Budgeting 101.

Hey guys, it’s Precious here. Lately all of our posts on this blog have been about our exciting adventures here in D.C., but now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. That being, how to budget for your 2 months stay in D.C. First off I will tell you guys how I budgeted, and how that worked out for me.

When I first heard I was selected for the Dale Ride internship I was very exited. It would be the first time I would be staying in a state other than California. That meant a different weather environment, different culture, and a different way of living. Initially due to my naivety I thought the $2,000 scholarship I would receive from the Scholarship Foundation would be enough to sustain me for 2 months. But it was thanks to Wendi DeMorst, Sherri Bradford, Aurelia Rhymer, Janet Tercero, and Jaazer Webster who let me know that the $2,000 would only be able to cover things like transportation, food, and laundry. If I wanted to explore and spend money in D.C. I would have to start saving money on my own.

Transportation:

Aurelia really helped me a lot – being a previous Dale Ride intern she schooled me on what to expect when living in D.C. An important one being that the D.C. Metro tends to be expensive during the hours you will have to get to and from work. To expand on that, the  D.C. Metro has this thing called “peak hours”. That means there are certain hours during the day where the Metro is expensive, and that is the case because of how many people use the Metro to travel to and from work. A typical internship will ask for their interns to work a 9 AM – 6 PM shift. These hours happen to be during the peak hours for the Metro, so you will find yourself paying about $3-$4 dollars for a one way trip. Another thing about the Metro that you should expect is that you pay however far you’ve travelled. The further the trip, the more you pay. This is very different from the bus system in California where you can pay $1.25 and travel as far as you please. I would suggest budgeting the cost of the D.C. Metro in your trip. One thing I bought when I was in California was a pre-paid SmarTrip metro card (a card you need to use in order to ride the metro) so that once I got to D.C. I did not have to spend money buying one and just refill the card when I need to.

Clothing:

As an intern in D.C. you are expected to wear business professional clothing. Some places like the Senate, where I work, expect you to wear business professional attire at all times unless we are in recess then you can wear business casual clothing. I know not many people have many business professional clothing, so I would suggest with every paycheck you get you use some money to buy an outfit. I would try my best to avoid waiting till the last minute to buy all of your clothes as it will be very expensive. If you cannot afford buying business professional attire, there is a Career Closet at SMC which can provide you with clothing that you can use while you are in D.C. Do not expect the Dale Ride program to provide you clothing. That responsibility lies on you.

Dorms/Apartments:

I first want to start off by saying I am so grateful for the Dale Ride program for providing me with free housing. When I talked to my intern friends they told me about how they have to pay for their housing which sucks because we are not paid as interns in D.C. Thank you to the Alumni Relations office, The Scholarship Foundation,the donors, and the Dale Ride program for looking out for me and giving me a place to stay. With that being said, as an intern you will still need to provide the household items you need in order to survive here in D.C. The dorms/apartments come furnished but you will need to get your own pots and pans if you plan on cooking, bedding, and other bathroom items while you are here. When I arrived I went to target and purchased these items at a reasonable price. Be sure to prepare your budget around getting household items once you arrive to D.C. so that you can at the least cook yourself a good meal!

Food:

The scholarship you receive from the Dale Ride program will be able to help you buy groceries for your place, and even purchase a meal or two outside. I would suggest being reasonable with your money – do not constantly go out to restaurants to eat if you know you did not budget that into your trip. Try to purchase groceries so you can avoid doing that; there is a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and CVS nearby so you can buy food and snacks. You will save a lot of money if you plan this way. For the most part I buy groceries and make my own food at home. Rarely do I ever spend money out to eat because it’s cheaper if I prepare my own food at home.

Anyway, these are some of the tips I have for you so you can budget your trip efficiently. A couple of unrelated tips I found out while being here is D.C. is is an early city. Expect most shops to be closed by 9 PM, 10 PM at the latest. On the escalators, especially at the metro stations, walk on the left side and stand on the right side of the escalator. Pack a lot of shorts, sunscreen, and bug spray as the humidity here is unbelievable.

That’s all for now. Until next time. Au revoir!

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