9 Ways to Stay on Budget In Washington D.C.

9 Ways to Stay on Budget In Washington D.C.

As many of you know, the District of Columbia is one of the pricier cities in the country. However, this absolutely should not inhibit you from participating in The Washington Center programs! Through the duration of your stay in D.C., this “money” obstacle will not prevent you from having a wonderful experience. Being a senior in college, living on a budget, being adventurous AND being social may seem impossible. I am here to tell you that it is not. After a bit of time in the city, you learn how to cut corners. Here are the first 9 ways to save some serious dough in D.C.


1. Free Museums


Portrait Gallery




Who doesn’t love free? There is nothing better than having a wonderful experience and possibly learning a thing or two, without dipping into your weekly grocery allowance. Hit all of the free attractions first! There are a few attractions in the city that do cost money, but a large majority of these museums are well worth the ten dollars. A classmate of mine recently recommended the “Spy Museum,” conveniently located across from the Portrait Gallery, which is equally impressive.


2. Student Discounts


Building Museum Shown Here is Free!




If you do need to spend some cash, at least pull the student card! Attractions like museums love students, so for those that are not free, be sure to inquire about a student discount. Additionally, these marvelous money savers do not just apply to attractions… technology stores, gyms and some clothing retailers will give you a discount upon production of a college ID card as well.


3. Reward Cards


Image courtesy of Google Images


Similarly, signing up for reward cards for your most frequently shopped places can turn a $100 grocery bill into an $80 one. I have seen it with my own eyes! Whether it be Giant, Harris Teeter, CVS or Safeway, take the five extra minutes and stuff your wallet with reward cards, because they truly are worth the reward.


4. Split Commonly Used Items with Roommates


Image courtesy of Google Images


I am lucky enough to have pretty awesome roommates. So, we share a lot. This being said, we take turns buying commonly used things such as toilet paper, paper towels, clean supplies and lots of avocados. This substantially cuts down on each of our budgets, while also keeping our cabinets and refrigerator tidier. From personal experience, having 3 full gallons of milk takes up enormous amounts of space, so sharing is caring. Care for your fridge, care for your wallet.


5. Shop Outside of the City, If Possible


Image courtesy of Google Images


Having a car makes this next point much easier (although, it is possible to Metro outside of The District). Prices are quite inflated in the city, and the sales tax does not help. If the opportunity arises, do your shopping outside of the city. If you choose Virginia as I do, you can buy wine right there in the grocery stores, with your reward card! Only if you are 21 and older, of course.


6. Split Large Restaurant Bills with Friends


Image courtesy of Google Images




Living in D.C. means you constantly are surrounded by some of the best and most unique food in the country. If you find yourself at a restaurant, splitting large dishes and then the bill is a great way to keep the cost down. Another preventative suggestion would to not order large amounts of alcohol when it is not happy hour.


7. Happy Hour


Image courtesy of Google Images




In Washington D.C., happy hour is the busiest time of the day. Happy hour is not only a fantastic way to save money, but also a great way to meet new people and get to know your coworkers and TWC colleagues. It is also very possible that you will chat with someone who works in your profession.


8. Host Get-Togethers Instead of Going Out


Image courtesy of Google Images


The ultimate way to bond with classmates and save the most amount of money is staying in and hosting a happy hour. Sometimes the bar isn’t the most fun; my fondest memories so far have been laughing and playing cards with my roommates and friends.


9. Get Your Walk On


Image courtesy of Google Images


I am a fitness freak, and I love the outdoors (I am from Florida), therefore I love to walk. Walking can save you around $32+ a week if you can avoid the Metro. If you must take transportation and the Metro will not get you there, Uber Pool or Fair Splitting is the way to go. Not only does this cut down the price, but you can also make a friend or two chatting during your morning drive.


Nicole-approved Happy Hour Spots:

-Impala’s Margarita Monday: $5 Mango Margaritas

-Union Pub (any day of the week is great) on Tuesday: $12 Bud Light Pitchers and $4 Craft Bourbon

-Policy on Wednesday: Half Off Bottles of Wine

-Front Page on Thursday: $2 dollar Coronas and Free Tacos

-Madhatter: $1 Miller Lite Pints and $5 Makers Mark

-Kabin on Friday: Ladies drink free from 10pm to 11pm

Read Nicole's previous blog posts here

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