It’s rare these days to find a paid internship, especially on the Hill. Cities tend to be much more expensive than suburbs and rural areas and DC is certainly no exception. Today at lunch my co-interns and I were talking about the difficulties we face as unpaid interns living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. I feel very fortunate because I have the Internship Grant provided through Dickinson, but most interns do not have that same support. As the conversation with my co-interns progressed, we began to talk about ways that we all save money and how we survive in D.C. without an income. So, here is a list of “budget bites” for you, or a couple quick tips about how interns can save money, but still have a great time in the nation’s capital without seeing red in your bank account.
1.) D.C. is full of free entertainment, ranging from the Smithsonian to the Monuments to the nature parks in the city and its suburbs. Take advantage of these things, in addition to the free concerts and art shows. Visiting the embassies is also a really unique and FREE thing to do in the city. They often have lecture series, films, and other free events open to the public. D.C. is really special in the sense that you can go through the entire summer without having to spend any money on entertainment (I know I have).
2.) Don’t use uber or lyft, use split. Split is also an alternative taxi service, but they don’t charge the same surge pricing as uber and lyft do at busy times.
3.) Continuing with the transportation theme, use the bus circulator rather than the metro. The metro is expensive (can cost over $3/ ride) and the bus costs $1.00. The savings really add up! Just think, that extra $2 can get you a coffee in the Senate cafeteria or a cupcke at Gerogetown cupcakes!
4.) Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan! The first week I was here I didn’t use a grocery list when I went to the supermarket, and that was quite the rookie mistake. After suffering sticker/ receipt shock, the next week I planned out what I was going to have for dinner each night of the week, made a list, and saved a lot of money.