How to Budget Your Time and Money While Pursuing a Graduate Degree

Proper budgeting is key to earning your online graduate degree.

When it comes to pursuing an online graduate degree, figuring out how to budget your time and money can be as important as choosing an area of study.

The importance of budgeting
Whether it's your first go-around or you're getting a second degree, college should be one of the great learning experiences of your life. And one of the many skills you can learn or become better at is budgeting.

Because you will likely face a financial and time crunch as you work on becoming a nurse, pursue a career in teaching or work on another discipline, college will also provide you with an opportunity to work on budgeting skills that will serve you well outside of school.

Financial budgeting
The first thing to do is actually set up a budget. Begin by determining your most pressing needs - tuition, rent, food, etc. - then work down to the least essential. That way you will be sure to spend your money on necessary goods and services, and will only move on to paying for things you want after you've taken care of those.

The key to this process is prioritization, patience and discipline. Learn to forego spending money on that new car, or expensive piece of clothing, or vacation until you're sure you can afford it. And you might just have to wait until you've finished school to indulge those desires. But it will pay off in the end, because your new career, or the career advancement you're able to realize once you complete your degree, will help you pay for those things down the road.

Budgeting your schedule
These days, many students are going to school while also working a job and even taking care of a family. That can make it extremely difficult to balance everything in your life.

By applying many of the same principles described above you can ease the burden to an extent. However, you should also look for help wherever you can find it. Family and friends may be able to aid you with chores or childcare duties. There are also many public and private agencies set up to specifically deal with students and parents in that situation. Take advantage of them.

Improving your lot in life is usually hard work. But if you're truly dedicated, and learn how to budget your time, money and energy, it is achievable.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. To find out more about WGU's online degree programs, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers.

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