Monday, October 27, 2008

Grad Student Budget

Surviving on a graduate student budget has mixed success. I considered being upset with myself when I saw that I'd already spent my entire October paycheck with a week left to go, and then I had Quicken pull up a report of what I spent money on. Oh yeah - a $400 plane ticket home for Christmas. It was purchased in September, but got pushed forward to the October calculations because September already had a $300 plane ticket for Thanksgiving. That ticket was purchased in August, but August already had health insurance and a plane ticket for my grandmother's memorial service.

November will have my brown belt test (hopefully). December will have my annual dental cleaning and X-rays, no doubt with a conversation with my dentist about how I came in to find cavities, but not to fix them at $250+ apiece. January is another health insurance premium (why, when it doesn't cover dentists or optometrists? Because the University requires it). February will be new glasses (1 prescription out of date) and sunglasses (2 or 3 prescriptions out of date, and functionally useless). I haven't gotten out as far as March, but I'm sure something expensive will come up - and it won't be Spring Break.

Throw in the fact that I'm currently overpaying my taxes (payroll adjustments for the August overpay are after-taxes, so I'm paying taxes on that income twice until I get my annual refund), and it's completely understandable that I'm dipping $50 into savings this month. Heck, the fact that this is the only month I've gone over, and should be the last one (as long as I keep the find-not-fix dental rule in place), means I should be congratulating myself. I haven't gone grandiose, I just don't intend to sit in my office and work on holidays, or let my health deteriorate. At least I am not in the ranks of college students applying for food stamps. I can still splurge a little on my organic Honey Crisp apples.

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