So, I was talking to another professor at a SLAC last week and he thought that his students had some sort of misconception of graduate school and its compensation. Most of the kids he interacted had only one idea of grad school, "Get Paid To Learn & Play In The Lab." I think his frustration is that these kids had no concept of what they would get paid let alone the whole concept of cost of living. So to teach these little unlearned snowflakes, I'm going to give them an overview of my grad stipend and costs from last institution (so as not to give away my current one). So stop trying to make a bong out of a damn Pert Plus bottle and pay attention you undergrad noobs, I'm about to drop some grad school economics on you.
Okay, so to start off with I got paid a stipend of $23,000. I think this is somewhere around the average for graduate students so lets go with this. I'm not going to get into taxes because some stipends are designated as taxable and others are not, so you'll need to look into that yourself.
Health Care: So you'll be lucky if you can find a place that covers your health care costs, my last institution did not. It cost me around $1500 a year for a health plan that would not even cover a corrugated cardboard casket in case I died. We had no dental benefits, yet we were 100 yards from a dental school. Our plannly covered only major medical expenses and required us to use the university hospital which put us at the back of the line when dealing with you know normal patients.
Rent: I paid $700 a month for my apartment that was surrounded by you cockbites. But it was close and convenient to the university which had no official housing. If you can get into official housing you might want to do that but sometimes its not economically advantageous. Bam, that $8,400 a month gone. And obviously if you live in the NYC/DC area, you are going to be paying a lot more in rent.
Parking: This may come up for some of you, if you are in rural East Butnuckistan, then you don't have to worry about this. Your lucky, parking can get expensive very quickly.
Utilities: Since a lot of you scumbags have been living in a dorm for 4 years or 5 for our slower stupider crowd, you have no concept of paying a power or water bill. Utilities ran me around $125/month. That's around $1300 a year.
Insurance: Renter's Insurance, Car Insurance, Life Insurance...It all cost money. Renter's Insurance isn't bad, you can usually get a policy for like $150 for the year. My car insurance was about $75 a month, depending upon your car, coverage level, and how many DUI's you got while at Jamaica State University (Go Fighting Rastafari!). Annual costs for me? $1200
Cell Phone: Unless you send smoke signals to everyone, its going to at least cost you about $40 a month. If you are a smartphone using BOHICA, it ain't gonna be pretty. ~$500-1000 a year
Cable/Internet: Around $100 a month unless you can steal both. And lets face it if you are a grad student you really need home internet, I know you can get around it, but it definitely makes things much more easier if you have it.
Food: They don't serve free food everyday. I figure $175 a month to be a minimum food bill if you are eating decent and only cooking at home. Annual food cost for a hermit graduate student $2100.
Gas: Do you drive? It ain't cheap. Better hope you live close enough to walk or use public transit. Otherwise you are buying gas.
Entertainment: You can't sit in your apartment and stare at books or internet porn all day long, eventually you might want to see a movie, grab a beer, or if you aren't too ugly, go on a date.
Clothes: That's right, people wear clothes and clothes wear out.
Travel: Sure you can travel for conferences and meetings and grad school, but guess what? You are going to loose money. I'm still waiting to get reimbursed on travel from 4 months ago and that interest is just building on my credit card and my university doesn't give a rat's doodoo maker about it. Plus you won't get reimbursed for all your food expenses. Traveling is invaluable for networking and presenting your work but its going to cost you.
Healthcare: $1,500 (and it isn't very good)
Rent: $8,400 (your major expense)
Cell Phone: $750 (average price)
Bottom line: This leaves you less than $8000 and you haven't:
-Satisfied any federal or state/local (if applicable) tax obligations.
-Don't have any gasoline or car expenses.
-Go out to movies, bars, strip clubs, porn stores, you know the fun places.
-No cable TV or home internet.
-Need to buy books or supplies for grad school.
-And remember you aren't contributing anything to your retirement as well, not that you scumbags have even given any thought to that.
You are getting a living wage if you are smart and you stretch it, but its not going to be pretty. I'm not trying to scare you off from grad school, I just want to give you an idea as to what your finances are going to be like.
Can my readers give anymore feedback on the billz?