Being a Broke Grad Student: It’s Not That Bad!

Today was one of those days where the universe reminded me that I am a broke grad student. I went to the grocery store today to get stuff to make ramen. Yes, I fit the stereotype and eat ramen in grad school. So, I don’t just get ramen, I get peppers, garlic, bok choy, and of course, ramen noodles. I had a gift card, so everything was pretty much free for me, but I saw that just a few items was almost the whole gift card. The cashier was even complaining about the prices of everything.

It sort of made me realize just how broke grad students really are. I didn’t have this problem before, but the inflation has really taken a toll on everyone. See, thankfully, as a PhD candidate in engineering, I make more than most grad students. But recently, the prices of everything have really caused me to have to cut a ton of things out of my life just to be able to get food for me and my cat Sirius. Now, this isn’t a post about how poor we all are and how life sucks being in grad school. No, I want to make a post about how being poor in grad school can be a blessing. So, come with me on a very optimistic journey!

First, Let’s Rant

This rant is for all you grad students working 60+ hours a week and only getting paid for 20. So, grad students work a ton. They also get paid barely enough to eat ramen noodles. Some grad students get paid so little that they are forced to take out loams while their advisers male enough money to go on multiple trips throughout the year, fix their cars when things go bad, and also pay for hospital bills. I know many grad students that have had to leave academia because they were malnourished from not being able to eat.

For those that are going to say “well you’re supposed to be poor, you’re all students”, many of us are students but work a full time job doing research. So, if you decided to work a full time job and go to college at the same time, should your boss give you a pay cut? Grad students are employees.

I do know many grad students that have to have jobs on the side in order to eat as well. I happen to be one of those grad students. The inflation has hit us fairly hard too. See, grad students that get paid a stipend only get raises when the graduate union bargains for one. Colleges do not like giving grad students higher pay and, at least for me, we haven’t seen a raise in stipend since 2017. So, basically, we all make significantly less than we did 5 years ago.

Ok, I got that out of my system, now let us talk about how being poor in grad school can actually be a bit of a gift. I will give a few examples to make things a bit more optimistic.

Being a poor grad student is a blessing

Being a broke grad student can be somewhat of a blessing, though you may not be able to see it. Let me explain a little. See, being poor teaches you a ton of very valuable life lesson and skills.

Let’s first start off with the lessons that we are taught.

Being poor makes you understand what most of the nation is going through. You understand the hardships that come with being lower class. You can share these feelings with others and know just how hard it can be for many people living the same way as you. See, you may not realize these things when you are making money and possibly middle to upper class.

Another valuable lesson that you learn is to appreciate the things that you do have. See, in a materialistic society, we always want more, more more. When was the last time that you bought something and used it more than once lol? We often buy things because we can. We always want something and Amazon or online shopping or anything has made it to where we can satisfy that want. So, we tend to by stuff to satisfy this want.

When you are poor, you start to appreciate the very simple things in your life like going on walks, hanging with friends without having to spend money, and other things like maybe taking a hike or a bike ride, if you have a bike. Simple stuff like this is what really brings us join in our lives. Those materialist items will bring some happiness, but it never lasts.

being a broke grad student

You learn how to be poor

When you have money, you don’t know anything but that. What would happen if you lost all of your money one day? You’d be in a very bad situation. You might not know what to do with yourself and you’d be extremely stressed out, that’s for sure. When you are in grad school, you learn how to live and survive on very little. You are able to feed yourself and house yourself on extremely little for a very long time. You learn how to shop for deals, live at places that you can afford, and manage money. These are skills that are not really taught in school. These are also highly valuable skills that will benefit you in the future. Once you graduate, you may continue to live this way. You might have a ton of money but live in a very quaint apartment or house.

Learning how to live on very little money has helped me so much when it comes to food shopping and apartment hunting. I have learned all of these soft skills that I wouldn’t have while working full time. So, when all of my money seems to disappear one day, I will be ready!

More Great things about being a broke grad student

Here is a list of more great things that come from being a broke grad student. If you have any more to add, please share in the comments.

