Summer internships are a great way to gain experience in the field before graduation, but I think we can all agree that they aren't so easy on the wallet. Unless you somehow managed to land an internship that pays super well (like super well), here are some quick, money-saving tips to stretch your budget as far as possible this summer.
1. Skip the Starbucks
My work day starts at 5:30 AM. I am on the train at 6:40 and I arrive at my office to actually start work at 8:40. Yep, you heard me right. That's almost a 3-hour commute. I am a zombie until I get my morning coffee. But, Starbucks costs $4-5 a cup, which adds up to about $20-$25 a week if you get just one coffee every morning. That's a lot of money. Instead of making the daily stop at Starbucks (or whatever coffee shop you use), instead, try making your coffee at home or brewing a cup of that good ole office coffee. Sure, there aren't as many flavor options as Starbucks, but you'll save yourself about $25 every week and still get your morning caffeine kick.
2. Throw all your loose change in a jar
I am one of those people who receives change from a transaction and immediately tosses it into the dark abyss that is my purse. And then I forget about it. Save yourself the hassle of a clutter purse (or pockets) by bringing a plastic baggie and throwing all your change in there. When you get home, you can put it in a jar and at the end of the summer add up how much money you saved by actually keeping the change.
3. Walk when possible
This one is mostly for people working in the city. The subway is super convenient for getting to Chelsea from Grand Central Terminal. But if your workplace is close to where you live or where you get off the train, consider saving yourself the money and the hassle of navigating the subway by walking. You'll get your daily step count in, see n
If you do have to commute, try to arrange a carpool schedule with your coworkers (if they live nearby). You can even ride to work with your parents if their job is near yours. Gas is expensive, and you may find yourself paying more and more as the summer goes on for just getting back and forth from work. If you and your coworkers each take turns driving, it lessens your carbon footprint and the stress on your wallet. The earth and your bank account will thank you.
5. Forgo living in the city
I already mentioned my hellish commute. You probably are asking yourself who in their right mind would willingly take an internship that requires 5+ hours of traveling a day. Especially in a city, can't I just find some friends to sublet an apartment with? Well, yeah, I probably could. But I would spend close to $1,000 on rent for a month if I'm lucky. Commuting can be a bitch, but it does save you money in the long run, especially if you're looking at housing in a big city like New York. Suck up the early hours for the next 10 weeks and save the $3,000 you would have spent on rent. You'll thank me later.
6. Skip the summer gym membership
One of the best things about summer is nice weather! Do you know what you can do when the weather is nice? Work out outside! Gym memberships are around $10 a month, and a lot of universities have on-campus gyms available to students during the semester. Save your $30 and your gas money by lacing up your sneakers and going for a jog on your road or around the block. Invest in some weights and you can do almost all the arm, core and leg workouts you'd be doing in the gym (you don't even need to buy weights — just find a solid rock or do push-ups).
7. Keep yourself honest
I tend to operate under the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy. That's why using my debit card is so dangerous — I don't have to look at the sad balance that is my bank account if I don't want to. If you're someone like me who finds themselves spending way too much money and not knowing where any of it goes, try to journal it. Write down the date, description of the transaction, how much was spent or earned and how much total you have left in your account. Writing it down will not only help you keep track of where your money goes, but it will also help stop some bad spending habits when you see how much really goes into that daily coffee (25 dollars!!!).