Budgeting is not just for students–it is a life skill you can use long after you graduate. It’s about controlling your money instead of letting your money control you, understanding how you are spending your money, and making informed consumer choices. Perhaps most importantly, developing a spending plan can keep you from worrying about your money.
The first step in budgeting is to make a list of your anticipated monthly expenses. The HLS student financial aid budget is designed to permit a reasonable and moderate standard of living. The 2023-24 financial aid budget is made up of direct and indirect costs. Tuition and the University Health fee are direct costs. Indirect costs are health insurance, books, supplies, travel and room/board/personal for a total indirect budget of $35,992. Our standard indirect budget allows $28,497 for room/board and personal expenses for the 9-month academic year, or about $3,166 per month. We developed a 2023-24 Excel worksheet to help you develop your spending plan.
The following examples demonstrate three different sets of budgeting choices, and the monthly expenses related to those choices.
Examples A and B show that it is possible to live on less than the student budget. The students in Example A and B could then decide whether to allocate the “remaining funds” to other expenses not listed (such as the University’s optional dental insurance plan), or to reduce their borrowing. In Example A the student can borrow $8,919 less ($991 x 9) during the academic year than the student in Example B, or $6,264 ($696 x 9) less than in Example C.
|Total Indirect Budget:||$35,992|
|Books and Supplies||minus||$1,650|
Using the total remaining indirect budget of $28,497consider the following three scenarios:
EXAMPLE A – LIVING IN A LARGE GROPIUS ROOM
EXAMPLE B – LIVING OFF-CAMPUS WITH ROOMMATE
EXAMPLE C – LIVING OFF-CAMPUS WITHOUT ROOMMATE
|Rent||$1,325||Rent (share of total)||$1,650||Rent||$2,440|
|Food/ Groceries||$550||Food/ Groceries||$390||Food/ Groceries||$300|
|Local transportation||$70||Local transportation||$120||Local transportation||$50|
|Discretionary Spending||$991||Discretionary Spending||$696||Discretionary Spending||$6|