Are you preparing to study English in Washington DC? This is a fantastic choice! Not only will you be immersed in the language and the culture, but you will also get to live in one of the most exciting places in the US! However, along with being one of the most exciting places in the US to live, DC also ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the US.
Let’s face it. Studying abroad at language schools in DC means having to spend a little extra money. On top of your school fees and air travel, you will also need to have enough money to live on during your time in the States. Fortunately, there are several ways students can save money while living in DC. Today, let’s take some time to discuss various ways you can save money and still have fun while learning English in DC.
Make a Budget
First things first – you need to make a budget. If you have never made a budget before, this may feel overwhelming. However, having a set budget will help you make sure you have enough money for the necessities ensuring you also have some leftover for fun.
Begin by considering how you currently spend your money. To help you get started, here are the basic budget areas for most individuals:
- Rent (or room and board)
Where does most of your money go? For example, most people spend more money on their rent than anything else. Next, consider the money you must spend. For instance, since you must eat to survive, you should allocate money for food in your budget. After reviewing how you currently spend money, you may discover that you spend a significant amount of money on frivolous things that you will need to cut back on while you are enrolled in English courses in Washington DC.
Look for Discounts and Promotions
Next, it is always a good idea to look for discounts or promotions. Before you head anywhere in DC, check to see if they are offering discounts. For instance, you should look for restaurants offering promotions or sales at the grocery store. Make it your goal never to pay full price while you are studying in the States. This includes everything! For example, the Washington language school, inlingua even offers limited-time discounts or promotions for certain classes, schedules, countries, groups, ages, or times of the year from time-to-time.
Save Money Ahead of Time
One of the wisest things you can do before you begin your English language adventure is save up money. Consider the budget you plan to set for yourself, and then try to save more for all the extras. Studying abroad is all about the experience – you don’t want to be stuck in your room all the time. Try to save some money before you arrive, so you have fun exploring the country once you arrive.
Ways to Save with Accommodations
A major chunk of your money should be allocated for your accommodations. How much you spend on your accommodations will vary significantly based on the type of living quarters and the location. Before you make any decision about housing, you must consider your options.
For example, students attending language schools in Washington DC like inlingua have various accommodation options. Inlingua students can choose from Homestay, where they stay with an American family or find just a room to rent, or live in the Inlingua Residence in DC, which offers options like private apartments or private rooms in shared apartments with fellow students.
Ways to Save on Food Costs
Another significant portion of your funds will go towards food, so it is wise to look for ways to save money in this area. Fortunately, there are several ways you can cut costs when it comes to eating. Check out these ideas:
- Budget for food:Plan a food budget and stick to it. Once you have used up your food budget for the week, it means no more eating out.
- Cook your meals:Instead of eating out constantly, try to cook your own meals in your living quarters as often as possible.
- Shop for groceries wisely:When you arrive in DC, you will discover that food costs vary greatly from one store to the next. Shop at the grocery store offering the best quality for the best price. And, make it a point to use coupons when grocery shopping.
- Things to look for when you eat out:Check the menu online for prices before you eat out. Take home any leftovers for later.
- Happy hour:Take advantage of happy hours around DC which offer significantly cheaper drinks and food.
Ways to Save on Transportation Costs
While the DC Metro system is a wonderful way to get around town, it can add up when you use it frequently. Instead, look for budget-friendly transportation such as biking around the city with either your own bicycle or using the Capital Bikeshare program. Even better, DC is a very walkable city. Not only is walking the healthiest cost, but it is also the cheapest option – it’s free!
Ways to Have Fun Without Going Broke
Finally, you can’t study English in DC without wanting to explore and have some fun. Thankfully, there are tons of free or cheap things to do in DC. For instance, almost all the Smithsonian museums are free to visit, as well as the many historical monuments. Plus, DC hosts several free events with live music, entertainment, and more.
If you study at inlingua, you can also take advantage of the school’s social activities program. These fun planned activities are fantastic ways to practice English in a real-world context, explore DC and get to know your classmates. Speaking of classmates, one of the easiest ways to save money while studying abroad is to befriend other students who likely are also on a budget. With friends, you don’t have to spend much money to have fun.