  1. You won’t eat out as much. This is good for your health, unless you start buying McDonalds everyday lol.
  2. You Won’t spend all of your money on Amazon.
  3. You’ll start using coupons and figure out the best deals on items.
  4. You won’t develop bad habits such as partying every night like you did in undergrad.
  5. You’ll get very creative presents for people. You might even just make stuff instead of buying things.
  6. You may come up with a way to make side money that is passive (cough cough blogging).
  7. You don’t have to worry if you lose it all since you don’t really have much to lose.
  8. The friends in your life are “real friends” as they don’t just hang out with you when you partying.
  9. You will know what rock bottom is like and know that it’s only up from here.
  10. People will buy you tings because they know you are poor. This one is one of my favorites lol.
  11. You buy fewer items which means that you are less likely to end up on the show “Hoarders”
  12. You know you can handle tough times and become a stronger person because of that.

Final Thoughts

You know, thinking about writing this post made me a bit worried because I didn’t think I could come up with enough reasons to be happy as a broke grad student. Now I realize that I am very happy as a broke grad student and very appreciative of the time I have had as one. I know many people struggle with finances while in grad school. I totally understand and I have a post about how to handle that (link here). The best thing that you can possibly do to be a little less miserable is count your blessings. Write out all of the good things about being broke in grad school, like I did above, and really see that it is not as bad as you make it out to be. Changing our perception of something can really make a difference.

How was that? Are you feeling better about being poor lol? Let me know if you agree with my post or not. Be happy guys and gals, it’s the weekend. Go do something fun and enjoy the beautiful weather. I am hoping to go scootering tomorrow or possibly kayaking, but we will see. I hope you all have a wonderful night/ day, depending on when you read this. I will see you in the next one. Peace.

Apply For Jobs For After Grad School

I have been actively looking for jobs after grad school for the past month. I graduate in almost 7 months to the day, so I figured I would try my luck at job hunting. Man, has it been quite the journey so far. I have had quite a few interviews so far and I almost get emails daily about setting up more interviews. Finding a job with a doctorate has been pretty easy so far.

Today, I want to talk about when to really start looking for jobs and some other helpful advice when it comes to the job search. This is totally my opinion, not backed by research or anything lol. I am sure that there are studies out there on when the best time to apply for a job in grad school. Maybe I will link some in this post if I find some.

Applying for Jobs For After Grad School

This is what it’s all about. Grad school prepared you for your next phase at that usually is one of two things 1) academia jobs 2) industry jobs. If you are like me, you are probably going into industry. Yes, being a professor sounds really cool, but I want some experience first, and honestly want to make some money. At least enough to pay off loans lol.

Applying for jobs for after grad school can be difficult at first. You may not know what you want to do in life. You might be comfortable where you are and continue doing things because it’s familiar and not scary like going to a new place. I get it, this is a scary part of the journey, but also a very exciting one. Trust me when I say, it will all be fine!

What you need to do first

You have been studying for years, taking exams, writing papers, doing research, and writing dissertations. This is all you really have done for a while and now you have to find something that uses those skillsets to actually make a difference. The very first thing that you must do before applying to a job after grad school is find out what you want to do with your life. Well, find out what you want to do with your life at the moment. Your career interests will definitely change so don’t think you’ll be stuck doing the same thing for the rest of your life.

The biggest things is to search for careers that interest you. Something meaningful, exciting, maybe good paying (I can go on and on about this lol), and something that essentially makes you happy or at least feel satisfied. The people that do the best work are the ones that find meaning in what they do and are genuinely interested in the work. The ones that aren’t interested yet do really good work are called robots lol. If you are searching for a career in something that doesn’t pique your interests, you won’t be fulfilled. There are exceptions though. You may find your niche by taking a weird job that you had no interest in. This does happen, but maybe try that later on down the road.

What you need to do next

When applying for jobs for after grad school, you need to not put it off until the end. First, figure out when you are going to graduate. This is important, especially with doctorates, because sometimes things happen and you graduate earlier or later than expected (thanks Covid). Once you know when you will be graduating, plan to start looking for jobs at least 6 months out. It can be a casual look. You don’t have to go hard with applications at this moment. But see what is out there. Maybe send a few applications to large companies that hire students that haven’t graduated yet. The worst thing that can happen is you get interview experience lol.

