Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

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pdrez
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Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby pdrez » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:35 pm

I am having cold feet about going to law school, and it comes primarily from a "freaking out about money and debt" perspective.

So I ask you current students: what is law school like as far as money and living a decent life? And this is directed to mainly t25 students, just because that is where I'm going and want the people that respond to have similar costs of attendance.

Is it ramen noodles every night? Is there ANY discretionary money to have drinks with friends, go out to eat or see movies with friends? Or are we talking extremely tight budgets? What are some good tactics to maximize your budget and live a decent life?

Any insights are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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forza
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby forza » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:37 pm

I live on Subway's $5 footlongs and Qdoba's $5 burritos after five o'clock.

Also, beer.

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uzpakalis
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby uzpakalis » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:54 pm

everyone's financial situation is different....figure out your own budget, it's not that hard (unless you're the government).

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby holdencaulfield » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:11 am

pdrez wrote:I am having cold feet about going to law school, and it comes primarily from a "freaking out about money and debt" perspective.

So I ask you current students: what is law school like as far as money and living a decent life? And this is directed to mainly t25 students, just because that is where I'm going and want the people that respond to have similar costs of attendance.

Is it ramen noodles every night? Is there ANY discretionary money to have drinks with friends, go out to eat or see movies with friends? Or are we talking extremely tight budgets? What are some good tactics to maximize your budget and live a decent life?

Any insights are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!




I have yet to meet a law student who can't make rent or won't go out for beers due to a tight budget. But hey, I'm only in the t50 so obviously my experiences should not sway you.

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Veyron
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby Veyron » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:25 am

pdrez wrote:I am having cold feet about going to law school, and it comes primarily from a "freaking out about money and debt" perspective.

So I ask you current students: what is law school like as far as money and living a decent life? And this is directed to mainly t25 students, just because that is where I'm going and want the people that respond to have similar costs of attendance.

Is it ramen noodles every night? Is there ANY discretionary money to have drinks with friends, go out to eat or see movies with friends? Or are we talking extremely tight budgets? What are some good tactics to maximize your budget and live a decent life?

Any insights are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!


No time to make a day to day budget. Some days I've spent 200 bucks (buying printers and such), other days 2 bucks. Debt is binary, pwnd or not pwnd, there is no try. Makes more sense to focus on grades than $.

random5483
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby random5483 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:48 am

T25 or T4 has no impact on loan eligibility. Sure, T25 students might have the false sense of security and take more loans than they should, but law students in general should be careful. The city you live in and the scholarship you get make a big difference.

Most schools give you a generous cost of living allocation. I never get close to my limit (would be stupid if I took on that kind of debt). The risk is overspending while in law school, not running out of loan eligibility.

pdrez
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby pdrez » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:04 am

Well I guess I'm just confused on how the loan structure works then. What do you mean you don't get "close to your limit?"

Doesn't each school give you a cost of attendance and your loans cannot go above that cost? Like UT for example says tuition is 45K for nonresidents, and 16K for books, rooming, travel, misc, etc. So loans and everything else can't go above that 61K, right? Are you saying these are "generous cost of living allocations?"

Any clarity on student budget would seriously help! Thanks.

yo!
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby yo! » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:15 am

From what I understand, they hand out grad plus loans like candy at my school. Our financial aid guy told us at the beginning of school "If you run out of money and need more grad plus, we can figure it out." Actually taking this advice probably makes you a dumbass, but running out of money doesn't seem to be a problem if you can stomach the debt. As far as lifestyle: everyone I hang out with regularly goes out drinking, participates in activities (snowboarding, bowling, golf, etc..), and we even have a semi-regular 1L poker game going. Be somewhat frugal with your everyday expenses, and it's not hard to find enough money to have a little bit of fun.

de5igual
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby de5igual » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:23 am

pdrez wrote:Well I guess I'm just confused on how the loan structure works then. What do you mean you don't get "close to your limit?"

Doesn't each school give you a cost of attendance and your loans cannot go above that cost? Like UT for example says tuition is 45K for nonresidents, and 16K for books, rooming, travel, misc, etc. So loans and everything else can't go above that 61K, right? Are you saying these are "generous cost of living allocations?"

Any clarity on student budget would seriously help! Thanks.


UT might be the exception to the "generous living allocations"

I don't know of anyone able to live off those estimates without dipping into savings or getting parental support

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gothamm
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby gothamm » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:06 am

If you are really short on $, i would highly recommend taking out an extra $5000 loan so you can lead a healthy lifestyle. I think health makes a significant difference in law school performance (or anywhere). You are at an important stage in your life. Having a good diet is extremely important for maintaining focus. In light of this, i would highly recommend avoiding ramen and tv dinners. spend that extra couple of dollars for lunch and buy yourself a healthy meal. better yet, learn how to cook, which is exactly what i plan on doing.

