can pay off at the end of the month. This seems like a no-brainer, but you want to avoid credit card debt at all costs. Use your credit card to elevate your financial standpoint, not worsen it.
Save Money by Shopping Online and at Discount Stores
Buy your books and school supplies online at used books shops. There are good deals on Ebay and Amazon. A lot of people just want to get rid of their books and will make them pretty cheap on these sites. This is way better than paying full price for new books.
Buy your clothes second-hand if possible as well. You can also shop at inexpensive e-commerce sites. Try to not pay full price for anything while in graduate school. Not only can you save money on clothes by shopping cheaply, but there are discount grocery stores all over. Scope out the local grocery stores and find the ones with the lowest prices. Figure out which day of the week is the cheapest to shop during as well—this can save you a bunch of money.
Open a High Interest Savings Account
There are a ton of online banks out there that offer high interest savings accounts. Put any leftover money into these accounts to save up for when you have to pay off your loans. It might not feel like a lot of money, but it will be worth it in the long run. Any fraction of savings will help your financial standing.
Stick to Your Budget
Hold yourself accountable and stick to your budget. You don’t want to increase your stress of school by not having enough money. Decide what you can spend every month, and track your expenses.
Set a budget before you get busy with classes. This will be a skill you will use throughout graduate school and after. You can’t be too smart about money while in school—your future bank account will thank you.