I know many people that were stressed to get jobs because they waited until like a few weeks before graduation. They weren’t prepared and hadn’t gone through the hiring process before, so they didn’t know how long it takes from interview to first day. Don’t be like them. Plus, if you secure a job pretty far out, you can worry just about finishing your doctorate or master’s. You don’t have to worry about snagging a job.

Interviewing for Positions

You will most likely get quite a few emails/calls/carrier pigeons to schedule interviews. I had 3 in one day this week. It was crazy at how many people wanted to schedule interviews. This is great. Of course, I sent out around 20 to 30 applications so far. This will happen to you. This is also why I stress the importance of starting early. You might apply to 100 places and hear back from 1. Also, you could apply to 3 places and hear back from all of them. The job finding game is an unpredictable one.

Once you do get an interview, it will usually be an initial phone interview to make sure you are actually a person and to tell you more about the position and the company. I had one of these the other day. These are pretty informal and casual in nature. I got to learn more about the company and position I applied for as job descriptions really don’t do justice. After the phone interview, they may schedule you for an in person interview or one on the computer. These are usually an hour long and are with the people that you are most likely going to be working with. They want to see if you can do the job and are a team player. I have found these to be pretty casual too.

When interviewing, make sure to dress professionally. This includes skype/zoom/teams calls. You want to impress the hiring manager/managers from the get go. I highly recommend getting dress shirts and coats. If you are still pretty concerned what to wear, just literally Google “job interview attire”. That will give you the best examples of what to wear and not to wear for interviewing.

Here is a site that I just found that gives you a ton of description on what to wear for interviews.

Have Fun and See if it’s the right place for you

The interviewing process is a great time to have fun and learn more about the company. Getting interviews means that you stand out among other candidates. This is a major win for you because all of the hard work the past 3-8 years has paid off. Go into that interview with the confidence of someone who deserves to be there but also with having fun in mind.

One of the things I tell people is this isn’t just the company interviewing you to see if you are a good fit. It should be you interviewing them to see if that company is a good fit for your life. Many grad students go into these interviews trying to please the hiring manager so they get the job. They later find out that they absolutely hate the job and only wanted to go there because of the reputation of the company. As I said earlier, the people that do the best work and are most fulfilled are the ones that found a job that fits them.

Final Thoughts

This post was aimed primarily towards those that are looking for jobs in industry. If you are looking at academic positions, that will come soon I am probably going to apply to some positions for professorships in the next few weeks as well as postdocs. I will keep you all updated with how those interviews go because I know for a fact that those are way different that interviewing for an industry position.

I hope you guys found this to be a somewhat decent post. It is a bit different than usual, but something that is very important in the grad school community. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Also, if you haven’t read my post about the best gifts to get grad students, you can check it out here. I will see you all in the next one. Peace!

Best Gifts For Graduates and Graduation

This post about gifts for college graduates may contains affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

If you are stumbling upon this post, it probably means that you are looking for some gift ideas for your graduate. Gradation is an exciting time and a bit stressful because you want to get them a thoughtful gift, but that might be a bit hard to do. Today I want to give you some ideas for gifts for graduates. These gifts are great for undergrad graduates as well as those graduating from grad school. If you want more ideas for grad student, check out my blog about gifts specifically for them. (link here)

I usually focus my attention on grad students and their needs but graduation gifts can include undergrads as well. The best gifts are usually heart-felt and useful. Though, a gift card can be just as good lol. You are not here to just find a gift card for your graduate. No, you are here to find ideas on what to get them. You have come to the right place.

Gift ideas for your graduates

The useful Gift For Graduates Idea

Graduation is a special time for an individual. It is also a very scary one. Just being there to show support as they leave the safety of academia and traverse into the working and adult world is huge. This section if for the “useful” gifts. These are things that they will probably use in their job or next journey to help them achieve their goals. These are items that might be less fun and more work related, unfortunately. They’ll still appreciate them, though.