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queenlizzie13
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby queenlizzie13 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:29 am

gothamm wrote:If you are really short on $, i would highly recommend taking out an extra $5000 loan so you can lead a healthy lifestyle. I think health makes a significant difference in law school performance (or anywhere). You are at an important stage in your life. Having a good diet is extremely important for maintaining focus. In light of this, i would highly recommend avoiding ramen and tv dinners. spend that extra couple of dollars for lunch and buy yourself a healthy meal. better yet, learn how to cook, which is exactly what i plan on doing.


Good point. I fully advocate this. I am going to need an extra 1k a year for the running club I plan to join when I get to Boulder.

dudders
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby dudders » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:08 am

I live on about $400 a month (after rent, health and car insurance, and car payment (which is almost over, thank god)). So that $400 has to cover utilities (usually about $100/month, maybe a little more in high summer or dead winter), food, gas, public transportation (i bus/subway to school), clothes, school supplies, and any fun I manage to have. I guess that's about $13/day if you wanted to know a "daily" budget. Without a car and car insurance, this would go up to about $700/month.

It's not fun. I am not going out tonight to a motown dance party because I only have $5 for the rest of the month. Starting up school again was just out of control expensive, but I'm good on groceries for another week or so. It's not ramen every night, but I care about what I'm putting in my body. I eat tons of fresh vegetables, all whole grains, and some occasion lean protein. I eat pretty well on a meager budget, and I never buy food at school (it's that $10 lunch every day and a couple fast food dinners a week that will absolutely kill you).

Not that you budget HAS to be this low. I budgeted my loan money to last all 12 months instead of the 9-month academic year as determined by the school. I expect to be working a paid part-time job in addition to an unpaid legal job (1L summer), but I've got a safety net.

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GATORTIM
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby GATORTIM » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:24 am

Not sure about daily, but monthly:

$24,300 at the gas station filling up
$17,220 on clothes
$6,730 on laundry and dry cleaning
$2,305 on pet care
$1,620 on music and magazines
$1,495 on cable television
Monthly Maid Service : $22,190
Monthly Mortgage: $156,116
Monthly Insurance: $31,299
Monthly Utilities: $10,065
Monthly Gifts: $60,417
Monthly Vacations: $110,505

BaronDetroit
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby BaronDetroit » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:58 pm

You can live very well as a law student if you want to. Of course, you eventually have to pay the money back. Most students probably live better than the poor working slobs making 15 bucks an hour.

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smokyroom26
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby smokyroom26 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:04 pm

GATORTIM wrote:Not sure about daily, but monthly:

$24,300 at the gas station filling up
$17,220 on clothes
$6,730 on laundry and dry cleaning
$2,305 on pet care
$1,620 on music and magazines
$1,495 on cable television
Monthly Maid Service : $22,190
Monthly Mortgage: $156,116
Monthly Insurance: $31,299
Monthly Utilities: $10,065
Monthly Gifts: $60,417
Monthly Vacations: $110,505


You can't get a decent maid in Austin for anything less than $47,350/month. Jealous!

:D

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beach_terror
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby beach_terror » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:26 pm

I live frugally with the occasional 100-120$ bar tab.

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zanda
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby zanda » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:38 pm

at NYU the COL allowance is much much higher than necessary.

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Pretzel_Logic
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby Pretzel_Logic » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:09 am

Leave some room for the unexpected in your budget. Don't avoid all things that are fun, by any means, but expect the unexpected. I did not and had to replace my phone, my laptop, and put in about $2500 in car repairs just this fall (most of that happened within the space of two weeks and the last chunk the second weekend of finals). Thankfully I have parents who are far more generous than I deserve or I would have been driving home on fumes. I did, however, spend waaaaaaaay too much money on fun stuff--buying music like it was my job, replacing about half my wardrobe without really considering what my bank account looked like, buying whatever I wanted at the grocery store without sticking to a list of things I actually need, going out to eat often, etc. Basically I was used to living like I had in undergrad where I usually had several thousand dollars in discretionary income built up from working hard all summer . . . law school is way more expensive.

tl;dr, don't let spending money scare you away from law school, but be very aware of how much money you're taking out and then in how you spend it. You still have to pay every cent of it back eventually. My day to day budget varies tremendously because 5/7 days I don't actively spend anything--the other days it's gas, necessary food, etc. Just be careful.

