Cost of Living and Budgets

The final thing we’re going to do around location is make sure that this location fits your cost of living budget.

Screenshare: Cost of Living Budget Spreadsheet

So the final thing we're going to do around location is make sure that this location fits your cost of living budget. So for this example, we're going to use the tuition budget we talked about before in the example, which was $40,000 total. And we're going to say the cost of living budget is also $40,000 total. So that's 36,000, around 36,000 euros. 

So what you're going to do is you're going to take your list of cities that remain on your favorites list after breaking it down last time, and you're going to list. If there's more than one school in one city, list that city twice, just so that you have the correct tuitions, because this is all very relevant. List the yearly tuition, how long the program takes, and then what the total tuition is based on, you know, the duration. 

So that shouldn't be too hard to do so far. That’s information that was gathered before. Now what we're going to do though, is we're going to say how much of your tuition budget remains, because that can go towards cost of living, if needed. If you have an overall budget of $80,000, it doesn't matter if part of it goes towards tuition and part of it — you know, which part of it goes towards cost of living? By the way, how much do I love that I'm talking about an overall budget of $80,000 for the entire degree program, including cost of living, as opposed to per year? I just love those little kind of moments when you realize how much less expensive it is here. 

Anyhow, so if — we'll look at this first Amsterdam one. So the total tuition is 25,000 euros. And so, I'm going to take 36,000 euros, which is my tuition budget, subtract 25,000 from it, and my remaining budget is 10,974 euros. By the way, all of these instructions are in the action step. I just want to walk you through it right now before you do it. But don't worry about trying to remember everything I'm doing here. You'll have that yourself. 

So we have the remaining budgets for a few of the — I mean, you'll do it for all of them. I just put it in for a few. And then what we're going to do, is we're going to add that to our housing budget. So the housing budget, if you remember, $40,000, which is 36,000 euros, or 36,054. So we're gonna say 36,054 plus 10,974, my remaining tuition budget, I have an overall housing budget for my entire degree program. And by housing budget, by the way guys, I just mean total cost of living. I should have written cost of living. So I have a total cost of living budget of 47,000 euros. 

Now this is where the length of the program is relevant, because our annual housing budget is based on that. So I have an annual housing budget of 15,676 here at a school that has a tuition of 8,360 because the length is only three years. Now here though, you can see I have a very comparable annual cost of living budget, even though the tuition is so much less here. And that's because that's a four year program. So that really does come into play a lot here. 

So now you have your housing budget. Overall, your annual housing budget, which is based on the length of the program — so you're going to take your total cost of living budget, divide it by the length of the program, and you have your annual housing budget. Now we want it to be monthly just because that's how more things are laid out. And we're going to do it based on a 12 month one for a couple reasons. Often, leases go through the entire summer. Even if you're in the student residences, it's often for a 12 month year. And if you're in an apartment, certainly that's more likely to be a 12 month year. So you're paying for that, even if you come home. And you're not likely to come home for two whole months. People just tend to stay in Europe a little bit more. Maybe that's because they're paying for it, anyway. Anyway, so we're basing it on a 12 month year. And so, we're just going to divide the annual housing by 12 months clearly, and that gives us our monthly cost of living budget that we have. 

Screenshare: Cost of living research on Amsterdam

So now we're going to go through and we're going to look at Amsterdam first. And what we want to do is it doesn't matter so much about the school. Some websites are more comprehensive than others, as you guys have already found out. So we're just going to do a Google search for student cost of living in — insert the city — and see what comes up. So I'll show you how. Okay. Student cost of living in Amsterdam. 

So what you want to do when you do that, is look for a school site. And so, this is the one I had found. You don't want to go to Quora so much or Eurogates. So many of those are not for full time degree students. You know, the cost of living for a semester abroad is different than if you're living there for a year. So definitely look for cost of living stuff on a university website, if you can. That's your first line of business. 

So there's one right here. It doesn't matter what school, but it's the University of Amsterdam. It said expect to spend between 900 and 1,500 euros per month, which includes rent but not tuition fees, and it lays it out here to give you an idea of it. 

Screenshare: Cost of Living Budget Spreadsheet

So what we're going to do on our spreadsheet is go to the correct one, and put the estimate in there. So the estimate is 900 to 1,500. So our 1300 certainly falls in there. It doesn't give us a ton of wiggle room if we like to, I don't know, live a little larger, get your nails done every once in a while or whatever. But you know, it falls in that range, so you're fine. 

So you're going to do that for the various cities. Now, I want to show you the difference. You might think, “Oh, it would be a lot cheaper to live in a non-capital city.” So we look at Utrecht, and even though, you know, it's a reasonable cost of living between 800 and 1,400, our budget is much lower because it's a four year program. So same with Vilnius. It’s a four year program. However, the tuition is so much lower, and it's an incredibly reasonable place to live. So here, you're going to be able to live really large, actually, on a 1,200 Euro budget, when the estimates are between 500 and 800. 

So if all things were equal, this is where gathering this information is good. Because if all things are equal at the end of this course, and you still have this school in Amsterdam and this school in Vilnius on your list, and you just don't know which one to do, and everything else is equal — I mean, the odds of that happening are low, but we're going to pretend that everything else is equal. That's where we're going to start looking at those preferences. We're going to look at the preferences from last week. And perhaps one of your preferences is having a little bit of extra pocket money, so you can travel around more, or you know, whatever. Then Vilnius would have the edge over Amsterdam in that case. 

Now, you can also see, you know, there are certain schools that it's going to not only four year programs in sort of reasonably priced places, but there are more expensive cities sometimes in Europe like Geneva. Switzerland, as a whole, tends to be more expensive, as do capital cities. Eastern Europe is traditionally less expensive than Western. Northern is often more expensive. But again, if it falls within your budget, then you keep it on the list.