November 15, 2010
Saving money in grad school
Being an out-of-state student, I am staggered by the cost of school. I actually believe that it is worth every penny, but it is definitely an adjustment financially. In that spirit, I bring you my tips for affording life outside of school.
1. Find a roommate. Splitting costs like rent, internet, and utilities is a great way to save money. You might even be able to split other costs too, like food.
2. Learn to cook. If you don't already cook for yourself all the time, this is a great time to start. Yes, you will be super busy, but try not to give in to the temptation to eat and drink out a lot. It's less healthy, but also adds up cost wise. A week's worth of sandwiches made at home cost about what one sandwich purchased at a deli.
3. Make lists when shopping. I (obviously) adore making lists for all things, but grocery lists are probably the most helpful. Figure out what you will want to eat and then only get what you need. Sticking to the list keeps you from making impulse purchases, so you can better control what you spend.
4. Look for fun free things to do. Ann Arbor seems to have a lot of free events. There are a ton of talks and movies and things on campus, and fun things in town as well. A couple of weeks ago I went to a local food festival where I got to sample a ton of local foods, and it didn't cost a penny. Some of the talks on campus have food, so it's a great way to learn about something and get fed. There are lots of great parks that, in the nice weather, are good places to spend a day.
5. Need furniture/appliances? Hit up the salvation army, craigslist, freecycle, or the SI email list. Lots of people leave college towns and don't want to take their stuff with them, so you can pick up a lot for free or cheaply.
6. Have a budget for fun things. If you like to eat out/go to bars/see movies in theaters/go to concerts/etc., have a budget for it. Look at what you can really afford, and then treat yourself when you really need it, but don't spend more than you can afford.
7. Consider whether you need a car. Ann Arbor is very easy to navigate without a car. The buses are good and free to UM students, so not bringing a car could save a lot of money. I've made the choice to live downtown, so I walk everyplace and use my car only when absolutely necessary, but if I had it to so again I might not have brought it at all.
There are probably a ton of other ways to save that I haven't mentioned, but I think those are good ways to start. And it is definitely possible to live frugally and have fun.
Posted by abbysmi at November 15, 2010 04:30 PM