How do you buy things?

I don’t know if anyone is reading this, but if so, I have a question.

How do you pay for recurring expenses that are not tied to a particular project but are still necessary for your work? (“You” being an academic in this case.) Things like phone lines for your lab or pens/paper/staples? I get that these things can come out of start-up, but once that money is gone, it isn’t replenishable. What happens then?

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Author: Happy Balloon

I am a new assistant professor in a STEM field at a research university. If you think you've figured out my actual name (which, sadly, is not Happy Balloon), please refrain from posting it anywhere here. But please do feel free to post all manner of other comments!