Living Within the Student Budget

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
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dominkay
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby dominkay » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:08 pm


theantiscalia
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby theantiscalia » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:10 pm

bk1 wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Summus and bk, I can't speak to the experiences of others, but I know I have allocated enough money for a modest, yet comfortable lifestyle next year. This is thanks in large part to working 60+ hours this summer and saving a good chunk of money this summer. I am well under the maximum loan money I can take out, but I have enough money for eating out at a decent restaurant once a week, going to the bar for a few drinks, going clothes shopping once a month, and some spare money for Cardinals games, golfing, etc. I will scale back my lifestyle (which is very middle class Midwestern) a little bit during law school, but I still will be able to live like a normal guy for the most part.

I understand the whole "live like a student" mentality, but at the same time, I'm going to law school, not joining a monestary.


While I think it would be best to have your kind of lifestyle, my point was that on $300 a month, the OP is joining a monastery. If given a choice living at $500+ a month would be nice, but if you have to live within $300 it is very possible while still having money to eat 3 square meals a day and a bit of leisure on the side.



I kind of figured more law students would be in this situation. ND's budget is thin, but not that much. I guess trying to stretch it over 12 months instead of 9 is what I'm doing differently; I'm in on-campus housing and don't have any prior obligations I'm bringing in. I did set the expectation that I wouldn't touch my savings (which I have reserved for bar exam studying and costs in three years), but that may not be realistic.

sumus romani
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby sumus romani » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:12 pm

romothesavior wrote:Summus and bk, I can't speak to the experiences of others, but I know I have allocated enough money for a modest, yet comfortable lifestyle next year. This is thanks in large part to working 60+ hours this summer and saving a good chunk of money this summer. I am well under the maximum loan money I can take out, but I have enough money for eating out at a decent restaurant once a week, going to the bar for a few drinks, going clothes shopping once a month, and some spare money for Cardinals games, golfing, etc. I will scale back my lifestyle (which is very middle class Midwestern) a little bit during law school, but I still will be able to live like a normal guy for the most part.

I understand the whole "live like a student" mentality, but at the same time, I'm going to law school, not joining a monestary.



I'm sure that you'll be fine romo. I just wanted to emphasize that we are social creatures and many of us spend money in ways that are affected by our social groups and significant others. Spending on clothes and restaraunts/bars has a great deal to do with the company we keep. $2 beer vs $15 martini, etc. A roomate of mine once bought a $5,000 motorcycle with money his dad gave him. After that, I wanted a motorcycle for a while, even though I have thought for pretty much all of my life that they are stupid as shit. I'm a firm believer in the idea that our desires for material goods come from our social circle.

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bk1
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby bk1 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:15 pm

theantiscalia wrote:I kind of figured more law students would be in this situation. ND's budget is thin, but not that much. I guess trying to stretch it over 12 months instead of 9 is what I'm doing differently; I'm in on-campus housing and don't have any prior obligations I'm bringing in. I did set the expectation that I wouldn't touch my savings (which I have reserved for bar exam studying and costs in three years), but that may not be realistic.


From the lawyers I have talked to, I've been told that many students act stupidly with their money (one even said you can tell when loan money has been disbursed just by looking at the number of people who come to class the next day with new outfits).

I would also expect that many people have money from working summer jobs and/or money from their parents.

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bilbobaggins
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby bilbobaggins » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:18 pm

I just don't understand how what you have leftover could be so slim.

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Lincoln
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby Lincoln » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:18 pm

Is car a necessity? If you are commuting, sure, but living without a car is very much doable in the vast majority of urban areas, even in this country, which seems to be insisting on making it hard for people to live without one. (Sorry for the bitter tone, I'm missing Copenhagen.) What you'd save on insurance, gas, and repairs is more than enough to actually have a decent lifestyle. Sure, carrying groceries in the snow isn't a whole lot of fun, but it's a whole lot more enjoyable than not having any groceries at all, because you're giving half your disposable income to ExxonMobil.

Also, if you're in student housing, and on a meal plan, a car seems wholly unnecessary.

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jks289
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby jks289 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:28 pm

Some of the best financial advice is to save dollars and not pennies. Plenty of people forgo eating out, but then pay too much in rent, etc. The way to save money is in the big things, not by constantly scrimping on the small stuff. Take a look at your major costs. Rent. Have you chosen the least expensive option? Cell phone. Do you have a smartphone and dataplan that can be axed. Can you reduce to plan to the talk minimum and use Skype with you family and friends? Do you need the car? Would you pay less in insurance if you traded in for something more modest, etc. $300 seems like a very tight budget. No doubt it can be done, but you'll have to be disciplined in living low.

