Extra Living Costs?

<p>Just as the title implies, can anyone talk about extra living costs?
And also maybe those of living abroad?
Do living costs add up significantly to the already horribly high tuition?</p>

<p>madhatter, </p>

<p>I will respond to part of your question. The extra living expenses depend on your own spending style and budget consciousness.</p>

<p>I will describe some of what I am planning for my son, if that will give you some ideas. I am planning to sign him up for the 10 meal plan (basically covering him for 2 meals a day 5 days a week). I will give him $150 a week extra to eat out or buy food to prepare with a microwave and a little fridge for the two additional days of the week and the 3rd meal of each day (likely to be breakfast, which is not a big meal for sonny). Also, the $150 will have to cover all other costs, such as entertainment, more extravagant meals out, etc. I told sonny he will have to save $ from weeks when he does not spend as much $ towards weeks when he might be splurging more. I am buying appropriate winter wear (more expensive coats and boots, etc.) for sonny, separate from his budget. He had just gotten some nice Urban Outfitters clothing so he should be ready with his college wardrobe.</p>

<p>This $150/ week works out to be around an extra $4800 for the 8 months of the academic year. It is a reasonable budget and doable for my son (I believe). He was advised by me to look for discounts for entertainment and food where possible. For instance, get lunches instead of dinners where possible (since dinner menus are more expensive). Also, we just ate at Familia?, a pizza place near NYU (yummy pizza by the way), where sonny got 2 slices of pizza and a drink for around $8. Keep in mind that the meal plans average around $7+ to $10 a meal, depending on which plan you choose (of course the higher # meal plans are cheaper per meal). There appears to be options for equivalently priced meals in the neighborhood, plus supermarket shopping (Whole Foods or Trader Joe's prepared meals, ones that are not too expensive).</p>

<p>By the way, Chinatown is fairly close to NYU for a weekend trip shopping. Prices there for food can be very economical if you know where to eat (for fancier food) or there are always these special deals with rice and 2-4 different food selections for around $5-7. These are filling meals with choices of chicken, shrimp, beef, vegetables, tofu, etc.</p>

<p>The big unknown is the entertainment. I am hoping he will stick to discounted or free NYC/NYU events and hanging out with friends to play games/ video games and practice for band, after studying hard for his classes. My son is not into clubbing or drinking so hopefully that will help with the budget. </p>

<p>So, we will see how sonny sticks to the budget. He will be paid for a summer internship next year (around $3,000-5,000). That $ will be his spending money for 2011-2012. We expect he will work every summer after this one.</p>

<p>Just some of my random thoughts on this matter. Hope it helps with your thinking on your budget and needs.</p>

<p>Wow. Thank you so much. You definitely gave a good start!</p>

<p>My daughter currently is a sophomore. The first year she lived in a LCT and I got her the flex meal plan which I think is better because you can use the meal plan anytime and not lose your meals. If you choose the 10meal plan/week you have to use them that week or you lose them. The flex plan carries over week to week and you can swipe your card to give a firend or visiting friend a free meal.
At the end of the first year I went over my bank statement to acertain exactly how much money I gave my daughter over the course of the school year and it was approx 3000.00. This was strictlly for the extras. Laundry, supplies, etc. She was really frugal and try to make things stretch. She and her friends did learn how to be resourceful and make the dollar last. It is quite expensive in NYC because there are a lot of distractions and things to do.
Sophomore year is really different, with its own expenses.</p>

<p>The key in NYC is to make sure that you stay frugal and save money for the weeks that you will splurge. ( Like one of the above posters stated). I wish someone told me that before during summer programs I had in college because it would have been so much more efficient. Also, if you are living in an apartment style dorm, making your own food that can be eaten throughout the week is really efficient to. I don't really have a large meal plan either. I save so much money that way!</p>

<p>milkandsugar,</p>

<p>Agreed! This thread caused me to look up the meal plan options again. So I will sign him up for the 175 flex plan so he can have the extra meals (15 more per semester than the 10 meal/ week plan, but with fewer dining dollars). This way, he will be able to roll over unused meals from week to week. I forget what I read. Do the meals roll over to the next semester and end no matter what in May (end of academic year)? Or do they just roll over week after week for the semester? </p>

<p>Anyway, yes, the 175 flex is the same price as the 10 meal/ week plan ($1800 per semester as of 2009-2010). The former with $150 dining dollars and the latter with $250 D $.</p>

<p>I think sonny will prefer the rollover option at the same price even with the fewer D $.</p>

<p>By the way, milkandsugar, I think your daughter did tremendously well with the $3000 budget. My son is a spender so the $4800 will probably be about right for him (hopefully)! :)</p>

<p>MEALS are only for that semester.</p>

<p>DINING DOLLARS are for the whole academic year, September to May.</p>

<p>missamericanpie- thats because they roll over right? or do you get them all at once even though you pay by the semester?</p>

<p>They don't roll over to the next semester. You have to use them only for the semester.</p>

<p>Yes, milk has it right. You pay for all of the meals and dollars and they are all activated on Day One of the meal plan. However, if you don't use all flex meals by December. . . whatever the last day of the fall is, tough cookies. You don't get them back. The DOLLARS stay on your meal plan until MAY move-out. That's why it's always good to try to use the meals before dollars, unless you're using dollars in one of the NYU convenience stores or something.</p>

<p>My daughter is just about to graduate from NYU. A quick comment: She lived in the dorms freshman, sophomore and half of junior years (other half was study abroad, Paris). Her senior year, she has lived in an apt.</p>

<p>It has been cheaper for her to live in an apartment (she shares a small 2 BR place with a roommate) than to live in the dorms. </p>

<p>It's probably a good idea to live in the dorms as a freshman, just for the experience and meeting people. After that, I urge you to do the math. Contrary to what you might think, it's fairly easy to find housing in the city that's relatively reasonably priced, if you don't mind a typical student apt. (no frills, sharing with other people).</p>

<p>most people found (I am a rising soph) that 14/week was too many meals, but 10/week could be too few once and a while. Most people don't eat breakfast, even though practically everyone plans on doing it initially. 150 week is alright, it is what I had (I never bought new clothes, except in certain situations, and spent money on transportation, food, and alcohol). Lots of people were at 150/week, and would stay in one day a weekend, either thurs, fri, or sat. Lots of times I did have to whip out the credit card, though. I think at the other end of the spectrum, I knew some people who got like $60 a week and were pretty miserable with that, just cause staying in and doing free things gets pretty boring really quickly, and since most dining halls are closed on sundays and people tend to want to stay in the whole day, everyone just orders food in or goes out for 2 meals, which swallowed up most of their budgets. On the other hand, I knew people that got between 500-700 a week, and, well, they lived really really nicely.</p>

<p>Keep in mind, people that are considering dining plans, parents can add additional dining dollars to a meal plan at any time. If you go through the housing portal, dining dollars can be added and used immediately. So if you're worried about running out of MEALS, dollars can help make up for those lean times at the end of the semester.</p>