Home > NewsRelease > How to Manage your Budget in Grad School, Part 2 By Holly D. Johnson, for Bankrate
How to Manage your Budget in Grad School, Part 2 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
Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Here is Part 2 of this very helpful article.
Graduate school budget template
Most grad students don’t need anything fancy when it comes to a budget template. You can follow the Federal Student Aid office’s examples and create your own using any free spreadsheet tool.
If you’re a Microsoft Office user, you can search for a variety of free templates, including for a college budget or a personal budget. With their personal budget template, for example, you can input and track your bills, expenses and savings at any time. From there, you can use the tool to create charts and graphs, giving you a bird’s-eye view of your financial situation.
Free budgeting tools
If you like the idea of tracking your purchases and spending automatically, you can try a budgeting app. For example, the free Mint budgeting app is an expense-tracking tool that will automatically track and report on every purchase you make while helping you manage bills and regular expenses. The free tool will even categorize your purchases so that you know how much you’re spending in discretionary categories like dining out, groceries and entertainment.
There are other helpful budgeting apps to consider as well, including options like PocketGuard, EveryDollar and Goodbudget.
Managing debt
When you’re a graduate student, it’s important to manage any debt you already have while minimizing any new debt you take on. The way you manage your overall debt should depend on the specific type of debts you have and their respective interest rates.
Credit card debt
Because the average credit card interest rate is currently over 17 percent, you should strive to pay down this type of debt if you have it. Consider making extra payments toward the principal each month until your debt is gone, and stop using credit cards for purchases if you can help it.
You can also consider consolidating credit card debt with a balance transfer credit card. This type of card typically has a 0 percent intro APR for 15 to 21 months, depending on the terms of the specific card. That means interest won’t continue to build up during the initial period.
If you make this move, you’ll owe a balance transfer fee, which is typically 3 percent of the amount of debt you transfer, but the overall savings may be worth it. Paying down debt at 0 percent APR can help you save money on interest, pay off debt faster or both. A balance transfer calculator can help you estimate the savings.
Keep in mind, the 0 percent APR offer won’t last forever. You’ll need a plan to lower your debt, or ideally become free of credit card debt, before your interest rate resets to the regular variable rate.
Student loan debt
Nearly all student loans for graduate students charge interest while you’re still in school, so you should strive to make payments during your program if you can.
Making payments can help you keep your student loan debt from ballooning, even if you make interest-only payments while you’re in school. If you can make more than the interest payment on your student loans, that’s even better.
If you have to make payments on undergraduate school loans while you’re in grad school, you should also make sure you’re on the right payment plan for your needs. Beyond the traditional 10-year repayment plan for federal student loans, you can also consider extended repayment or income-driven repayment plans.
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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