7 things (relative) poverty taught me were not essential

 

Many people don’t know this, but almost all PhDs get all their tuition waived and also receive a stipend. A stipend is – 

according to the googlez – 

 

according to C Galloz-

But who am I to bicker over definitions? The point is, I didn’t go into debt and I’m very happy that I was given enough money for my basic needs to be met, but trust me — it was basic. Now that I’m rolling in the fat post-doc g’s, I noticed that I’m starting to spend my money on all these little things. They’re not even “treat yoself” or splurge-y items, just kind of things that most adults would consider basic. But because I lived on the brink of poverty for 6+ years, I want to share which items and categories may seem like they are completely indispensable, but are actually quite possible to live without (and at least be decently content).

In no particular order *drum roll* 

  1. (Frequent) eating out / snack foods
    You don’t actually need pringles, or any other nonsense comfort food with zero nutritional value. Save yoself from a belly and wasted dollars!
  2. Alcohols 
    I enjoy cocktails just as much as the next person. *But* poverty is no time for boozin’! You can have fun without it! And if not, you may want to reconsider your friend choices! You will save yourself tens of dollars every week!
  3. New clothes 
    This gal probably just unloaded your entire months pay! Who wants credit card debt?! Not I! Heard of Plato’s closet?? It is your new best friend! Fancy hand-me-downs FTW! (*EXCEPTION*: unders! )
  4. Non-embarrassing car 
    Unless you’re also going to live in your car and shower in your lab (I considered this very seriously at one point!), it ain’t worth it. Go find a Craig’s list steal! I bought a car for $1,750 in grad school that ran for over 2 years with zero problems! (until the wheel fell of the axle, but that was my fault! #jumpedacurb)
  5. Cutting edge technology 
    Is it fun to facetime your friends? Of course! Is it necessary? Nope! I had a non-smart phone until.. 2014?? And even then, I didn’t have an iPhone until.. 2018! Guess what — I survived! I had friends! I survived in the modern age! You can, too – get a refurbished Samsung or a Motorolla E for like $60 and glory in your savings.


    6. Fancy hair dos 
    Does her hair look lit? Of course! Is it worth not being able to eat for 3 weeks? No! If you’re poor – and women, you’re going to need to sit down for this one – you do not have to dye your hair. The ombre, the balayage, the lowlights, whatever — they’re not necessary. You can have a cute cut for like…. $30? And get one 2x a year! I did that until 2018 and I mean.. maybe I didn’t look amazing at all times, but men still noticed me #obviously #truebeauty #lolz


    7. Trendiest of fitness routines 
    Tbh not even really sure what these women are doing. But in grad school, I 1) worked out at the student gym, for free and 2) ran, for free. And my bod was SLAMMIN’! Jk, but seriously – it was fine – in some ways, I was even more fit than I am now (cardio and I have had a falling out.. but we will probably reconcile before too long once I adequately snub her). So just because you’re broke doesn’t mean you are on an inevitable slide into obesity.

 

There you have it — if you’re looking to save some mula, or not sure how to survive the impoverished years of grad school – hopefully these tips will inspire you. I did it! It is possible! 

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