Hack Reactor Logistics

Financial planning for Hack Reactor is really important and hopefully I can help you prepare by providing some details about my expenses. As it's only been week 1, I'll make an occasional update on how I'm doing.

I budgeted about USD$25k total for Hack Reactor.

Below are my major (expected) expenses:

  • Tuition: $17,850
  • Rent + utilities for 4 months: <$3,000
  • Internet: $10/month (shared with others)
  • Food: $1,400 ($100/week and then some)
  • SF Move & Holiday Travel: $1,785.74 (EDIT: +$707)
  • Misc: $300

I had a great deal of wiggle room in terms of budgeting just in case something happens.

A few extras to consider:

  • Phone plan
  • Gym

In Detail

TUITION

Can't escape this. If you don't have this saved up, time to ask family, take out a loan, or try to fundraise through GoFundMe and similar sites. Loans suck, but keep in mind that the program is only three months long and you'll likely have a job within two months of graduation (most clamp it down within one, I hear). Thus, you begin repayment quite soon. This will cut down on interest rate accruals.

RENT

I lucked out a lot, not only in finding a place within walking distance, but also good roommates (fellow Hack Reactor students). As of Dec 2014, it is possible to find something for around $800/person as long as you're willing to squeeze.

INTERNET

Splitting with housemates. It's about $50/month total so that comes out to $10 per person.

FOOD

Cooking a fair amount of food myself--lots of boxed mac and cheese (with veggies), breakfast burritos, rice bowls, etc. I've made an effort to try to have at least one home-made meal a day. Costco and Trader Joe's are both ridiculously cheap for staples. Ex. I bought a giant tub of organic baby spinach at Costco for $4. Mind blowing!

SF MOVE & HOLIDAY TRAVEL:

I flew in from Tokyo and am flying back during our week off for Christmas. Then I'm flying to Hong Kong and going back to SF from HK on the same trip. Cross-continental traveling during the holidays is particularly expensive but I have no choice. It would have been more than $2k but I was able to use some of my remaining frequent flyer miles for one of the legs.

EDIT I ended up buying round-trip tickets to Hong Kong for our official solo week. -$707. I guess that was the unforeseen expense.

MISC

Sleeping things, laundry detergent, etc.

PHONE PLAN

I decided not to get a phone plan--we are in class M-Sat so I am rarely away from WiFi. It is a slight inconvenience, mostly in that I can't get an Uber or Lyft if I'm stranded somewhere.

GYM

I was considering joining a cheap gym, but I know I'm a bit of a spoiled princess when it comes to gyms and I will not be pleased with a regular 24 Hour Fitness. My gym in Singapore was expensive and fancy and unless I get something at that level again, I will hate the gym.

Also, I go for a run most mornings (though the weather has been bad lately) and some yoga schools in the area have promos. That'll do.

I think without the phone plan and gym, I'm saving maybe $300-400. I'd rather that money go toward something else.