Also, I've read that at most schools there are almost daily speakers/events that provide free lunches.

theantiscalia
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby theantiscalia » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:30 pm

bilbobaggins wrote:I just don't understand how what you have leftover could be so slim.


The total living expenses in the budget at ND for living expenses is about $14,000.

Divide that by 12 months , you get $1,167. Unfortunately, loan processing fees have to come out of that, so it really comes to about $1,150 a month.

Take out $590 for rent and utilities, $90 for car insurance and parking (although I'm probably going to reduce my insurance limits to save money there), $60 for cell phone (I could maybe cut off $20 a month there), and about $110 for health and dental insurance (which they make us buy), and you get to about $300. I probably should have gone for off-campus housing...

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bk1
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby bk1 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:45 pm

theantiscalia wrote:
bilbobaggins wrote:I just don't understand how what you have leftover could be so slim.


The total living expenses in the budget at ND for living expenses is about $14,000.

Divide that by 12 months , you get $1,167. Unfortunately, loan processing fees have to come out of that, so it really comes to about $1,150 a month.

Take out $590 for rent and utilities, $90 for car insurance and parking (although I'm probably going to reduce my insurance limits to save money there), $60 for cell phone (I could maybe cut off $20 a month there), and about $110 for health and dental insurance (which they make us buy), and you get to about $300. I probably should have gone for off-campus housing...


$590 for rent/utilities seems very reasonable. I don't see how you could realistically get much cheaper than that.

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romothesavior
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby romothesavior » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:49 pm

FYI, this is why I think having a roommate is TCR. I know that this is a minority opinion on TLS, but it is the best way to "save dollars" like jks was talking about. I am paying $500 a month for a BEAUTIFUL fully-furnished apartment, splitting the utilities with my roomie, and likely cutting costs on food as well as a result of having someone to share with.

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jks289
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby jks289 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:56 pm

For what it's worth my husband lived in South Bend on a $9,800/academic year grad student stipend. He had a big studio (in a not so great area) for $390 a month utilities included and said col was so cheap he never felt broke. Granted that was 8 or 9 years ago, but still. If there is anywhere you can do it, ND is the place.

Also, maybe reevaluate the dividing by 12 part. You can't go home or live with family for the summer? Or pick up extra work in the summer. You'll likely be doing legal work for free but maybe you'll have time for something PT to stay afloat.

ETA: He says getting heat included in rent is a must.

theantiscalia
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby theantiscalia » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:05 pm

jks289 wrote:For what it's worth my husband lived in South Bend on a $9,800/academic year grad student stipend. He had a big studio (in a not so great area) for $390 a month utilities included and said col was so cheap he never felt broke. Granted that was 8 or 9 years ago, but still. If there is anywhere you can do it, ND is the place.

Also, maybe reevaluate the dividing by 12 part. You can't go home or live with family for the summer? Or pick up extra work in the summer. You'll likely be doing legal work for free but maybe you'll have time for something PT to stay afloat.

ETA: He says getting heat included in rent is a must.


I've kind of realized that the divide by 12 part is completely unreasonable. I'm going to give it a shot, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I can't do it. That said, I seriously think I could pull the $300 off. I just went back and looked at my old UG credit card statements (from five years ago) and I damn near did it then without trying.

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Mroberts3
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby Mroberts3 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:28 pm

jks289 wrote:Some of the best financial advice is to save dollars and not pennies. Plenty of people forgo eating out, but then pay too much in rent, etc. The way to save money is in the big things, not by constantly scrimping on the small stuff. Take a look at your major costs. Rent. Have you chosen the least expensive option? Cell phone. Do you have a smartphone and dataplan that can be axed. Can you reduce to plan to the talk minimum and use Skype with you family and friends? Do you need the car? Would you pay less in insurance if you traded in for something more modest, etc. $300 seems like a very tight budget. No doubt it can be done, but you'll have to be disciplined in living low.

Also, I've read that at most schools there are almost daily speakers/events that provide free lunches.


