Welcome to Grad Student Finances! This site is a resource for grad students who want to make the most of their money while still in school. Grad school isn't a time-out period from our financial lives, especially once you understand the power of habits and compound interest. Whether you want to minimize your loans, break out of living (stipend) paycheck-to-paycheck, or build your savings, we want to support you in your financial journey. Browse the pages below to learn how to improve your relationship with money, navigate the sidebar to join the GSF community, and email us with what you want to see on the site!

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If you’re not sure what financial goals you might want to set as a graduate student, look first at how your finances would handle an emergency. An emergency fund is a vital component of financial health; being a graduate student, whether funded or unfunded, does not exempt you from this basic requirement. If you don’t yet … Continue reading Why Every Grad Student Should Have a $1,000 Emergency Fund

The largest line item in nearly every graduate student’s budget is housing. Whether you own your home or rent, whether you live on campus or off, whether you live in an apartment/condo, townhouse, or single family home, unless someone is subsidizing it, you are almost certainly spending the biggest chunk of your income on your … Continue reading Your Most Important Budget Line Item in Graduate School and Why You Need to Re-Evaluate It

When you live on a stipend, frugality is a way of life. You know you can’t live a freewheeling lifestyle on your grad student income, at least not without racking up massive debt. But the approach you take to frugality has an enormous effect on how restrictive you perceive your lifestyle to be and how … Continue reading The Best Kind of Frugality for a Busy Grad Student

At first blush, graduate students and the FIRE community don’t have much in common. FIRE stands for Financial Independence/Retiring Early; it is a movement to retire or reach financial independence (working becomes optional) very early in life, often by age 30 or 40. FIRE aspirants usually have high-paying jobs that they wish to stay in … Continue reading What Grad Students Can Learn from the FIRE Community

Today’s post is by a PhD student who learned an important lesson about setting boundaries as a contractor with an employer. Name: Mark University: University of Illinois Department: Mechanical Engineering 1) What was your side or temporary job? PCB circuit board design for a small local company. Designed and tested a small electronic device. Then … Continue reading Circuit Board Designer

Your budget and budgeting method will be unique to you as an individual. You need to find a method that serves the purposes you set for it without being too onerous for you to follow. Below are a few common ways to budget – you can mix and match as best suits you. Line Item … Continue reading Budgeting Methods