Student Money Management Guide
Managing money can be especially difficult for students on a tight budget, so we have put together a few ideas to help make it easier. On this page you'll find tips for stretching your dollars. If it seems like you spend more time worrying about money than you do studying, take some time to examine your budget and develop a plan that works for you. You can also visit the AAMC Money Management section to learn additional ways of managing your money.

Money Saving Tips
Your budget plan will succeed only if it reflects your personal needs and priorities. Make sure the money you spend provides the things that are most important for your education. Housing, food, health care, books and registration fees are the basic expenses that you will need to continue your education. Consider using income for these expenses before you considering purchases such as entertainment streaming services or fast food delivery services.

     Credit and Banking - Be cautious when applying for credit cards. Not only do you pay finance charges, but you may be tempted to buy more than you can afford. If you feel you must use a credit card, do so for emergencies only and choose a card with a low Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and no annual fees. Open a savings account and make regular deposits. When choosing a bank, compare monthly service charges and ask about any additional costs, such as costs for overdrafts. You can ask if fees will be waived if you sign up for direct deposit.

     Housing - The UC Davis campus in Sacramento does not have onsite housing. The Office of Graduate Medical Education provides information on a variety of available housing options. Make sure you understand the terms of your rental agreement; rental agreements should be in writing and you should read them carefully before signing. Ask your landlord for a model lease or the month-to-month rental agreement approved by the ASUCD Fair Housing Committee. Find a roommate! Sharing your apartment with one or more roommates will substantially reduce your monthly expenses. You may also want to consider a room in a private home; these are available with or without kitchen privileges.

     Food - Develop a weekly meal plan and shop with your plan to guide you. Pack your lunch and avoid fast-food places. If you do eat out, use coupons and look for the best food at the most reasonable cost. Invest in a cookbook (thrift stores carry used ones) and prepare meals at home. Compare prices at different stores and use coupons. Buy house brands and generic products--they are generally less expensive. Buy bulk for non-perishable items. Check out the various farmers markets in Sacramento and surrounding communities for fresh produce. Consider joining a food co-op. Eat something before you shop, and never shop for food on an empty stomach!

     Utilities/Telephone - Check into the variety of money-saving rate plans offered by telephone and utility companies. Remember to figure installation costs into your budget. Find out how to connect to online services through UC Davis Computing Services or the School of Medicine's ISMED department. If you purchase a cell phone, look for the best plan that works for you with the minutes you need. Beware of extra roaming charges, and early contract cancellation charges. To reduce your utility bill and conserve energy set the thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. If you and your roommates are renting a house, ask if you will be required to pay the utilities (water and garbage collection) as part of the rental agreement.

     Transportation - Bicycling and walking are the cheapest means of transportation. Unitrans buses offer transportation to and from the UC Davis campus in the city of Davis. The university also provides a dedicated shuttle bus which runs between campus and the UC Davis medical center in Sacramento. For other trips, Sacramento Regional Transit, the Greyhound Lines and Yolobus serve the surrounding areas.  Parking Services provides information about a wide variety of alternative transportation methods.

     Recreation - UC Davis offers intramural sports than any other UC campus, so you're sure to find a sport you enjoy (see Recreational Sports). The campus Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) is a great place for fun and healthy resources. Relax in the ARC lounge, lunch at the Center Court Cafe or treat yourself to a massage at the Wellness Center. The campus also offers a variety of music and dramatic events throughout the year at special student and discounted rates. Schedules of events and ticket information are available on the UC Davis Arts and Culture Web site.

     Clothing/Personal Expenses - Shop during major holidays when stores offer discounts. Avoid dry clean-only clothing purchases.

     Health Care - To do your best in school it is important to take good care of yourself. For those times when you're not feeling well, health care is available through Western Health Advantage (WHA) (for medical and dual-degree students) and the Cowell Student Health Center (for all other students). Students who are not covered by their parents' or another health insurance policy may obtain coverage through WHA 888-563-2250 or Cowell 530-752-6055. Feeling a little overwhelmed and just need someone to talk to? Check out counseling services through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 530-752-0871.

     Pets - If you have a dog or a cat or any other type of pet, or if you are considering adopting one, don't forget about pet expenses in your budget. Food, grooming and health care expenses for your pet can be considerable. Consider carefully whether you have sufficient time and money to spend on a pet before taking on this responsibility.