So many young politicos dream of moving to DC–spending days on the hills, nights on the waterfront, and weekends in Georgetown. But actually picking up your life and relocating to the nation’s capital can be a shock for many people. Whether’s it’s rent, the high employment turnover, or how much it can cost to park your car–there are things that everyone should know before they commit to moving to Washington, D.C. 

To get some insight, I spoke to four young women–all under 30–who live in Washington, D.C. about how they spend, how they save, and their advice for staying afloat here. 

In what general sector/field do you work?

“District government”

“Car sales”

“Legislative affairs”

“Political marketing”

What is your yearly income before taxes–or your salary?


“62,000” (commission based, so there is variance)



How much do you pay in rent and what is your living situation (Studio, share a 1BR with a partner, group home, etc)

“$1000 for a 2 bedroom; my roommate pays $950, and we pay between $100 and $150 in utilities each month”

“$1592 for a 1 bedroom I split with my husband”

“1,100 + utilities a month and I live in a group home”

“Pay 2065 in rent (actually about $1600 with covid specials) for 1 br”

How much do you spend a month on groceries?

“About $275 if you include extra produce/farmer’s market and cat food”

“About $200 because I cook from scratch and my husband eats a lot”



How much do you spend a month on transportation (Car insurance, gas, or metro/uber)

“Usually about $75-100 on metro; about $100 on Uber (in non-pandemic times)”

“I have a car ($200/month payment, $60 on insurance, $100 on gas)”

“Pre COVID? $100”


How much do you spend on going out/eating out/entertainment each month? What is your biggest expense in this area?

“Not counting theatre tickets, which I usually buy outright, I usually spend $100 on entertainment/eating out a month, before the pandemic. This includes AMC A-List subscription, brunch and drinks with friends, etc”

“I’ve cut out eating out but my husband and I will do an occasional date night once or twice a month where we spend $60-100”

“Pre COVID? $200 and definitely grabbing drinks w friends and coworkers”

“$200 eating out for SURE”

What–in general–do you think is more expensive in DC than elsewhere, besides rent, that people should account for?

“Milk! Getting affordable groceries on a regular budget, tbh. And basic things like cosmetics and household items that you have to pay double for at Union Station CVS or something if you’re in a pinch”

“Entertainment. Eating out and happy hours are the biggest source of entertainment IMO”

“Going out to eat”

“In DMV area- property tax on car, car inspections, etc. “

What are your tips for saving money in DC? Any particular shops you like that have good sales?

“I get my groceries delivered because it saves on those uber costs and keeps me from impulse buying! Also love hitting up TJ Maxx. If you love going to the movies, AMC A-List is a great investment. I also highly recommend a metro pass if you commute daily.”

“Cutting back on eating out, not ordering a drink at a happy hour (glass of water with a lemon slice), buying clothes from Target, Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s.”

“Loft has amazing sales for professional clothes. Always split food w/ friends, HH deals ARE AMAZING && don’t be afraid to suggest cheaper options. Usually everyone is feeling their wallet shrink over the month but are too self conscious to say anything.”

“Roommates and Costco”

Do you invest your money?

2 No and 2 Yes

Do you have student loan debt?

2 Yes and 2 No

Do you have a “side hustle”? Please explain

“Yes, I usually work part-time at a theatre, earning a few hundred dollars every two weeks. I also write on the side and that earns me between $200 and $500 a month.”

“I babysit and dog sit when I can”

“I waitressed pre-COVID”

“FFL articles, Redbubble stickers”

In non-pandemic times, do you often work more than 1 job ? AKA, when you filed your taxes last year, did you have multiple W-2s or 1099s?

2 Yes and 2 No

What subscriptions do you pay for? Hulu, Netflix, gyms, etc?

“I pay for Hulu/Disney Plus, Book of the Month, AMC A-List, Apple Care, a Succulent Subscription Box, and usually Yoga. Yoga runs $97 a month for unlimited classes but now I get it for free because I handle some emails for the studio.”

“Gym, business coaching, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime”


“Spotify student, fab fit fun”

Do your parents/family pay for anything? If so, what?

“My family and I share a Netflix account, which they pay for. I am still on my family cell plan but they take the costs out of my account each month, so I’m paying for it.”


“Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon”

“Not anymore“

Do you save money every month? How much?

“Yes, usually about $300-500, depending on how over-eager I am on paying my student loans and how much extra I work!”

“My husband and I try to save $1500/month”

“Try to save at least $200 a month when possible”

“I’m building up my emergency fund, so just leaving stuff in my checking for now “

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member