1) An Engraved Pen

This is a gift that really stands out to me. Getting a really good pen is always a treat, but getting one that someone can’t steal because it has your name on it, is way better lol. I haven’t personally received one of these gifts but I have given them to graduates. They still use them to this day. It might not be the most fun, but they will appreciate the pen every day that they use it.

2) Single Serve Coffee Maker

I have an addiction and so does your graduate. We all love coffee. According to a published article by the National Library of Medicine, 92% of college students drink coffee!!!! WOW. This means that your lovely graduate probably drinks a ton of coffee. They will probably continue this habit even into the next phase of their life. Why not help them out and get them a coffee make . I think the gift of coffee is an amazing one and much appreciated. If you want to know more about coffee and my favorite coffee brands, check out this blog (link here).

3) A Cast Iron Pan

This might be the most useful gift you can give them. I received a cast iron pan for my birthday and OMG it is the best gift that I think I have ever received. Make sure to get the Lodge seasoned skillet. Also, give some instructions on how to keep it seasons. Here is a link to seasoning instructions for your convenience. Something about cast iron just makes your food taste so good and they are so easy to clean up. This is something I use every single day, and your graduate will definitely use it just as much.

The WOW Gifts for Graduates

The gifts that I am going to post in this section are usually the more expensive ones. These gifts are fun, expensive, and will leave your graduate saying WOW. I like these gifts because they are a combination of fun and useful.

1) A new Laptop

Your graduate has probably been using their computer for the past 4 to 5 years and it might be time to upgrade. Laptops are getting cheaper, though some tend to get more expensive, and they are almost necessary in this technological age. Getting them a new laptop will leave them saying WOW as well as going a bit crazy. It’s not everyday that you receive a gift as great as this. Here are a few to look at from Amazon. I would recommend going to a nearby computer store and asking them what computer is best. They will ask a ton of questions and give you an honest answer.

2) Apple Watch

I won’t lie to you, I did get this as a graduation gift for my girlfriend, when she graduated form law school. She wears it everyday and it is one of the most useful items she has. Yes, it was a bit expensive, so that’s why it is in the WOW category. If your graduate doesn’t have one, and they have an iPhone, then an Apple Watch is a must. It will help them in their career, in their next chapter, in their life. I don’t have an iPhone so I recieved a Galaxy Watch. Both of these watches are amazing and almost necessary.

3) Help with Student Loans

If you are able to, donate some money to them and help them out with student loans. On average, students owe $36,510. That’s like a $300 a month payment for 10 years! Paying for even one of the payments is a great gift and highly appreciated. I had many people send me money to help pay off my loans. Luckily, they are deferred for now as I am in grad school, but I was able to pay off a good chunk. This is such a great idea and one that any graduate would love.

The Fun Gifts For Graduates

So, lastly, I want to share a few fun gifts for graduates. These gifts may not be too useful for everyday life, but they are fun. I love recieving these because it gives me something to do that doesn’t relate to any of my work or stressors. These gifts are meant to be mindless and just plain fun. I hope you find these gifts for graduates ideal.

1) AeroGarden

This is by far one of the coolest gifts for graduates that you could ever get. It doesn’t require them to have a green thumb either. AeroGardens are awesome and extremely fun to have. My family had one and grew basil, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme. It is extremely easy to set up and maintain and a wonderful addition to any kitchen.

2) A6 Razor Scooter

Gas prices are through the roof and probably won’t be coming down any time soon. Instead of a bike, why not get you graduate a scooter. They are light weight, inexpensive, and just plain fun. I have one and have written about it extensively (link here). This is a great gift especially for someone who lives close to work. They can ride it to the office and home without really getting sweaty. It is great exercise as well.

3) Astronaut Light Projector

This is a silly gift but man is it cool. The astronaut light projector is by far one of the coolest things that I have bought. Yes, I bought one and currently have it in my room. I can honestly say that it makes night time so much more relaxing and fun. Take a look at the pictures in the reviews and you can see what rooms actually look like with the lights. They are fairly cheap to buy as well and I guarantee that everyone will love them, no matter who you buy it for. This is a gift that I wish I received at graduation lol.

Final Thoughts

Here is a pretty decent list of 9 gifts for graduates that I think will steal the show. For my graduation., whenever that may be, I hope someone get’s me one of the gifts on here. Honestly, if someone helps with students loans, that would be amazing lol.

