Here’s a peek into my money diary, which outlines what and how much I spent in one week in Washington D.C.
I set a loose goal of $20 for groceries for a week. The Residential Academic Facility (RAF) is walking distance from several groceries stores – Giant, Whole Foods, and Harris Teeter, just to name a few – and that actually helps me tremendously on staying within my budget. I tend to spend less money on groceries if I just only pick up essential items whenever I run out.
The illustration I did lists all the items I bought this particular week – ranging from perishable goods, to fresh fruits and vegetables, to breakfast essentials, to apartment items. This week, I spent roughly $22 on groceries; however, I typically spend less than $20 on a week’s worth of groceries, so I meal prep around cheaper food items – rice and eggs are two staples I eat at least a few times a week!
I don’t eat out too often, but it’s still nice to treat myself to brunch or coffee once in a while, especially when I have friends visiting. Restaurants in D.C. are pricey, so Yelp has become my best friend. I like to look at the restaurants' menu beforehand, to give myself an idea of the price range and places with 4 stars or more have yet to disappoint me. This week, I checked out three local coffee bars, and all three were incredible. In total, I spent around $22 on coffee, dinner, and boba.
D.C. is typically known for its free museums, and I have for been taking advantage of all of them. However, it’s still fun to occasionally go watch a movie, see a play, go out to bars, or go to a concert. I typically budget for one entertainment activity each week that is not free.
There are numerous music venues in the District, and this week I decided to check out U Street Music Hall where Vinyl Theatre, The Stolen, and Vesperteen were playing! The ticket was $15, and it was totally worth it. It was such a fun experience jamming with my friend from Kentucky and enjoying the diverse music options you can find in D.C..
Uber, Lyft, buses, and the Metro all cost money, and that’s something I easily forget. This week, I put $10 in my metro card and spent $5 on two Lyft/Uber rides for the concert I attended. To minimize my spending, I typically walk to and from work! It’s a good way to catch up on daily news via podcasts, get my steps in, and save an average of $5 a day!
It may not seem like a lot, but I’ve saved over $200 in the past two months by walking instead to taking public transportation to work! It’s also a great way to be environmentally friendly.
As an intern and student who is fully financially independent, it’s very important to set budget goals and attain them. This week, I spent roughly about $72 on groceries, entertainment, eating out, and transportation! Washington D.C. is not a cheap city; however, with some planning, there are many ways to thoroughly enjoy your time here while you stay within your budget!