Making the decision to pursue your postgraduate studies is brave, and it can also mean a large gap being created in your finances. In fact, many people only have an undergraduate degree because of cost concerns should they opt to continue with their education. However, with the proper planning, you should be able to save money on your postgraduate studies, both before you start and during your course. Here are some steps you can take that will make your postgraduate experience relatively painless – at least financially.
Before you join an institution and start your chosen course, find out what expenses you will incur. These should include your tuition fees, accommodation fees, costs for research and living expenses. Once you have a clear idea of the amounts for each of these expenses, then you can begin to subsidize and save on each one.
To do so in an organised manner, you must create a budget. At this point, your budget is tentative and should include how much you expect to spend on a weekly basis and how much you expect to make in the same period. The point is to make sure you spend less than you make so that you can accumulate savings.
Find Funding for your Studies
There are so many opportunities for funding of postgraduate studies so your first intention should be to save on your tuition fees. Find out about and apply for scholarships, bursaries or studentships. You can also seek the assistance of charitable trusts.
Choose the Right Accommodation
Following tuition fees, your next high expense is likely to be accommodation. There are often a range of options for you to choose from including on campus halls of residence and off campus apartments or rooms. On campus accommodation can be very expensive. Your best bet for maximum savings is to search for an apartment off campus, where you can rent a room and share the costs with other students.
Lower your Living Expenses Daily
You need to eat, bathe and occasionally entertain yourself, and it is on these activities that the bulk of your living expenses will go. To save on meal costs, consider buying your supplies in bulk. Not only will they last longer, they are likely to be considerably cheaper. If you cannot afford to buy everything in bulk from the get go, you can choose to purchase two items per month in bulk until you have a full pantry.
For your maintenance items like soap and shampoo, take advantage of coupons and store loyalty cards. If it has no discount or saving attached to it, do not buy it. With entertainment, make good use of your student card. Many places offer discounted rates on tickets and refreshments to students.
Save on your research costs by making use of your library. Rather than purchasing texts, borrow those that are readily available. Should you have to purchase any texts, you can buy them second hand from Amazon.