Living Budget

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
justhockey31
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Living Budget

Postby justhockey31 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:45 pm

Hey I was trying to put together a budget for my 1L year and was wondering how much money per month someone would really need for food if they planned on cooking most of the time at home and buying in bulk/cheaper grocery stores. Does $300 a month sound accurate or is it possible to do it for less like $200 or even $150?? Sorry if it is naive but I just lived off of meal swipes during UG. Thanks for any advice!

sarahlawg
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby sarahlawg » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:47 pm

meat is expensive. otherwise, it's easy to stay in the $200 range.

justhockey31
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby justhockey31 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:51 pm

Can't meat be bought in bulk quantities too and then frozen or do I need to go veggie?

sarahlawg
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby sarahlawg » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:03 pm

well, I mean, if you eat a lot of meat normally, you can cut down on the amount of meat you eat (probably healthier for you anyway). If you buy in bulk, that's fine, you're just probably going to sacrifice quality of meat and you'll have to make sure you put it in the freezer right each time you put it away to avoid freezer burn. You may want to think about buying foods you can take with you to eat if you're someone who likes to study in the library. Cooking can take up a lot of time, so you might end up doing most of it on the weekend. Making a bigger dish that you can heat up later (think lasagna, chili, spaghetti, etc), will take some pressure off you during the week and make sure you're eating most of the ingredients you buy (cooking for one is very difficult given the quantities foods are sold in). Also, get used to drinking water. I couldn't believe how much money I was spending on beverages until I cut them out. I still get the occasional orange juice, but I mostly drink emergenc/plain water now. Oh, and store brands can be just as good as name brands, for sure.

What area of the country will you be living?

User avatar
KibblesAndVick
Posts: 541
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:29 am

Re: Living Budget

Postby KibblesAndVick » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:24 pm

You can stay below 200 a month pretty easily. You have to be willing to cook instead of eating out. That's easier said than done. Especially if you don't like cooking, arent very good at it, or don't have the time. But if you're committed to it you can feed yourself on less than 50 dollars a week. I had months in college where I spent less than 70 bucks on food. But pretty much all I ate was pasta, rice, ramen, and pp and j. I really wouldn't recommend that and it's god awful for you nutritionally but it's certainly possible.

Meats and fresh fruits and vegetables are generally expensive so if you're on a tight budget you might have to sacrifice in those areas. Cooking large meals and eating left overs is really credited too.

User avatar
Flips88
Posts: 13644
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby Flips88 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:27 pm

If you buy meat, you could just get turkey or ham for sandwiches and frozen chicken breast that you can buy in bulk. Other things I'd recommend are brown rice, beans (black or pinto), and veggies.

justhockey31
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby justhockey31 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:31 pm

These are all great responses thanks! I like the idea of making a big meal over the weekend and eating the leftovers during the week. I think I could live off of chicken, rice, veggies, etc while still having some $ to go out once in awhile to break up the routine.

ps - i will be living in the upper midwest so I feel like a lot of soups will be in my future to help stay warm!

User avatar
FeelTheHeat
Posts: 5203
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:32 am

Re: Living Budget

Postby FeelTheHeat » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:34 pm

justhockey31 wrote:These are all great responses thanks! I like the idea of making a big meal over the weekend and eating the leftovers during the week. I think I could live off of chicken, rice, veggies, etc while still having some $ to go out once in awhile to break up the routine.

ps - i will be living in the upper midwest so I feel like a lot of soups will be in my future to help stay warm!


Rice cooker.

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby AreJay711 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:37 pm

I'm pretty sure I'm under 300 and I eat a shit ton of meat. What I do is get the 5 lb tubes of ground beef and the huge things of chicken breast and bag them separately. The really expensive stuff is all the extra bs people get like fresh vegetables and fruit and stuff like that.

justhockey31
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby justhockey31 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:39 pm

Does anyone have some good crockpot recipes? I feel like you can eat cheaply using one of those (which my family bought me but I have never used)

As for the tubes of ground beef, I have seen them at the grocery store but I have been hesitant to trust them

User avatar
FeelTheHeat
Posts: 5203
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:32 am

Re: Living Budget

Postby FeelTheHeat » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:40 pm


User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby AreJay711 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:40 pm

justhockey31 wrote:Does anyone have some good crockpot recipes? I feel like you can eat cheaply using one of those (which my family bought me but I have never used)

As for the tubes of ground beef, I have seen them at the grocery store but I have been hesitant to trust them

I'm not dead yet. I wouldn't use them for burgers necessarily but I mean some pasta or meat balls or hamburger helper it works.

justhockey31
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby justhockey31 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:42 pm

Maybe I can get a family member to buy me subscription to omaha steaks or something to save $$ haha

User avatar
TheFutureLawyer
Posts: 3881
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 2:28 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:02 pm

$300 is definitely doable, esp if you're not in a big city. I probably did close to $250 most months without even thinking about it, during UG in a not expensive city.

If your in a tight spot, I've known someone who ate cheap (not bad tasting but bought in bulk) oatmeal every morning and rice and beans every evening. Maybe something else that was cheap for lunch, but otherwise that shit's for wimps. That should be about $150 a month.

