As Fall semester moves forward and National Savings Day nears closer on October 12, it’s time to focus on money saving tips while in graduate school. Here are a few tips and resources to steer you in the right direction.
Take Advantage of Scholarships
Several scholarships are available to graduate students that are based on various academic, need-based, merit-based or other achievements and generally do not require repayment. For example, the American Institute of CPAs sponsors a number of scholarships for students pursuing degrees and careers in Finance and Accounting. The GetEducated.com Distance Learning scholarship is offered twice a year with deadlines on March 15 and October 15. You can also visit FastWEB for additional links to opportunities available to graduate students.
There are also resources such as The College Board, GAfutures.org, GoodCall and FinAid that provide information regarding scholarship opportunities. Visit UGA’s Office of Financial Aid to explore your options.
Create a Monthly Budget
The Balanced Money Formula crafted by Elizabeth Warren is a high-level allocation of your net (after tax) pay to three areas: needs, wants, and savings. The ratio of the BMF is 50% to needs, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings.
Needs are defined as all expenses that must be paid on a regular basis, such as rent/mortgage, minimum debt payments, insurance, groceries, transportation, and utilities. Wants are your discretionary purchases such as restaurant eating, entertainment, shopping, and travel. Savings are broken up into a few stages and categories, and it is recommended that students put their savings into an emergency fund and/or savings toward accumulated debt.
Another budgeting tip for grocery shopping is to buy in bulk, cook in bulk and save the leftovers. Meal planning and prepping for the week helps save your resources as well as using coupons on the grocery store apps on your phone. Investing in your local grocery store point program will save you money on select items and purchases on sale.
Use Student Discounts When You Can
Fortunately, dozens of restaurants and businesses offer student discounts on meals or select purchases. Some companies require a student identification card in order to receive the discount. A UGACard can be purchased for $20 and $1 for shipping. Complete instructions are included on the online site order form.
Arby’s offers 10% on their meals as well as Buffalo Wild Wings and Burger King. After providing your student I.D., Chipotle will grant you a free drink and you can save up to 5% on your groceries at your local Kroger. If you’re looking to satisfy a sweet craving, Dairy Queen and Dunkin Donuts gives 10% off your purchase
In addition, a variety of retail stores offer similar discounts on their items. In order to save 15% off your purchase, stop by J.Crew, Banana Republic and Madewell. Year-round ASOS, Toms, Topshop and other retailers offer a 10% discount to all students.
Amazon offers a special student offer on their prime shipping program, and you can enjoy a six-month free trial that includes free two-day shipping on Prime purchases. Once your trial ends, you can get a discounted Amazon Prime membership for up to four years or until you graduate.
If you are in need of financial guidance, the Graduate School offers a free Financial Education Program to all UGA Graduate students as well as free Financial Advising.
The University of Georgia recently introduced a new website to deal specifically with financial hardship issues that arise in students' lives after they begin at UGA.
Even if you are not in a period of financial hardship, it is important to know the kinds of options available to you if a need arises. Check out the Financial Hardship website established by UGA and contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at 706-542-6147 if necessary.