Sunday, June 7, 2009

More money madness

I devote far more time and energy than I would like to thinking about
money, both personal finances and grant money. Thankfully Jon is
taking over our finances while I'm here so that's a big part of the
burden lifted. The best news all week is that we FINALLY found a
subletter for while Jon is with me in Ukenzagapia! They're not
covering a full month's rent or any of the utilities but we were
getting pretty desperate and something is better than nothing at this
point. These people have already sent a check so if nothing else we
have the money. This is especially good since the last person we
thought was going to rent backed out the day she said she'd arrive.

I wrote enough successful small grant applications that I should be
able to finish this summer within my budget. Still, managing my grant
money is, frankly, a huge pain in the ass. It's in 4 different
accounts in three different institutions. Some of it can be used for
certain things more easily than others, so I've bought most of my
supplies from A but am paying field assistants from C. Three of these
four have been or will be transferred to my checking account to be
reconciled with the institutions when I return at the end of the
summer. Then there's my personal money. I am using my fellowship
stipend to cover my living expenses here this summer but it also needs
to cover rent and some bills in Big City. It's hard to keep it all
straight. Plus I have to deal with fluctuating currency conversion for
almost everything here.

Also, I'm in debt. Grant money debt. Sam purchased some supplies for
my research using his funds and when I get more grant money at a later
date I'll purchase equipment of the same value for him as repayment.
It's great that he was able to do this for me so that I could use the
equipment this summer. I know of at least 2 other students in my
department who are in debt to their lab or advisor for research
expenses. One of them may be able to work off the debt if grant money
doesn't come through, and it all seems pretty informal (it certainly
is for me and Sam, who isn't even my advisor). Is it common for grad
students in science to accrue some kind of debt directly related to
research expenses? How formal are the arrangements?


EcoGeoFemme said...

That sounds really complicated!

I haven't been in debt for equipment trades, but I have traded effort for travel. I worked on one of my advisor's projects in exchange for her paying for me to go to a meeting. I think this kind of thing is pretty common, and I think that the advisor person knows they are taking a risk that you may not get funding to pay them back.

Paulina said...

why is it the ecology students always have to find their own money? It's true here also for Eco grads, while the rest of bio sciences (especially mol bio, genetics, etc) never have to even think about money. The PIs take care of all that. That's certainly true in my department...

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