Managing a budget as a graduate student

I always thought that being in the communications field afforded me the luxury to not think about numbers. I was wrong. I would argue that it’s more important to know how numbers work than words at times, but I digress.

Budgeting is one of those things that I have always struggled with and still do to this day, but I have found a few things that work best for me.

In graduate school, most students have a job or two in addition to their regular class work. Some even have side hustles or passion projects that contribute to the bottom line as well.

It’s important to know how to maximize the money that you are making in order to take a little stress out of your day to day responsibilities while in grad school.

I’ve found that putting half of my paycheck towards rent every week helps keep me accountable and takes the pressure off of trying to make it work at the end of the month.

After that portion is allocated towards rent, I budget how much I might spend on groceries for the week. This is probably where I spend the majority of my paycheck because I personally love to cook. I try to spend time doing things that make me happy throughout the week, so I can adequately complete tasks that I need to do as well.

I shop at Aldi most of the time for more inexpensive produce items and then Trader Joe’s for specialty items that I might want. By doing this I am maximizing the money allocated towards this specific line item so that I can cook the meals that I want while sticking to my budget.

The last portion of my paycheck is allocated towards gas. Since I ride my apartment shuttle during the week, I only purchase gas about once every month.

For the leftover portion of my paycheck there are a couple different ways it can be dispersed. For example, if I really wanted a new pair of jeans or a cute top, I might splurge and purchase one of those items.

Sometimes, I have travel plans coming up and may need to save up for a plane ticket or housing accommodations. Other times, I may not have anything going on and that money might just go into my savings.

As you can see the different ways you can split your check are endless and specific to your personal situation. It’s important to begin making a budget sooner rather than later because it will only benefit you in the long run. It’s important to begin making a budget sooner rather than later because it will only benefit you in the long run.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your money, I hope this provides insight.

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Halle Upshaw

Halle Upshaw is a graduate student in the advertising program at the Newhouse School.