HowdyYall
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby HowdyYall » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:23 am

F$%& ramen, oatmeal iz where it is at.

savagecheater
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby savagecheater » Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:37 pm

My personal weekly budget

Groceries - $35-45, depending on whether I buy extras like snackfoods.
Coffee - $5 (we do have an on-campus cafe, so it's only $1/cup and I get a cup a day)
Dinner on fridays w/ friends - $~15
Alcohol (iffy) - $0-10 (not much bar attendance, 8:30am class everyday, so it's mainly with friends at apartments)
Miscellaneous (sodas, mail, etc.) - $5

So, between $60-80/week. Typically, the misc stuff is pretty light, I'm not driving a lot, and I don't spend much on alcohol, so it's closer to the $60 than the $80.

I could spend more I suppose, but I seriously don't need to. Purchasing meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks....that eats up cash fast. I eat a lot of food, very protein heavy, with lots of vegetables, but I make it all myself, which seriously cuts down price.

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gothamm
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby gothamm » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:56 am

savagecheater wrote:My personal weekly budget

Groceries - $35-45, depending on whether I buy extras like snackfoods.
Coffee - $5 (we do have an on-campus cafe, so it's only $1/cup and I get a cup a day)
Dinner on fridays w/ friends - $~15
Alcohol (iffy) - $0-10 (not much bar attendance, 8:30am class everyday, so it's mainly with friends at apartments)
Miscellaneous (sodas, mail, etc.) - $5

So, between $60-80/week. Typically, the misc stuff is pretty light, I'm not driving a lot, and I don't spend much on alcohol, so it's closer to the $60 than the $80.

I could spend more I suppose, but I seriously don't need to. Purchasing meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks....that eats up cash fast. I eat a lot of food, very protein heavy, with lots of vegetables, but I make it all myself, which seriously cuts down price.


that's a solid budget. Mind disclosing the state you reside in?

savagecheater
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby savagecheater » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:02 pm

gothamm wrote:
savagecheater wrote:My personal weekly budget

Groceries - $35-45, depending on whether I buy extras like snackfoods.
Coffee - $5 (we do have an on-campus cafe, so it's only $1/cup and I get a cup a day)
Dinner on fridays w/ friends - $~15
Alcohol (iffy) - $0-10 (not much bar attendance, 8:30am class everyday, so it's mainly with friends at apartments)
Miscellaneous (sodas, mail, etc.) - $5

So, between $60-80/week. Typically, the misc stuff is pretty light, I'm not driving a lot, and I don't spend much on alcohol, so it's closer to the $60 than the $80.

I could spend more I suppose, but I seriously don't need to. Purchasing meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks....that eats up cash fast. I eat a lot of food, very protein heavy, with lots of vegetables, but I make it all myself, which seriously cuts down price.


that's a solid budget. Mind disclosing the state you reside in?


Ill/IN/OH

However, I am from a larger city in a coastal state (think SF/LA in CA or Boston/MA) and my budget went up about $6 total at home, all on groceries, so it's not unfeasible.

It's about thinking a bit with your purchases - I pack my own lunches, and while lunch meat is like $3.50 for 1/4lb packaged, it's $9 for 5.5lbs chicken breasts uncooked. I can prepare it easily on a sunday and then store it, and so I save a lot that way. Things like that. It costs $1.50 for a cup of coffee w/ a paper cup, but if you bring your own it's $1. I mean, yeah, you're not saving much per purchase, but add it up over the week and it becomes significant.
`
My first weeks (like 1-3) I was an idiot and went through ~$400; I sat down one afternoon and made little modifications to the budget and without cutting anything out brought it down from about $120/week to about $60.

The Pendulum
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby The Pendulum » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:23 pm

pdrez wrote:And this is directed to mainly t25 students, just because that is where I'm going and want the people that respond to have similar costs of attendance.


Snort

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby Stanford4Me » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:10 am

zanda wrote:at NYU the COL allowance is much much higher than necessary.

I don't know about that.

After maxing out total loans (which includes scholarship money I received), I was left with $3,500 for this semester. Luckily I will get my tax refund and the housing rebate so that will throw and extra ~$3,000 in my pocket. But, for someone who doesn't want to live off of ramen noodles and other shit foods, $3,500 IN NEW YORK is ridiculous.

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zanda
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Re: Hey students, what is your day-to-day budget like?

Postby zanda » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:01 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:
zanda wrote:at NYU the COL allowance is much much higher than necessary.

I don't know about that.

After maxing out total loans (which includes scholarship money I received), I was left with $3,500 for this semester. Luckily I will get my tax refund and the housing rebate so that will throw and extra ~$3,000 in my pocket. But, for someone who doesn't want to live off of ramen noodles and other shit foods, $3,500 IN NEW YORK is ridiculous.

I'm maxed out on loans and have $1k-1.5k left over from last semester. I had ramen noodles about 3 times, but that was generally for reason of saving time/energy rather than saving money. I generally ate well.




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