I was just wondering how people manage financially when they are funded. Let me just say first that I know how lucky I am to have a funded PhD and I admire people who take on study and have to fund themselves. However, I am in a different situation, in that I have funding and am very grateful but am still finding it hard to manage financially. I feel guilty that I am complaining but I am not extravagant with my money. Everything just seems to cost so much - petrol, food, bills etc. I have recently moved in withl with my partner and we pay a percentage each of the rent. He has two teenagers so we haven't divided everything by half as he feels he should pay more as he is supporting three people. He is very supportive to me as well but I hate it when he pays for everything. I'm doing some teaching but that covers my petrol expenses. I have just applied to do more teaching but I don't really have the time, and I haven't told my supervisor yet as I know she thinks I don't have enough time to spend on my PhD already. But if I don't earn some more money I may have to consider giving up the PhD. Teaching seems the best option otherwise it would be a supermarket or pub job (nothing wrong with that per se but I am limited to the hours I can work and at minimum wage I would not earn enough to make a difference).
Are other people in the same boat and any tips?
First of all - you certainly aren't the only one in this position so please don't feel guilty! Yes we lucky recipients of funding are the fortunate ones, but that doesn't mean you don't have the right to worry about money! I don't know a single person (with partner or otherwise) that has been able to survive without another job on the side - especially when for example, they still have debts from undergrad degrees/masters.
I know its hard given that you live with a partner, but my route has always been to haggle madly with utility companies (ALWAYS make sure you have meter readings - we never used to and at one point were £250 in credit with the electric!), go for cheaper internet options (we switched from AOL to O2 and saved £100 a year, not much, but pays for some treats!). I have a habit of buying books (because our library is pants!) but I will have to cut this down!
Could you save on your car insurance etc? I mean, its normally cheaper if your partner is on there too - even if they don't have a perfect record - apparently you're more trustworthy with a man!!! (How rude!)
I guess my tip is little savings do add up. They aren't much, but do help... and how about a part-time office job? I find doing that is far less effort than teaching (although I love to teach and it is part of my funding that I have to) - sometimes you do have to compromise...
As Smilodon says, you should check what the regulations are at your university and department and try to work within those. Is there any other work within the uni you could do? Things like marking - it doesn't pay as much as teaching but you can do it at home in the evenings so it's not taking time away from your PhD. Also check out whether there are any scholarships that you can apply for to top up your funding. No guarantees there, but if there are some available you may as well apply.
Keep a record of ALL your spends over the next few weeks and you should be able to see where you can make cutbacks. You'll probably be surprised at how much money you waste (as we all do). Also, try to do some forward planning and save for bills before they come in. Set yourself a realistic weekly budget and try not to go over it.
I'm fully funded as well - but to supplement my income, here's some of the jobs I've done in the past three years (the advantage was, all of them are at my uni, pay a couple of quid above the minimum wage per hour and do not require too much brain input;) - note-taking for students with disabilities, invigilating during the exam times, helping out with coursework submission when they needed some temp people. at the moment, I have a part-time job with the local IELTS centre at my uni - in the morning I invigilate on the exam (as in read the guardian) and in the afternoon take people to their speaking exam, it might be worth checking if there's similar opportunities at your uni.
I've self-funded, and I found that I don't even get minimum wage for teaching when I factor in the preparation time and marking. I'm teaching 9 classes (on two modules) this year and it's really not worth my while to do any more than that because it takes me a minimum of 6 hours to prepare a tutorial (often more: I teach English Lit and just rereading primary texts can take days). To actually make money I work 2-3 days a week in a call centre. Obviously this will vary from subject to subject (my good friend has a fantastic teaching gig in modern languages in which she gets paid the same standard rate as me and teaches directly from a textbook for three hours a week!) but I would definitely look into how much prep and marking you're expected to do before making the comparison with a minimum wage job!
