Getting your master’s degree can open a myriad of job opportunities and broaden your horizons, but it is also an expensive undertaking, and trying to save money during this time may seem impossible. You probably still have undergraduate student loans, and you may need to pay for tuition and living expenses on top of that. Still, it doesn’t have to be impossible to save money while you are studying.
It’s common to graduate with a high level of student loan debt, and your first loan payment may have been a bit of a shock. Most graduates end up making payments for about 20 years, and interest is accruing during that entire time. If you don’t want to be making high payments on your student loan debt, you'll want to look into student loan refinancing so you can better handle your debt going forward.
Reducing the cost of tuition is a particularly efficient way of making sure you have some funds to save each month. Look for specific scholarships to apply for. There are plenty of online search platforms and physical organizations that offer scholarships based on everything from race to gender, to academic achievement, to hobbies, to interests. Employers are also often willing to pay for a portion of tuition, so see if your current employer would be willing to support you in this way.
There are so many things to keep in mind while earning a Master’s, but don’t forget about your living situation. Living with your parents or other family members might be an option only if you go to school near their home, and if you have spent the past four years on your own while getting your undergraduate degree, it might feel restrictive to live with them. But this is still a straightforward approach to saving money because rent and other housing costs can rapidly skyrocket. You can also enjoy homemade meals from your parents instead of living on ramen noodles.
One way you can free up some money right now is by avoiding buying anything brand new. If you aren’t living with your parents, you may find yourself needing to furnish a new apartment, which is a huge cost. Consider shopping at thrift stores or looking on social media for deals on used furniture. For clothing, look for ways to repair or re-wear what you already have, and consider going to the local charity shop to hunt for bargains. When it comes to books, you'll want to look for used copies or rent if possible.
If you have to buy them new, don’t automatically order them from the campus bookstore, as these are often sold at a high markup. Instead, search the ISBN online to see if you can acquire an e-book or secure a copy directly from the publisher. Consider decreasing the amount of time you spend out with friends. Going to the bar or out to dinner might seem like a fun way to spend your weekend, but it is also expensive, and going just a few times can start to add up. Making friends is important but look for less expensive ways to spend time together.