What types of gifts have you given graduates? I know gift cards are always popular but is there a gift that you gave that was different than what I posted here. If so, put it in the comments. I hope you all have an awesome day and say congrats to your graduates for me!

How Do Grad Students Afford Rent?

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Affordable housing seems to be going away quicker than the money in my bank account. I have noticed that a plethora of apartments have been going up around the campus, yet nothing that is in a reasonable price range. They are all “luxury apartments”. Grad students, though we would love to live there, really just can’t afford that. Most of the grad students actually pay about 40% of their paychecks to rent at UF. I think I am right at that as well, so not much left to save or spend on actually healthy food.

So, how do grad students afford rent? The simple answer is, they sacrifice something in order to pay rent. Many grad students will skip meals, skip seeing the doctor or dentist, skip eating out (which isn’t too bad), and also they will probably not have a car and stay in the town for the majority of their grad school experience. Sacrificing fun stuff as well as important things such as doctor visits is a major way to make sure rent is paid.

Stack of carton boxes of various shapes and sizes scattered in floor near white walls during relocation

Here is how grad students afford rent:

1) They take out more loans.

This should only be done if you really can’t afford housing. Try and find places that are more affordable to reduce spending and reduce your debt as well.

2)They take on other jobs.

This can some times be hard, especially for international students that can’t get other jobs outside of their academic duties. Having a side gig is great but don’t let it get in the way of why you are here, to get your degree.

3) They apply for scholarships.

Many universities have scholarships that you can apply for that will help pay for most things, rent being one of them. If your school doesn’t have this option then try looking for scholarships on sites like Scholarships.Com, Fastweb, ScholarshipOwl, Cappex, Niche, and Goingmerry.

Happy diverse couple using laptop while relocating into new apartment

4) Grad Students get roommates

This is an obvious answer yet can be slightly difficult. Many, and I mean many, of the apartments are pay by room now. There are still pay by apartment complexes but they are very far away from campus. The new things is pay by room which means that the apartment complex can charge more for the whole unit. It is nice because you don’t have to worry about getting a roommate but also quite frustrating when trying to pay. Get a roommate and find somewhere that is relatively cheap to split the cost.

Final Thoughts

Grad school can be extremely costly and housing is one of the biggest chunk of payment. It is hard to pay for rent sometimes, but if you are truly driven and passionate to finish your studies then you will find a way. Above are just a few ways that I found how grad students afford rent. I have done 3 out 4 of these in order to pay for rent and I know how difficult it is. If you are going to grad school, make sure you have a plan. Good luck!

Shopping on a Grad School Budget

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shopping

Thanksgiving is usually the beginning of the Holiday season. Some people would argue that Halloween is but they are wrong :p. It is going to get busy for everyone in grad school here on out. You are probably neck deep in papers, presentations, experiments, loans, everything. Trust me, this time of year can get crazy just from school, but remember that there are other things that will probably make you say “I quit” such as present shopping and visiting family. The long drives to see family are also crazy and I suggest checking out how to make them easier (blog post here).

I did write about all of the stress that comes from the end of the semester but today is about the stress of the season. As a grad student, you are both an adult and college kid at the same time. It kind of stinks because, while everyone else is going on trips, buying presents, spending money, you are studying for finals, trying to get presents that you can afford, as well as just trying to be able to survive at this time of year. Money is sparse so I want to list off a few things to maybe do to save money and make everyone happy with gifts. Also, you need to be able to treat yourself too. This is extremely important. Here is a list of ideas on how to still save money and have a great holiday season.

1) Get crafty

I highly suggest making people presents instead of buying presents. Unless I really need something, a homemade gift is the best thing to get me. Anything edible is a plus to be honest. Many people don’t really want anything, but we all sort of expect to get gifts. It’s human nature, honestly. So instead of spending hours at a store or online shopping, why don’t you get crafty and make a gift. You can even do some wood carvings ;). If that’s not something you want to do, I highly suggest just baking a cake or cookies or something. It will be extremely cheap and everyone loves a food item.

