Home > NewsRelease > How to Manage your Budget in Grad School, Part 1 By Holly D. Johnson, for Bankrate
How to Manage your Budget in Grad School, Part 1 By Holly D. Johnson, for Bankrate
Dr. Donald C. Martin -- Graduate Study Expert Dr. Donald C. Martin -- Graduate Study Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Chicago, IL
Thursday, August 25, 2022


Starting a graduate program is an exciting time for many students, but it’s often accompanied by challenges that go beyond the new course material.

Not only is graduate school expensive, but some students may already be managing debt from an earlier degree. Grad school student loans also come with fewer perks than undergraduate student loans, which can exacerbate the financial burden of further education. There are also opportunity costs if your work options are limited while you study.

That said, there are steps anyone can take to lessen the financial impact of graduate school. Learn what you can do to keep graduate school debt to a minimum, along with steps you can take now to prepare for your financial future after graduation.
Planning a graduate student budget
No matter what type of budget you plan to use, whether it’s written or app-based, there are several factors to keep in mind. These include your income, or the amount of money you typically bring in each month, as well as your fixed expenses and variable expenses. Using a student budget calculator can help you get a sense of how your expenses add up.
Fixed expenses are bills that typically do not fluctuate on a monthly basis and can include things like:

    • Rent or mortgage payment
    • Car payment
    • Car insurance, life insurance and other insurance bills
    • Health insurance premiums
    • Cellphone bill
    • Child support
    • Loan payments on personal loans
Variable expenses include bills that can fluctuate regularly, such as:
    • Grocery expenses
    • Dining out
    • Utility bills
    • Miscellaneous purchases
    • Clothing costs
    • Personal care expenses
    • Healthcare expenses
You may not be able to do much about fixed expenses, but budgeting is easier if you can find ways to cut back in the variable categories. For example, could you dine out less or cancel a subscription? Little things add up.
Budget Types
Getting started with budgeting basics may be easier said than done. The fact is, there are a huge number of budgeting options, from the 50/30/20 budget rule to the envelope budgeting method.

One budget strategy that works well when you’re on a limited income is called zero-sum budgeting. Here’s how zero-sum budgeting works:

    • Using paper or a spreadsheet, note your expected monthly income for the next month in one column and estimate your fixed and variable expenses in the other.
    • Next, allocate your expected income for the month in the best way you can by designating money for things like rent, bills and other costs.
    • Allocate every dollar. If you have extra income, put it toward savings or debt repayment.
    • Track your spending throughout the month to make sure you stay the course.

The main goal with zero-sum budgeting is putting each dollar of income to use.

Be sure to check out Dr. Don’s book, “Road Map for Graduate Study, A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students,” right here on the GSRM website. For a reduced price CLICK HERE, go to The Book page, scroll down, click on the Order Now box, and use discount code GSRM.

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Name: Dr. Donald C. Martin
Group: Grad School Road Map
Dateline: Chicago, IL United States
Direct Phone: 773-549-7639
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