Jump to content
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

PhD and Finances


frundelson2
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello all, 

I have recently begun thinking about how to best manage my finances while completing my PhD and also to maximize the savings off of my stipend.

 

have started a blog to capture my journey and thoughts and would be eager to hear your thoughts on my thinking so far: http://makingcentsofaphd.blogspot.com/ 

What tips might you have to maximize savings off a stipend?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Jim84, You have an interesting blog started. I like your thinking to try and save as much as you can from your PhD stipend, but it definitely is not an easy task! One of my biggest tips is to simply look for outside sources of funding. There are a number of additional supplemental stipends and fellowships you could potentially pick up. Although your blog seems more geared towards the practical side of saving money. In that regard I try to carpool with fellow classmates to school. Saves gas money and gives us time to unwind from the day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since you asked for thoughts -- I like the general idea of the blog. I think it's definitely something that most PhD students think about and many people can benefit from the collection of previous wisdom. I think this is informally done in many programs -- i.e. from talking to senior students, newer students will find out things like which places have student discounts, what's the best place for haircuts etc.

 

But it's nice to also put more general thoughts into a more "formal" (i.e. written instead of orally transmitted [ew, that sounds gross now that I type it]). I'm not sure about the "blog" format, since it makes it hard to just pick out tips that I might want to find that's relevant to me specifically! But maybe as you write more and more,  you will reorganize it in some other way (or maybe not -- it's your blog after all, but you asked for an opinion).

 

Finally, to address your most recent post about laptops, especially since there are a lot of people wondering about new laptops right now, I would say that it's a bit of a stretch to say that a new Macbook Pro costs "up to $1500". I purchased my Macbook Pro 13'' (no retina display) for $1050 last fall, and it came with a $100 App Store gift card. I think it is worth mentioning that the best way to get a Macbook is to take advantage of both the education discount and a sale that your campus bookstore might have (it was a one-day sale that gave an extra $50 off). I've seen these sales happen in September of each year. Here is the webpage that you can visit if you click on the "Apple Education Store" link from my school's bookstore: http://store.apple.com/us_edu_487334/mac/family/macbook-pro

 

As you can see, there is a Macbook Pro for $999.99!

 

Granted, Macs are still overpriced as you said in your post and everything else is still true (i.e. you get easily get as much power for much less cost if you don't go with Apple). I ended up buying my first Apple product last fall because I felt like I wanted to treat myself to a slightly prettier computer for an extra $200-$300. This is not in the spirit of saving money, but I just wanted to point out that you don't have to get "Retina display" which also means Macbooks aren't $1500 all the time.

Edited by TakeruK
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your input TakeruK! I will take your suggestions into consideration and try to make the blog a bit more accessible. I wonder if there are any timely topics you or others might want to hear about? Or if others would like to contribute.

 

And in regards to the laptop situation, you are right that most MacBooks do not cost up to $1,500, but the higher end ones do, such as the 15 inch Retina display. Why a doctoral student would really need this though is up for question. Certainly if you are smart and look for sales like you mention, or even go with a refurbished model, you can score a MacBook for a good price. But again, the question becomes whether it is really worth it given the higher cost with relatively the same performance. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But again, the question becomes whether it is really worth it given the higher cost with relatively the same performance. 

 

I think the important thing is figuring out what you want and need out of a computer, or out of anything, really. 

 

For me, I know Macs are expensive and possibly overpriced computers, but I also know I really like working on a Mac instead of a PC; so, the higher cost is worth it in my book. I'd rather get the Macbook Air I've had my eye on, and skimp on something else, like my cell phone or money for eating out. Maybe someone else doesn't think the Mac computer is worth it, but they'd rather get a better phone plan, or a bigger apartment, or something else. How important is that to you? A lot? A little?

 

Or, I know I like to have my own space, so I'll live far away from campus if it means I can be by myself; someone else might rather be close to campus and deal with roommates. You sort of have to know yourself and know what's important, or not important, to you, and plan accordingly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great point girlscoutcookies. Everyone has different values that they bring into their decision making process. Case in point is that I was looking to get the best performing, most portable laptop for the best price, whereas as you point, others might value the MacBook for its operating system, unique programs, etc. despite its higher price.

 

I think you bring up the important factor though in buying higher priced items and generally living responsibly and thoughtfully. If you expend more in one area, you just need to balance your budget in other ways and find a solution that will work out for yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.