This isn’t a guide on how to save money while visiting DC (We’ll put one of those together soon!), but a list of a few of the ways we save money while living here! If you happen to live in a low-cost area, you might look at this and think it’s crazy, but it’s important to us to find small ways to save.
1) Pick A Smart Location. One of the things that drew me to DC in the first place was the metro. Despite some of its recent problems, I’m looking forward to a year or two from now when metro is running at its normal capacity again. However, when I first moved here, I realized that living right by metro can raise your rent anywhere from $200-500. I’m not paying that and luckily Winston felt the same way. We live about a 20 minute walk or 5 minute drive from metro, and it actually works out perfectly! We can still easily access bars and restaurants, plus live close to friends, but we’re saving thousands every year.
2) Ignore Certain Trends. I love to eat, but there is a certain meal that I will never get on board with – Brunch. Right now, DC has a huge crush on brunch. I don’t go many weeks without an invitation to eat eggs and drink mimosas, neither of which I would normally have a problem with, but DC restaurants have turned it into a see and be seen event. Instead of a normally-priced meal, restaurants have started doing prix fixe pricing and that usually averages at $25-30 with an optional mimosa or bloody mary add-on for another $10-20. No thank you!
3) Pregame. Even though I’ve given up on brunch, I live in a major city because I like to go out and do things with my friends. This is where pregaming comes in. We already have wine, beer, and usually some whiskey at home. Having a drink at home before you leave can easily save you $12 in this city.
4) Eat At Home. DC has a lot of fantastic restaurants and we do occasionally spend the money to eat at them. Most nights, though, we cook at home and try not to get caught up in eating at the hot new places.
5) Take Advantage of Local Gems. We live in Washington DC! It may have a high cost of living, but it also has free museums and monuments, historical neighborhoods, and plenty of other free activities. The other thing I didn’t even realize when I moved here is that travel can be affordable as well because of DC’s placement on the East Coast. The ocean is 2 hours away. Same with the Shenandoah Mountains. New York City and Philadelphia are only 4 hours away. So much to see!
None of this is going to save more money than living here costs, but it does make it a little easier! Whether you’re in an expensive city by choice or for work, finding a few ways to save might help you enjoy it a little more!