## Calculating Cost of Living

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
ArchieHicox

Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:32 pm

### Calculating Cost of Living

Not sure if this is the exact sub-forum for this question, so my apologies if its misposted.

The COL #s at most schools seem to be around 15k per year - 20k per year. In undergrad, I was spending 1k per month (give or take) on rent/food/etc. Wherever I go to law school, I won't have to pay for my car, insurance, etc. and my car is newish so there shouldn't be any other expenses.

I'm thinking books will be 1k per year. Is that sound right or too low?

Rent/Utilities/Food for 1k per month again... I'm in the midwest and that # seems to be okay. If any folks are in the KA, IA, NE, MO, OK area and think my # is too low, please correct me.

So if I budget at 13-14k, is that too conservative? I'm seeing people throw around 30k COL for three years and I just don't understand it. If you are not living at home, it can't be possible to live at 30k over three years.... right?

Bronck

Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:28 pm

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

I spend \$1k a month in NYC for rent + utilities and an additional \$200-250 on food + transportation.

\$1k for book sounds about right. Buy used / rent whenever you can.

Aawaldrop

Posts: 251
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:28 am

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

Cost of attendance figures on law school websites just sets the max on federal loans that you can take out each year. It is entirely possible to live more cheaply then the estimates provided.

worldtraveler

Posts: 8676
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

People always forget to factor in wardrobe expenses. You will need at least 1 or 2 (minimum) tailored suits during law school and corresponding shoes, shirts, ties, jewelry. etc. If you don't already have those, that can be a fair amount of money.

Also factor in health insurance/health costs. Over 3 years you will probably have something health related.

WahooLaw24

Posts: 256
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:35 pm

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

ha-ri wrote:Not sure if this is the exact sub-forum for this question, so my apologies if its misposted.

The COL #s at most schools seem to be around 15k per year - 20k per year. In undergrad, I was spending 1k per month (give or take) on rent/food/etc. Wherever I go to law school, I won't have to pay for my car, insurance, etc. and my car is newish so there shouldn't be any other expenses.

I'm thinking books will be 1k per year. Is that sound right or too low?

Rent/Utilities/Food for 1k per month again... I'm in the midwest and that # seems to be okay. If any folks are in the KA, IA, NE, MO, OK area and think my # is too low, please correct me.

So if I budget at 13-14k, is that too conservative? I'm seeing people throw around 30k COL for three years and I just don't understand it. If you are not living at home, it can't be possible to live at 30k over three years.... right?

It's going to vary from person to person. If you have a roommate, I'd say you could easily come in under 10K/year, assuming you're not in a big city. Some people will be living with a SO that is working and helping out. Some people will have to pay for car insurance, cell phone bill, etc. and others won't.

It's absolutely possible (at least from the calculations I've done) to come in at under 10K/year, you just have to be in the right situations I suppose.

romothesavior

Posts: 14703
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

If you are smart you can do it for less than what school websites say, those are just maximums. I was way under my COL estimate 1L year, whereas this year I maxed out even with a side job (I like to drink and go out). Having a roommate helps too. I think less than 10k would be hard pressed unless your diet is ramen and you don't do much socializing, though.

Also keep in mind this is just for nine months. You probably won't get paid during your summers.

Posts: 9816
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

I generally recommend you just use the school's stated amount in your calculations because some of this shit gets more expensive than you might think, as others mentioned.

Bronck

Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:28 pm

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

rad lulz wrote:I generally recommend you just use the school's stated amount in your calculations because some of this shit gets more expensive than you might think, as others mentioned.

romothesavior

Posts: 14703
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

Bronck wrote:
rad lulz wrote:I generally recommend you just use the school's stated amount in your calculations because some of this shit gets more expensive than you might think, as others mentioned.

You can also take out less and request more through the year as needed.

I make pretty thorough budgets and try to stick to them. I recommend everyone do this. Be conservative, but realistic.

Bronck

Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:28 pm

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

romothesavior wrote:
Bronck wrote:
rad lulz wrote:I generally recommend you just use the school's stated amount in your calculations because some of this shit gets more expensive than you might think, as others mentioned.

You can also take out less and request more through the year as needed.

I make pretty thorough budgets and try to stick to them. I recommend everyone do this. Be conservative, but realistic.

+1 on the budgets. I track all my expenses in Excel. One month I may go slightly over, but that just means I do a little less the next.

zoomzoom88

Posts: 644
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 4:03 am

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

Bronck wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
Bronck wrote:
rad lulz wrote:I generally recommend you just use the school's stated amount in your calculations because some of this shit gets more expensive than you might think, as others mentioned.

You can also take out less and request more through the year as needed.

I make pretty thorough budgets and try to stick to them. I recommend everyone do this. Be conservative, but realistic.

+1 on the budgets. I track all my expenses in Excel. One month I may go slightly over, but that just means I do a little less the next.

This seems like an awesome idea

Posts: 9816
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

Bronck wrote:
rad lulz wrote:I generally recommend you just use the school's stated amount in your calculations because some of this shit gets more expensive than you might think, as others mentioned.

Yeah I meant when you're looking at how much law school will cost you when you're an 0L.

Always always always reevaluate and see if you can spend less

jeffyl00b

Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:10 am

### Re: Calculating Cost of Living

Hi. I'm not presently in school , but I have been living in an apartment and taking care of my own bills and such, and think I can be a great help here. Currently I'm in one of the fastest growing cities in the US in TX which is supposed to have very high rent, so my number will be higher than the rest of the midwest.
I do my own cooking, or go to Sams Club, never really going out. That means baking and such. Two people, minus pet expenses I'm probably around 250 a month in food on average. However some of the stuff I buy overlaps month to month, IE dishwashing soap and toilet paper at Sam's will last you almost a semester. No Frills. If I adjust my apartment rent to your area of the country, our monthly budget may be the same 1k. Of course you can always buy some microwavable meals for a buck a pop and live off of that just as well.

BUT, don't underestimate the "just this once" purchases. If you are shopping at the grocery store and buy some things you're craving for, say 3 things, make it 10 dollars. Milkshake at a fancy place? Say 5 dollars(I like even numbers). Maybe you like DVD's, car washes or collecting scalps, add 10 more. Haircut also. You get the idea, you might easily add 100 dollars in the "i deserve it" spending just in one or two days EASILY.

HOWEVER, you would be shocked what one time expenses cost as well. You moved? Electric deposit apparently. Car registration? It's that time of the year again! The "oh, I had an annual subscription to that [whatever thing]" here's your bill. Not to mention things breaking or coming up. NEVER underestimate the things that pop up that are not recurring expenses. That's half my battle, mostly right when you move, then it finally calms down. On the other hand, just today I did the rare move of getting a pizza and soda since the water in my apartment is out, 14 dollars I didn't budget for, add it to the last paragraph and this one, both a one time expense and a treat.

In other words, I don't believe anyone can go on the bare minimum without padding their expenses.

My question I pose is, if one takes out the Maximum in year 1, and can not spend it all, would there be a lot of harm in paying back the loans with that unspent money or saving year to year and paying it after graduation? In other words, is there a downside in being better safe than sorry?