2) Go to a local shop and buy something homemade

If you don’t feel crafty, taking a trip to a local market or shop is a great way to get gifts for everyone. They will most likely have things that you definitely won’t find on Amazon. You are also supporting local businesses which is a major plus. Bring a friend along and help them find gifts as well. Local shops usually have really high quality items too that are extremely unique and fun. This is probably what I am going to do this Christmas.

3) Stick to a budget

This is so hard to do some times but it is essential. count up all of the people you will get gifts for and then maybe assign a dollar amount to them. Couples are easy because they can count as one person lol. Next, add up the amount you assigned, tack on a factor of probably 1.25 and that will be your amount to stay under. the 1.25 gives you a more realistic goal since you will probably end up paying more for some people. If you can keep under budget, that’s great. Use the left over money to pay for rent :).

4) Try to reduce guilt when buying things

You may feel guilting for buying and not buying things. Some people expect fancy gifts, this does not mean you need to get those gifts for them. If they really want to get a diamond necklace for Christmas, you may need to let them know that you literally cannot get that for them. Spend within your means, please! Plus, if you do buy them something that amazing, they will probably expect that every year. Don’t do that to yourself. You may feel guilting for not buying expensive gifts for other, but just know that you come first. I’d rather not have anxiety because of finances than make people happy with expensive gifts.

5) Limit who you give presents to

Get your family and friends presents, of course. But, you don’t need to get 3rd cousin Charles a gift or the guy that lives 4 doors down from you that said hello to you one day. You can definitely be generous and get them gifts but maybe go with more of a baked goods approach. You don’t need to go broke to please everyone.

These are all things that I am definitely taking into consideration when getting presents for those in my life. Please be mindful about small stuff such as this. You don’t need extra stress in your life. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed during this time, take a step back and get away from the stress. I know that is hard but your mental state is far more important than the stress that comes with the holidays. I hope you guys have a good end of the semester and remember to take many breaks. Also, be kind to yourself. Show more love to yourself and others. That’s what this time is about anyway. Thanks for reading!

Gifts for Grad Students

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It’s Black Friday so of course today’s blog will be about buying things lol. Have you ever wondered what gift to get a grad student? This time of year can be extremely stressful because of spending a ridiculous amount of money and also because you really don’t know what everyone wants/needs. I hate it because I have so many people to get gifts for and it really stretches my budget. If you are buying gifts for grad students then here are a few ideas that will help you find the perfect gifts for grad students in your life.

Here are the Best Gifts for Grad Students, from a grad student himself

1) School supplies For Grad Students

Pens, paper, binders, and literally anything like that are always appreciated by grad students. A really good gift to give them is just a basket full of school supplies. Make sure to include really good pens, sharpies for sure, oh and dry erase markers if they happen to have whiteboards nearby or in their offices. This is a great gift for grad students right here.

2) Pay off one of their semester fees

Crop anonymous person calculating profit on smartphone calculator near banknotes

If someone was to just pay for my semester fees (around 300 dollars) that would make my day/year. Even just paying a little of it is grately appreciated by all grad students. It stinks we even have to pay it in the first place but such is life.

3) A one month subscription to a food delivery such as Misfit Market or Hungry Harvest.

Assorted Vegetable Lot

Here is a link to a blog about the different ranks and which each is good for (here). I think these are wonderful ideas because sometimes it is really hard as a grad student to get healthy food. You often work very weird hours and don’t get to the store as often as you should. Plus, the quality of food choices tends to go way down as you start getting busy with your PhD or Master’s. This is a great way to make sure the grad student in your life stays healthy so they can finish their degree strong.

4) Get them assorted coffee, if they drink coffee.

I think this is one of the best gifts you can get for a grad student. It’s cheap, easy, and they won’t say no to a good assortment of coffee. Read about my favorite coffee flavors (here). If they buy coffee each day because they don’t have a coffee machine, I suggest getting them a Hamiliton Beach single serving coffee maker or possibly just a French press like this one. You don’t have to go crazy and you can get a very small and cheap one. Ask the student if they drink coffee and need a coffee maker. They most often will say yes to both.