That's an interesting point AlicePalace! I don't actually spend that much time preparing for seminars as I know the subject very well. But the marking does take time. However, for an academic career, it's all about what is on your CV. Thanks for all the other replies. I am limited to six hours a week work as well as six hours teaching so I will have to be careful or keep any extra work secret! I'm just in a difficult situation at the moment as I co-own a house with my ex and he still lives there but I had got a tenant in to pay my half of the mortgage. However, he just did a runner without paying two months rent. So I am down by quite a lot of money. I try to budget carefully, and in fact am not actually paying for food at the moment as my partner is covering that.
If I need to stay overnight for courses, conferences etc I always manage to get £19 a night travelodges, I use Tesco clubcard vouchers to get more vouchers for meals out so we can have some sort of social life, and I'm always looking for 2for1 deals as well. http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/printable-vouchers.html
This is a good site if anyone is interested.
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I have acquired lots of moneysaving tips from www.moneysavingexpert.com (hopefully this non-academic link doesn't constitute advertising).
I've mostly saved money with respect to train fares and hotel rooms, and using voucher codes for online purchases. Lots of people who post on the forum at the above link talk on about something called 'Quidco'. This gives 5/10% back on any purchases you make online, which I imagine adds up over time.
My main money drain comes from buying books/photocopying. I now use my digital camera to take copies...saves me a small fortune!
Hmmmm....i am overseas, partly funded for tuitions, and rest myself..Well I cant say this as a norm, but i have cut down everything except basic minimum necessities. yes.
I divide my groceries into three batches. One kind, the store cupboard kind comes once a month. the second kind like cereals and other such as pasta twice, and fresh stuff once a week.
that helps me budget. phone bills are my weak point but desperately trying to cut.
I do an RAship, and occasioanl sporadic research based work that comes in bursts but pays really well.
it's incredibly hard, not just for the 'now' but when thoughts of the future loom large.
But anyway, such is life....and one day I shall perhaps look back and think I did a good job...
We are also in a difficult situation financially - I think it comes with the territory sadly - the last 4 years have been murder - the next 4 will be equally so I'd imagine and I sometimes wonder if we can keep going and feel so guilty that the children have to go without so much so that I can study. They are so good though - they understand that if I do this and go all the way then (fingers crossed) I'll be in a position to provide a much better life for them than I could ever have done without all of this. I had AHRC funding for the MA, and a scholarship for the Phd (about 6K + fees) - money is so so tight and my hubby works extra shifts to try and make ends meet.
My current plan is to try and get some GTA work for next year - they won't allow us to do any in our first year as they feel we need the time to get into the swing of things - I'm not sure how much it pays, but ANYTHING is better than nothing, and to be honest, just speaking personally for myself here, even if it does work out at only the minimum wage then it will be worth it - a) for the extra cash - every single penny counts, and b) for the experience and the cv. Academia is so competitive and so much who you know as much as what you know that it would be invaluable and I've seen plenty of research students in the dept going on to run courses by the end and a teaching fellowship prior to being promoted to junior lecturer so its the only way up the ladder as far as I can see.
The other alternative is to go p/t with the Phd and get some work - tricky though - I worry whether I'd cope with it.
Que sera sera and all that :-)
If your a science phd then its easy to advertise as a tutor - it usually pays cash and you can charge at least £20 per hour (at least in my area). Gumtree and the local papers are good places to look especially around school exam times and often we get phone calls to the dept. The money often is not very consistent so if your looking for a regular income then its prob not the best
Hi Pamw and guys, well.. I AM indeed on the same boat and mine's sinking. I am fully sponsored by quite a big international company. The initial VERBAL agreement with them is 15k GBP stipend as per advertised. When I started in Jan2009, they revised the budget and gave the "recession" reasons. Real enough, they've shut down one of their UK production plant. They've cut down my stipend from 15000GBP to just 4000GBP for this particular year. Luckily, I'm not based in London town.
I guess everything is expensive these days and at times like this. Does anyone here works part time? How do you even find the time to work part time (for those who are married and/or with dependents)???
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