Thanks to Amey, I started investing monthly in Mutual Funds since last August. I wanted to do that since long but was procrastinating it for long, almost 2 years. I invested about 20K in one year which thanks to inflation is worth little less than that.
My advise to all those who have just entered into their PhD life and also to others, start investing NOW. With increased stipend, save at least 20% of the stipend. Ask some one if you are not aware of investment methods. In simple case, if you avoid investing, at the end of 5 years, you will have nothing with you. Now, suppose you start investing say 3K per month, i.e. 36K per annum, you will save 1,80,000/- in 5 years and if you book a profit of 20%, which is quite common, you will earn about 85,000, which adds up to 2,60,000/-. So, if a new PhD student starts investing right from day one, he can save up to 2,60,000/- by the time he passes out.
You may claim that you don't have any money to invest, don't worry, that will be the case even if you invest or don't. Had I not started investing last year, I am sure I would have just smoked that money some where in shopping or eating out.
So, what you waiting for? Start Investing NOW :)