User avatar
TheFutureLawyer
Posts: 3881
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 2:28 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:11 pm

KibblesAndVick wrote:I had months in college where I spent less than 70 bucks on food.


I've never heard of anyone going that cheap. I assume you shopped for the cheapest stuff at the cheapest place in the cheapest city. Or just straight up bought plain white rice in bulk.

User avatar
eandy
Posts: 2725
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:07 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby eandy » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:17 pm

TheFutureLawyer wrote:
KibblesAndVick wrote:I had months in college where I spent less than 70 bucks on food.


I've never heard of anyone going that cheap. I assume you shopped for the cheapest stuff at the cheapest place in the cheapest city. Or just straight up bought plain white rice in bulk.

I did that for a long time in UG. Hot dogs, canned beef stew over noodles, tuna casserole, grilled cheese or PBJ sandwiches. Not healthy, and it got boring/depressing/monotonous, but you can deal if you have to.

The thing about law school though is that cooking all the time gets exhausting and there is a lot of pressure to go out. It's hard to stick to cooking dinner/packing lunch.

justhockey31
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby justhockey31 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:19 pm

yeah $70 seems way too difficult...if I can do about $200 I would be more than happy because it will leave me some extra $$ for drinking budget :)

User avatar
pattonthicke
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:09 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby pattonthicke » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:23 pm

As someone who cooks often and only eats out a little, $250 is tcr and you can still get fruit and veggies. For veggies just buy them frozen, its cheaper. For fruits, dont buy oranges,apples, grapes. Stick to stawberries and bannanas and youre golden. And always keep your drinking budget separate from food.

User avatar
TheFutureLawyer
Posts: 3881
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 2:28 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:26 pm

justhockey31 wrote:yeah $70 seems way too difficult...if I can do about $200 I would be more than happy because it will leave me some extra $$ for drinking budget :)


lol. I'd say that throughout UG I probably avg'd close to 300 for food. I also avg'd close to $50 a month for booze and weed (if you do other drugs it'll be way higher).

edit: If I'm going to be honest, it's probably closer to 80 or 100 for the first year or two for booze/weed.
Last edited by TheFutureLawyer on Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby cinephile » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:28 pm

pattonthicke wrote:As someone who cooks often and only eats out a little, $250 is tcr and you can still get fruit and veggies. For veggies just buy them frozen, its cheaper. For fruits, dont buy oranges,apples, grapes. Stick to stawberries and bannanas and youre golden. And always keep your drinking budget separate from food.


Why? I've found that buying a bag of apples or a box of clementines (arguably, not oranges) are the cheapest fruits I can get. Or are you talking nutrition?

justhockey31
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby justhockey31 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:29 pm

$200 for food, $100 for drinking...2:1 ratio seems fair right?

User avatar
eandy
Posts: 2725
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:07 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby eandy » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:30 pm

cinephile wrote:
pattonthicke wrote:As someone who cooks often and only eats out a little, $250 is tcr and you can still get fruit and veggies. For veggies just buy them frozen, its cheaper. For fruits, dont buy oranges,apples, grapes. Stick to stawberries and bannanas and youre golden. And always keep your drinking budget separate from food.


Why? I've found that buying a bag of apples or a box of clementines (arguably, not oranges) are the cheapest fruits I can get. Or are you talking nutrition?

If you buy a bag of apples, they'll last forever in the fridge, so they can be a good buy in that they are really hard to waste.

Incidental eating when drinking (3AM pizza) should also go in drinking budget, not food.

User avatar
pattonthicke
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:09 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby pattonthicke » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:35 pm

cinephile wrote:
pattonthicke wrote:As someone who cooks often and only eats out a little, $250 is tcr and you can still get fruit and veggies. For veggies just buy them frozen, its cheaper. For fruits, dont buy oranges,apples, grapes. Stick to stawberries and bannanas and youre golden. And always keep your drinking budget separate from food.


Why? I've found that buying a bag of apples or a box of clementines (arguably, not oranges) are the cheapest fruits I can get. Or are you talking nutrition?


Maybe its just my local walmart, but they sell strawberries for $1.00/1.50 a carton while apples and oranges are like $5. Maybe in my new location they will be cheaper.

sarahlawg
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby sarahlawg » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:35 pm

justhockey31 wrote:$200 for food, $100 for drinking...2:1 ratio seems fair right?


you must be male

justhockey31
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Re: Living Budget

Postby justhockey31 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:36 pm

eandy wrote:
cinephile wrote:
pattonthicke wrote:As someone who cooks often and only eats out a little, $250 is tcr and you can still get fruit and veggies. For veggies just buy them frozen, its cheaper. For fruits, dont buy oranges,apples, grapes. Stick to stawberries and bannanas and youre golden. And always keep your drinking budget separate from food.


Why? I've found that buying a bag of apples or a box of clementines (arguably, not oranges) are the cheapest fruits I can get. Or are you talking nutrition?

If you buy a bag of apples, they'll last forever in the fridge, so they can be a good buy in that they are really hard to waste.

Incidental eating when drinking (3AM pizza) should also go in drinking budget, not food.


What if my drunk tendencies is to eat sandwiches when drunk? That could definitely come out of the food budget and unfortunately really add up :/




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests