I am currently an engineering grad student, and unlike many other disciplines, you can actually get paid (a little, not a lot) to attend grad school. Because I work in a lab and do research, I don't have to pay tuition or fees and receive a small sum of money every month that covers my rent, food, and general living expenses. If I am very frugal, I can squirrel a bit of it away, or I can live comfortably without saving much. Either way I am on a fixed income, because our pay rate is the same across the board for everyone, regardless of how long you have been in school. This means my disposable income shrinks every year as my rent goes up, the price of gas rises, etc. Still I know I am very lucky that I do not have any student debt (or credit card debt) and also have some savings so that I don't have to worry about money during this period of my life.
Budget Inclusions and Exclusions
My budget includes clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, as well as makeup and non-drugstore skincare products. My budget excludes undergarments, socks, necessary workout gear, and drugstore skincare products. Also I currently don't account for sales tax.
In 2014, I gave myself $300 for most months and $350 for January and July. That may seem like a lot of money to some people. Heck, it seems like a lot to me. Eventually I would like to reduce this number to $200 per month, but I will need to do it gradually.
January - June 2014
December 2014 and Year-End Review
In 2015, I gave myself an annual budget of $3000 ($250 per month) and later added a stretch goal of $2400 ($200 per month).
December 2015 and Year-End Review
In 2016, I'm giving myself an annual budget of $2400 ($200 per month).