Bingo. The other thing not being discussed here is the reality of irregular, but not unexpected costs. Sure, you can budget $XX for food and $YY for gas, but there are tons of things that come up cyclically. If you are using your whole budget just to survive every month, you will be in the red quite often as other things pop up. Let's say you just bought new shoes for $50 (and only own 1 pair) that will last a year. "Great," you think, "I'm all set in that department." But next week/month you need a hair cut. "no problem, that's only $10 and I'm all set for another 1-2 months." But then next week/month you get sick and spend $20 on medicine. And the next week it's...you get the idea. Before you know it, you are a year older and need new shoes again! At a certain point you can only skimp so much. Sure you could avoid that medicine but going to class sick all week will hurt you more in the long run. The exact numbers aren't important, but you need to budget for daily costs, as well as a cushion for more irregular costs, in addition to being prepared for unforeseen expenses.

I doubt $300 will do it. You should seriously try and limit the monthly expenses that will really drain you -- rent, car, and utilities.

09042014
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby 09042014 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:36 pm

I'm freaking out about 700 dollars more than utilities/rent and I have some savings. I can't imagine 300 dollars.

Protip: Everclear 195 can be diluted by 2/3 to make vodka.

Allitigator
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby Allitigator » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:02 am

Find someone that can take care of you, understands your situation, and won't mind having sex with you for money, food, and anything else you need. Older women in bars are usually willing to go home with you after a few drinks, if you are accessible and have a place to live.

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bk1
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby bk1 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:32 am

Desert Fox wrote:I'm freaking out about 700 dollars more than utilities/rent and I have some savings. I can't imagine 300 dollars.

Protip: Everclear 195 can be diluted by 2/3 to make vodka.


But I can't buy that in my state :(.

Allitigator
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby Allitigator » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:31 pm

Try to donate plasma on weekends or when you have time.

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poprox
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby poprox » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:44 pm

Allitigator wrote:Try to donate plasma on weekends or when you have time.


I'd recommend selling your blood plasma, not donating it. Provided you're looking to improve your budget situation and not just get really light-headed and high on the weekends.

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trialjunky
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby trialjunky » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:49 pm

Prostitution FTW!

Allitigator
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby Allitigator » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:52 pm

poprox wrote:
Allitigator wrote:Try to donate plasma on weekends or when you have time.


I'd recommend selling your blood plasma, not donating it. Provided you're looking to improve your budget situation and not just get really light-headed and high on the weekends.



Oh yes! Sell your plasma. Excuse the Freudian-Slip.
Also, look into selling your sperm.
Ideally, look into selling your soul.

Another idea, if you have time:
Drive around looking for furniture on the street that people are throwing away. Take possession of the furniture and try to sell it on Craig's List for a profit.

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romothesavior
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:55 pm

I sold my plasma during undergrad, but there is no way in hell I'm doing it in LS. I'm already selling my time and my soul to the legal profession, so I'll at least keep my body fluids. I have some sense of dignity.

09042014
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby 09042014 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:30 pm

romothesavior wrote:I sold my plasma during undergrad, but there is no way in hell I'm doing it in LS. I'm already selling my time and my soul to the legal profession, so I'll at least keep my body fluids. I have some sense of dignity.


It's what 50 dollars a week max? Not worth the several hours a week, and the track marks.

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sundance95
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby sundance95 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:36 pm

romothesavior wrote:Also, I know you're in law school and you will be studying a ton, but keep in mind that you're still human... you'll want a couple of beers now and then or a nice meal out on the town once in a while. $300 a month does not allow for that.

Image
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theantiscalia
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby theantiscalia » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:39 pm

OP here. Thanks for the advice.

I decided to (partially) give up on my goal of stretching the student budget over twelve months. That means I'll have a lot more each month and won't have to live off of ramen.

Also, I have a lot of pre-law school savings... I've had a great career... I was just going to not try to touch that and save it for bar study and bar exam costs. I may have to reevaluate that.

Woozy
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Re: Living Within the Student Budget

Postby Woozy » Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:21 pm

I've been (mostly) living on a $300 a month food and spending money budget for the last few months in preparation for law school and to save some $. It is not hard if you have a little discipline. There are a couple of things that have helped me save money:

1) Use cash to pay for food/discretionary items. This forces you to think about every purchase and makes it impossible for you to go over budget. I usually take out $100 at the beginning of each month, again around the 10th, and again around the 20th, etc. If you run out of money, you have to eat whatever you have lying around and don't get to go out anywhere that would involve spending money.
2) Make your own food. $2-$3 for a frozen dinner might not seem too bad when you are looking at it in the supermarket, but I can make a pot of bean/vegetable stew/chili for $3 that will feed me for a week.

If you get at all serious about your food budget, you can eat decently for under $100/mo and have a little room left over in your budget to go out occasionally and still pay for gas & oil changes.




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