My name is Sonam and I’m currently studying for a PhD in Mechanistic Biology at York. Managing postgraduate finances can be a challenge, so I thought I’d share my experiences and top tips.
Funding my studies
Fortunately, my PhD project was fully funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). As a result of this, my tuition fees, research costs related to my project and a cost of living stipend was covered. I was extremely grateful to receive this financial support! However, I found that after paying for essentials such as rent and food, I was left with little to enjoy myself. I decided to start working part-time as a Student Ambassador for the University to earn a bit of extra money.
Working out when your money comes in and goes out is really important, but can be tricky to manage! My rent is paid in three instalments, one at the start of each term. However, my stipend is paid every three months, which means careful budgeting is required! To budget, I usually plan meals in advance and write a shopping list before hitting the supermarket. This ensures I only buy the food that I need. Setting out a weekly budget in an excel spreadsheet for non-essential spending can also be helpful. This could include takeaways, meals out, nights out and day trips with friends. Make sure you factor in the cost of your train tickets home too; I usually travel back once every three weeks.
My top three tips for managing postgraduate finances are:
1. Estimate your income and estimate your outgoings. Split your outgoings into essential and non-essential outgoings.
2. Calculate your weekly budget and use a student budgeting excel spreadsheet to help with this.
3. If there are shortfalls financially, it is always possible to take up a part-time job with the University. You could become a Student Ambassador or a Graduate Teaching Assistant.
Read more blogs about managing your money.
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