ChemiDude

Is it livable with $28,000 stipend in DC for 8 months?

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Hi!

I am going to get 28K for 8 months and wonder if it is livable in the expensive DC neighborhood. (I will visit my home country during summer and the travel grant will be provided as well.). If I spend $1500-$1700 for getting a studio, is the $28,000 stipend enough to live in DC for 8 months? or do you think I need to share my apartment to get a less expensive place? (FYI, I am not going to get a car). 

Thank you!

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Since you pay rent for 12 months of the year even if you get a stipend only for 8, rent would be $1700*12=$20,400 or $1500*12=$18000. Maybe you could sublet your place in the summer, but that's a dangerous assumption to base your budget on -- what if you can't find someone for some/all of that time, especially since I'll assume you'll need to live in a less than perfect location and apartment to save costs. So, you're spending here way more on rent than you should given your income. There will be other expenses -- bills, transportation, groceries, books, clothes, the occasional unplanned expense, medical, state and federal taxes. I would say you should probably find a cheaper accommodations option. But overall, $28000 is probably livable, though you won't feel rich. You can check out the City Guide DC post for more information on the city: 

 

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1 hour ago, fuzzylogician said:

Since you pay rent for 12 months of the year even if you get a stipend only for 8, rent would be $1700*12=$20,400 or $1500*12=$18000. Maybe you could sublet your place in the summer, but that's a dangerous assumption to base your budget on -- what if you can't find someone for some/all of that time, especially since I'll assume you'll need to live in a less than perfect location and apartment to save costs. So, you're spending here way more on rent than you should given your income. There will be other expenses -- bills, transportation, groceries, books, clothes, the occasional unplanned expense, medical, state and federal taxes. I would say you should probably find a cheaper accommodations option. But overall, $28000 is probably livable, though you won't feel rich. You can check out the City Guide DC post for more information on the city: 

 

Thanks! let me ask you one more question! What if I lease for 9 months? (because I will visit my home country during summer) All apartments that I found allow me to lease for 9months. So my plan is I am going to lease for 9months and stay in my home country during summer vacation and find a new studio and lease for another 9 months (and I am going to throw away my desk and matteess and buy new ones every year and I will put my other stuff in my cousin's house in Maryland while I stay in my country during summer) If it is my case, do you still think $1,500-$1,700 is still too much for rent? Since I have no experience in living in the US, I have no idea how much I need to pay for rent..:(

Edited by ChemiDude

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Usually the rule of thumb is 30% of your income should go towards rent and utilities. So, 30% of 28,000 is $8400. If you pay rent for only 9 months, then that is $933 per month (and this needs to include all utilities). 30% is an arbitrary number, but even if you go up to 40%, that is only around $1200. To me, this says that if you have a stipend around $28k, you will want to be spending 900-1200 on rent. 1500-1700 sounds very high for your stipend rate. Have you considered sharing a 2 or 4 bedroom place with roommates? Or living in a less expensive neighbourhood?

Also, 9 month leases are more difficult to find and you will have the stress of having to find a new lease every single year. Sometimes landlords set higher rent rates for a 9 month lease so you might not save as much money as you might think with a shorter lease. But this is up to you :)

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