Budgetting in Grad School

By: Penelope Strid – 2nd Year – Epidemiology

Graduate school is expensive, living in Atlanta can be expensive, and the costs just keep piling up! Luckily, many resources are available to keep your budget on track. Below you will find a list of some of my favorite ways to save money, however this list is by no means comprehensive.

The most important part of keeping a budget, is to have a budget! Know how much money you are bringing in each month, and what your non-negotiable bills are (e.g. rent, utilities, insurance, etc.). When you move, look at various resources, rent prices change DAILY! Furthermore, Emory offers many resources to find roommates so you can share the cost of living. Remember simple things, like turning off the lights and utilize eco mode on your air conditioner (this is HOTlanta). Shop around for WiFi, at various times companies will offer discounts. For example, I happened to get a deal where I pay $20/mo for 12 months, but after I made 5 payments, I received a $100 gift card. It was like getting 5 months of internet free!

Next let’s look at the negotiables. See if you can cut back on extras like subscription services and a phone plan. Personally, I used Virgin Mobile for years and never had a problem; $35/month for unlimited! I only recently switched to a family plan because my sister and I needed new phones at the same time, so we got a 2 for 1 phone deal on ATT. Also, many companies provide monthly service discounts for students.

Technology companies also commonly offer student discounts. At Rollins you are not required to have a certain type of computer, therefore it may be nice to have a Mac Book, but PCs are just as useful for school work and cost much less! Personally, I am a fan of Lenovo computers. This year I got a new 15.7” Lenovo with an Intel i5, 7th generation for $400 with tax (at Microcenter)! EPIs and BIOS, you will be happy to have the extra number pad.

Student emails are a magical thing! You can get most software for free or at a significantly reduced price. At Rollins, we also have a virtual desktop, so all programs you need for classwork such as SAS can be access through this virtual desktop, eliminating the need for you to buy your own license to these pricey programs!

Your student email address can provide you with discounted services like Amazon Prime, Spotify and Hulu, and many others. Make yourself a coupon email. Sign up for the discount emails and reward programs from all your favorite stores. This way, whenever you visit the store, you can check for a coupon! Personally, I like to watch stores for their discounting trends. For example, some stores always offer 30% off your online order. However, with patience you may find the stores puts a certain product at 50% off every two months, plus you can then get the 30% off your online order. Savings! I do the same in stores. Most stores will have sales that include their sale section a few times a year (e.g. Nordstrom Rack). Sale sections are my favorite sections! Unless you really need a certain pair of shoes for tomorrow, wait it out, they will probably go on sale! You may miss out on some products by waiting, however most times, you’ll find something else that fits even better.

Just because you are trying to save money, doesn’t mean you have to sit at home in the dark eating ramen. Ask for student discounts, see if any of your professional organizations/memberships offer discounts, join all the email lists, and most importantly, ask what others do! Although you may be short on time, shopping around for all your products is helpful in getting deals.