If you've tried to keep a budget for more than a few months, your budget has almost certainly been busted by an irregular expense. Irregular expenses are those that occur once or a few times per year, such as travel, car repairs, shopping, entertainment, and university/research/conference fees. The discretionary spending available in a graduate student or postdoc budget is often insufficient to handle large irregular expenses.
- identify the irregular expenses in your life
- group the irregular expenses into targeted savings buckets
- calculate a savings rate for each targeted savings bucket
- set up your bank accounts to house the targeted savings buckets
- incorporate the savings rates into your budget
- troubleshoot the common issues with your targeted savings system
My mission is to inspire and empower early-career PhDs to make the most of their money. I engage with students and postdocs through the Personal Finance for PhDs talks and my websites, Grad Student Finances and PhD Stipends. I started delivering seminars about personal finance for PhDs-in-training shortly after my PhD defense in fall 2014.
My passion for personal finance is rooted in my experience as a grad student, and I speak to my audiences as a more experienced and knowledgable peer. When I first started in graduate school, I knew that living well on a grad student stipend would be quite challenging, so I continuously learned and refined my money management strategies throughout my PhD.
I received a PhD in biomedical engineering from Duke University in 2014 and a BS in physics from Harvey Mudd College in 2007. I live in Seattle, WA with my husband, Kyle, who also holds a PhD from Duke University, and our daughter.