Before I get to the topic at hand, I wanted to call attention to Stephen’s excellent post on Navigating VC waters as a first-year MBA.  If you are looking to transition into venture capital with no prior experience in that industry, then Stephen is an excellent person to talk to.  He managed to secure an internship with a VC firm in Houston through some crazy diligence.

I finally had time to update my finances to see how much I spent during my first year at Kellogg (August - June), and it was a lot. During that time I spent (drum roll please)…..

<div align="center"><table border="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr align="center"> <th align="left" width="65">Total</th> <td width="40">~$35,000</td> </tr><tr align="center" bgcolor="#9bf9bd"> <th style="text-align: left;">Bills</th> <td>40%</td> </tr><tr align="center"> <th align="left">Food</th><td>13%</td></tr><tr align="center" bgcolor="#9bf9bd"> <th align="left">Misc</th><td>46%</td></tr></tbody> </table></div>
The Kellogg website estimates first year non-tuition expenses to be $27,000, so I definitely overshot that by a lot.  Bills includes rent, utilities, phone, etc; Food is self explanatory; Misc is everything else, including books, supplies, etc.  Here are a couple of additional points about my expenses.
<ol><li>I’m living alone, so that means that I took on all of the costs of furnishing my apartment.  I tried to minimize this by buying as few things as possible, but it still adds up.</li><li>Since I’m interning in Dallas, I had to cover the rent for 2 apartments in June and buy a bunch of duplicate stuff down here. </li><li>I bought a lot of my meals at local restaurants, and when I did buy groceries (mainly during the 2nd and 3rd quarters) they were from Whole Foods, which is very convenient if you don’t have a car but also pretty pricey.  There are definitely things that you can do to save money on food: use Amazon Subscribe-and-Save for any non-perishables that you buy on a regular basis, brew your own coffee, bring meals to Kellogg when you have to stay there all day, not live close to Bennison’s Bakery….</li><li>I did not go on GIM, which would have added on something like $5K, but I did go on KWEST and the Ski Trip.  I also traveled a few times to Austin and vacationed in Mexico during Spring Break. Again, this adds up (especially the taxi fare to the airport - $52 to Midway and ~$34 to O’Hare each way).</li><li>I didn’t go out very often to clubs or bars, which can be expensive in Chicago/Evanston.</li></ol>Hopefully this gives you another touch point regarding how much grad school will cost, but please don’t let it in any way discourage you from attending if it makes sense for you. If anything, just realize that you should start saving money the moment you decide to attend grad school, if you aren’t doing so already.  In my opinion, cost should only be one factor in the decision, because there are so many awesome benefits that you can also get out of the experience that are hard to quantify (like having an unlimited supply of free peanut M&Ms in your office during your summer internship).<p>