5) Toys for their animals

Orange Tabby Cat on Penny Board

This is different but very appreciated. Whenever people buy Sirius gifts, I am the one who is always so delighted. I love when people give gifts to my cat and I would rather have that for Christmas than something that just takes up space. If the grad student has an animal, I suggest getting gifts for said animal.

6) A scooter! or bicycle, but probably a scooter.

Man Riding on Bird Electric Scooter

College towns are getting overrun with those electric scooters all of a sudden. They might seem cheap to ride to school each day on one but the trips add up. I think they are like 80 cents per minute so each day, you might spend 4 to 5 dollars, one way. Why not get to school about the same time and have something that doesn’t cost you anything to start it. I suggest getting a scooter like this one. The Razor A6 is what I have and it’s the best thing in the world.

I can get to my office and back in about 20 minutes. Plus, you don’t have to really abide by the rules, unlike a bike. I can go on sidewalks, in the street, on paths, basically everywhere with it. Bikes are great to have but a scooter is where it’s at. Also, scooters are much cheaper to buy for the grad student.

7) Just take them out to eat and talk with them

Man Wearing White Top in Front of Woman Wearing Blue Long-sleeved Top

Sometimes, the best gifts for grad students are the simplest. I know, personally, if someone just took me out to eat and just got my mind off of working, that would make my whole day/week. Grad students are often isolated and can go a very long time without just talking to people. It creates a ton on mental issues. Taking the student out and talking can be what gives them the strength to not fall into that mental trap. I highly suggest just doing this if you are able to.

8) Pay for some therapy if needed

Free stock photo of adolescent age, adult, chair

This is a gift that you definitely need to be close with the individual to talk about. If the student is truly struggling, maybe bring up that you’ll pay for some therapy. They may take this the wrong way but hopefully not. Maybe they were already thinking about it but were too afraid or broke to start. Offer to pay for a few sessions if you can. That may be the best gift that that a grad student ever gets. Here is a link to online-therapy, the same one I post at the bottom of most of my blogs.

There’s also BetterHelp and Talkspace, which are both really good. Also, seeing a therapist in person is good too, just a tad expensive.

In the End

Gifts for grad students can be easy. Get them anything that will help with their studies and they will be grateful. For me, the best gift that I could receive right now would be school supplies and a thing of Mac and Cheese lol. When in doubt, and if this blog didn’t help with ideas, go with scratch off lottery tickets. You really can’t go wrong with those lol.

**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, I highly recommend that they seek help. OnlineTherapy.com or TalkSpace.com are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.

Financial Stress in Grad School

I wanted to write about something that is hitting hard for quite a few of us lately, financial stress. That is the stress of being poor in grad school. I have written about dealing with finances in grad school before and how to reduce spending (link here)(here‘s another great resource). This blog is about dealing with the stress that comes from grad school finances. Being poor for many years is part of the process, unfortunately, and I am here to tell you that your concerns are justified. It may be tough now, but I promise you that it will be worth it.

Couple Sitting on the Couch

One of the biggest anxiety triggers that I have are my finances. Even something as small as taking my cat to the vet caused me to have a panic attack at 2 am. Luckily, I am skilled in coping mechanisms so I was able to reduce anxiety enough to get back to sleep. I am not in the worst financial situation by any means, but I know many people in grad school that are. Financial stress can really lead to many problems and ultimately cause an individual to leave the program altogether. Something that none of us want to happen.

Macbook Pro Beside Papers

The graduate union on campus recently posted a survey about the financial struggles that graduates face. The results were extremely alarming and extremely sad. People were taking multiple part-time jobs on top of working full time just to pay fore housing. Many people couldn’t even afford groceries because they had to pay for other expenses first.

U.s. Dollar Banknote Lot

Grad school stipends are extremely low. I remember receiving my appointment letter and freaking out because I was going to make about 40% less money by going to grad school than staying at my job. I told myself that 1) receiving a PhD will be worth it and 2) this will be quite a great adventure. Man, was I right about both. I think a huge stressor is seeing people that we graduated undergrad with getting senior positions and making six figures while we eat leftover pizza and ramen. It is a struggle.

