As I’m approaching the six-month mark in this project, I realized that I’ve never actually published my budget, despite the title “The Budget Grad Student.”
As a graduate student working on a research project, officially my salary includes tuition and fees, such as health, dental, and vision insurance, and access to the student gym, which are taken out pre-taxes. After taxes, I take home $1744 a month, which is fairly average for grad students at most universities. Assuming I put in 40 hours a week, this is the equivalent of earning just under $11 an hour, but I rarely work just 40 hours. Anyways, this is how I divide it up:
- Savings: $150
- Housing: $717
- Utilities: $94
- Internet/Cell Phone/Back-Up: $93
- Car and Home Insurance: $96
- Food/Health & Beauty: $60
- Transportation: $80
- Dog: $50
- House: $50
- Debt Payments: $150
- Entertainment/NY Times e-access: $48
That leaves $156 for whatever else comes up, and something always comes up: textbooks, trip to the vet, extra driving, weddings, birthdays, uncovered dental work.
This does not include the extra money I make by cleaning houses, babysitting, filling out surveys or mystery shopping. Depending on how my month goes, sometimes that covers the basics, others it goes to something fun, or if I’m really good, towards an extra debt payment.
However, I’m fortunate in that in just a few years I’ll hopefully have much more earning power. Also, a lot of my friends are also students, or are former grad students themselves, so are usually up for cheap or free entertainment.
What do y’all think? Any advice for managing this better?