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Greg_Colbourn comments on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Khorton 04 June 2018 10:07:37PM 7 points [-]

"is £25/week enough for phone, laptop, clothes, travel, entertainment, and all other non-food-or-housing expenditure" No, but that's probably okay. I have a friend who received a similarly stipend during an internship and supplemented it with savings.

I'd expect people to want to travel occasionally for personal reasons (eg home for Christmas) and need to occasionally pay for new phones or laptops (several hundred pounds, once every couple years). They might also find something like Spotify Premium, Netflix, or Headspace useful. The point is, £25 a week is unrealistic for a middle class Brit, but again, I think it's fine to expect people to freelance or use savings for these extra expenses.

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 05 June 2018 10:50:26PM *  1 point [-]

I did factor in a £200 flight home once a year and mid-price phone contracts and laptops (just realised that the budget spreadsheet wasn't visible with the link before; it should be now). Netflix premium (£9.99/month) allows 4 simultaneous streams, so perhaps there could be one or two hotel accounts (I'm hoping to keep the hotel TV-free though, so there are no actual TVs). Doesn't look like Spotify has anything equivalent (but really, there is Soundcloud; and pretty much any music you can think of is on YouTube, and there are ways to play it ad free and in the background from a phone). But yes, I do expect that some people will want some over-budget luxuries, which they will hopefully be able to otherwise pay for.

Although of course it would be somewhat problematic if someone was spending a lot of their own money on extra luxuries (say they were spending an additional £5k/year. As mentioned in the OP with the digital nomad example, the cost-effectiveness of their funding would effectively be halved).

Comment author: Khorton 06 June 2018 12:57:48PM *  1 point [-]

I've just looked over the budget (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bTwMRAD4TQjvHZ0eRCsN4uFdN5Se4zdcP1ikFOKj6-4/edit?usp=sharing). I really like how thorough and detailed it is. I am concerned that it may be overly optimistic, though - I'm sure other expenses will come up. For example, here are some things I use regularly that I don't see money set aside for:

-Tampons

-Medications (prescription or not)

-Razors

-Moisturizer/lotion

-Sunblock

-Contact lenses and solution

-Stationery

-Haircuts

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 07 June 2018 02:38:26PM *  3 points [-]

You're right; I have increased the "Misc/Other" category to £200/year, and added an item for "Pharmacy" (£5/month)*. This ups the stipend to £30/week (increasing baseline costs 5% to ~£5700/person/year [EDIT 06 July 2018: have updated the OP to reflect this]). If in practice people are consistently running out of money covering their basic expenses it can be reviewed. I do want to try and keep the baseline costs as low as possible though, rather than have a higher amount to cover things that not everyone will need. However, as mentioned in the OP, it makes sense to have some kind of hardship/emergency fund (as well as a "career progression" fund for attending events). These would probably be means tested to some degree though.

*I have got a stock of basic things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, sunblock, sunglasses, eye masks, ear plugs, combs, nail scissors, pain killers, tampons, hay fever tablets, paper and pens etc.