The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York


Almuna book for sale: The Envelope System by Ellen Zitani

This book will not teach you to get rich quick. But it will teach you how to live well on a relatively low wage. Most graduate students struggle living paycheck to paycheck as they cobble together funding, multiple jobs, and navigating the gig economy. If funding is low or unreliable, and living expenses are ever on the rise, how can you survive or even thrive during graduate school?
Ellen Zitani gave up her steady full-time salary to live for seven years in New York City and attend the CUNY Graduate Center. During this time, she learned how to adjust her needs so that she wouldn’t go into debt, but she also learned how to maximize her income so that she would not just survive, but thrive. The Envelope System is about subscribing to a moderate lifestyle and mentally shifting your focus from what you don’t have, to making the most of what you do have.
This $10 book will help you become aware of your assets and expenses, to be consistent in your spending habits, and to redefine your definitions of success, abundance, and wealth. Your lower wage or meager fellowship stipend may be a new phenomenon in your life or something that you have weathered for years, but through moderation and a refusal to adhere to capitalist standards of living, you can become more mentally and physically healthy by mastering your own budget.
Interested? Please email Ellen Zitani ( and Marilyn Weber (