My stipend is not the world’s highest, in fact it was one of the lowest I was offered when I was applying to grad schools. Still, it is enough for a grad student to live on–if that grad student is single.
Of course I started grad school with the intention that my husband’s investment activities (and our savings) could make up the shortfall between my income and what we needed to live on. But now we’re getting divorced; we’re at the point where the papers have been filed but none of the assets have been divvied up yet. And all of the investment accounts etc. are in his name, completely under his control.
My sisters gave me some money when I left but this was all spent on things like furniture, linens, kitchen items, and so forth. (I brought some stuff with me, but UnlikelyDad still has probably 97% of our material possessions.)
This makes things a little hard for me.
If I had to support just myself on my salary I would not have a problem. But even though my boys live with their dad most of the time, they do come over and visit sometimes; thus, I have to have a 2-bedroom apartment rather than a 1-bedroom or studio. And I can’t have a roommate. I have to buy food for when the boys visit. (4 boys, 3 of whom are teens!)
Basically, what it comes down to is this: I make exactly enough money to scrape through the month. But if I need to buy anything other than necessities, it has to come out of savings. Savings which are non-existent right now. So if, say, the CV axle on my car breaks…or I have to pay my lawyer or the mediator…or, better yet, if I have to do all three of these things within a 2-week span…I am screwed.
Hello, credit cards. You are my friends. And boy, do I ever hope that we can get the assets divvied (and my fair share IN MY BANK ACCOUNT) soon.
Moral of the story: If you’re a single mom going into grad school, make sure you have at least some savings. The more the better. Because your stipend probably won’t be enough, in and of itself.