Tips for Grads: Managing your summer budget

By Olivia Gacka, PhD Student
Being able to manage a budget is an essential skill, whether it’s for a place of employment, an organization you volunteer with, or your own. Summers can be especially difficult for budgeting as a graduate student, particularly if you have an assistantship or funding that is not year-round. Here are some tips to keep in mind to think about this summer, and all year long:

  • Use your resources: Take advantage of GradReady, a free financial wellness tool available to UW students through the Office of Student Financial Aid. In addition to being a resource for planning out the repayment of student loans, GradReady also offers modules and tips for budgeting, building credit, and financial planning and goal-setting.
  • Keep track: Keep track of what other people owe you! Five dollars here, half the price of that box of cereal there. Keeping count of who owes what is certainly possible on paper or in your phone’s notes, but why leave the math for future you to deal with? Apps like Splitwise help you keep track of how much you and your roommate owe each other or how much it comes out to if you and two friends split a bill, without any money needing to change hands until you’re ready to settle up.
  • Know that you have a safety net: Even the best-laid plans can fall victim to unexpected roadblocks. Don’t forget that as a UW­­–Madison graduate student, you are able to apply for crisis loans through the Dean of Students office. An unexpected emergency or sudden life change is hard to budget for, so know that help is out there!

Tips for Grads is a professional and academic advice column written by graduate students for graduate students at UW­–Madison. It is published in the student newsletter, GradConnections Weekly.