For those that are reading this and struggling to make ends meet in grad school, you are not alone. It is something that we are all facing and will probably continue to face. I promise you that this will pass and you will get a career that pays you fairly. This is a learning experience and will be beneficial, I am sure of it. There are many resources that I am sure your college provides. I suggest taking a look to see what resources there are and taking full advantage of them.

One benefit is you will know how to manage money really well, a skill many people do not have. You will also know how to shop bargains, have fun without spending money, and I believe you will find happiness in small things, rather than large, fancy, things. This is something that I found to be 100% true. I have started to really appreciate all of the free things in my life such as long walks, trail hiking, and spending time at my pool (I know it’s not free but you aren’t spending any extra money).

This chapter of your life is quite hard. Will it be the hardest part? I don’t know, but it will be difficult in many ways. I hope that financial problems do not cause any extra stress in your life, like it has with me. One day, we will all be OK.

Financial Stress in Grad School

This post about financial stress in grad school may contain affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

So you want to go to grad school or you are already there. That’s amazing and I hope that you have an amazing journey! If you are in grad school currently, you know what being poor and overworked is like. If you are preparing for grad school, be prepared. Financial stress is a major part of grad school and can be slightly overwhelming at times. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll have enough to eat and drink, but not really enough for other things.

Money is quite tight for me currently, mostly because I was forced to move into a new place that is way more expensive than what I currently am in. Since everyone is coming back in person to school, they are filling up all of the cheaper places that allow pets, so I was stuck with the more expensive option.

I have always been fairly good with money. I have enough saved up to be able to afford my new place with some modifications of course. I’ll share a list of things I am doing to save money as well as not have the financial stress and anxiety that comes with grad school finances. Below are a list of things that help me save some money while in grad school and I truly think thy can help you too.

You will experience financial stress in grad school. It will happen but you don’t have to experience the negative impacts quite as severe. With a bit of practice, you can thrive in this money deprived life and even be able to save up some money to do fun things. Follow the 8 tips below and you’ll be on your way.

Things I do to combat financial stress in grad school

1) I am shopping at Walmart now.

I used to shop at Publix but they are quite expensive. You can get the same food at a cheaper price from Walmart, so I shop there now.

2) I do not go to Starbucks or buy coffee from anywhere.

I make my own coffee, see my coffee blog. People spend as much on a cup of coffee as I do on a whole bag of coffee grounds. They do have good coffee though.

3) I gave up spending money on vending machine food.

This is self explanatory.

4) I walk to my office, or take a bus.

You will most likely be paying for a form of transportation to and from school. Take full advantage of that because gas is getting expensive.

5) I DON’T BUY THINGS ON AMAZON THAT I DON’T NEED.

This has taken so much strength to do but I think I am finally free from the Amazon addiction. I was buying everything on there and would have a package almost every other day. This led to more anxiety surprisingly. I quit buying things and I have saved a ton of money and my anxiety is not as bad.

6) Cook your own food.

I think cooking is one of the coolest things you can learn. Creating dishes that are healthy, delicious, and good looking is quite a talent. In fact, I was on a competition team that won third place in 2011. I love to cook and I have saved so much money by cooking at home. You may spend like $8 at chipotle when you can literally make the same meal for like $3 at home.

7) I don’t drink alcohol as much.

I still go to bars with friends but I order soda or iced tea. This reduces my spending significantly and doesn’t make me want to go out and get pizza afterwards and spend even more money lol. Plus, alcohol is one of my anxiety triggers, so staying clear of it is beneficial for me.

8) I build my own stuff.

This one is a hit or miss because prices for wood and other materials are going to outer space. I also found out that something I made was about half the price online than I spend on supplies. But, I am sure there’s stuff around the house you can use to build something you need. I use old rugs to make scratching posts for my cat. I also wood carve and make figurines that are cool so I don’t jump online to buy things to make my room look fancier.

Final Thoughts

These are the things I do on a regular basis to reduce my spending because grad school is expensive. Life is expensive. I hope you consider trying some of this stuff out as well as adding some trick of your own in the comment section. I love learning clever ways of saving money. Thank you for reading my blog!

**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, I highly recommend that they seek help. Online-Therapy.com or TalkSpace.com are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.