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Company life: Budgets for young adults

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For those of you with older teens/young adults living independently while studying dance, with a little help from the parents still, I have a budget question:


Disregard rent

Disregard medical expenses and prescriptions

Disregard interstate transportation

Disregard dance clothes, dance shoes, regular clothes and shoes


How much do you budget for the combined weekly expenses of

- food (to be cooked at home),

- toiletries,

- entertainment (including a light sprinkling of eating out, starbucks, video, movies)

-local transportation





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Guest Clare

I doubt I can give any useful figures as we are in the UK but I certainly sympathise with the question. This is really difficult to work out, isn't it!


My daughter moved to London in September and we really struggled to decide how much she would need. We started low because she is not the sort of person who would ever let us get away with reducing her allowance but we paid her a term in advance so that she wouldn't suddenly be penniless if it wasn't enough. She is provided with breakfast and and evening meal but tends to cook for herself if the meal is not to her liking (or if, as often happens, she is still hungry) and she also has to buy her own lunch. She usually walks the couple of miles to school and back but sometimes shares a taxi in the evening if they finish after 6pm (her rule not mine). She comes home for about one weekend in two so has to finance cinema or whatever about every two weeks. We started with £40 ($60?) a week but increased it to £50 ($75?) pretty quickly. It is quite tight, I think, but she is starting to be fairly careful with budgeting for the first time in her life which can't be bad.


I think it must be heavily dependent on where they are living though, especially local tranport costs and on personality. I know my daughter will spend everything we give her and always complain that she needs more but not everyone is like that, of course. My son started university at the same time and is building up a healthy bank balance (of student loan) whilst I endlessly try to persuade him that he really does need to eat occasionally!



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My experience as a student in Boston:


For food, I would start out at $50/wk. You can kind of scrape by on $30/wk eating just pasta, but $50/wk gives a better variety of healthy foods. Add an extra $10 for every time out per week. If you go to restaraunts with a good value, you can often take home the leftovers and make another meal out of them.


Toiletries: Included in the food budget. But toiletries for women cost more. I'm sure you can figure out what these will cost.


Entertainment: clearly one can spend as much as you'd like in this area. But movies are under $10, as are many fun kinds of live entertainment (if you search around).


Local Transportation: depends entirely on the location of the apartment, the places the dancer needs to go, the mode of transportation employed, and the city.


In budgeting for a student living in NYC, I've found that $100/wk is possible, but you have to be careful on it. That actually includes some room for extras and eating out and stuff.


New York is one of those places that can take however much money you have. One problem is that there's a HUGE tradeoff between convenience and price at the grocery stores. When I visit, I help this student stock up from the low-price grocery stores, but she's working so hard she just doesn't have enough time to go there herself; hence we pay more for food.


I also know someone who lived on $1000/mo while a graduate student at Columbia. That included housing and everything except tuition and medical expenses. I don't know how she did it; sheer necessity, since she was an International student and had no safety net.

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Guest PAmom

I would also take into account that you would occasionally treat a friend to going to a show/ movies. Who wants to go alone all the time? For this reason bump the weeky entertainmnet expenses up a bit to budget out over the month unless you are only going to free events.


NYC metro prices just went up - a weekly card is now $21- $33 or the monthly is now $70.


I agree with citibob's rate of $50/wk for food and toiletries for a young man.


Were you including cell phone with rent Syr? That's another expense that teens in the city would have depending on their calling plan and calling needs.



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Cell phones have come down a lot in price. We just got a 2-phone plan with gobs of minutes for just over $100/mo. The plan allows unlimited conversations between our 2 phones as well as lot of other unlimited stuff.


Once you figure we got rid of 1 land line and 2 long-distance bills, it's a real money-saver.

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Thanks, everyone - from all responses we seem to be in range with allowance for a little extra comfort. I was worried that we were on too tight a budget for her but I guess not. As I suspect all of you know, at least while under parental support, there's a pretty wide range of "allowances" out their depending on the parent's finances and other considerations.


At this point, we fund our daughter weekly by depositing money in her local account on a certain day which she withdraws where she is by ATM card. I look forward to switching to a monthly budget sometime soon, but for now, she has resisted - and I'm afraid if she doesn't budget well - she won't have food money for the last days of the month! That thing of going to restaurants and eating the bread sticks, and drinking water with lemon squeezed into it with sugar, while your friends dine .... can only go so far towards the daily nourshment!! :rolleyes::D:)

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The student I mentioned above turned out to be unable to budget monthly. As long as we tried monthly budgets, we made absolutely no progress. It's just too long of a time. Budgeting skill takes time to develop.


I've found one of the best exercises is to write down EVERYTHING you spend. Just keeping that discipline for a couple of months can be VERY REVEALING, and result in significant changes in spending.


Personally, I would not try to rush the monthly budget, since some people just are not ready. Maybe your daughter recognizes she isn't ready for it.

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