THE BLOG
07/09/2010 12:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Frugal Intern: Traveling and Shopping, Despite a Budget

As HuffPost College's Frugal Intern, I've pledged to live on $100 a week. That does not cover the entire costs of sublet rentals, utilities, cell phone bills, Wi-Fi, health care coverage, daily travel fees, food and debt repayment. Not even close. For young careerists and interns already in the city, rent and utilities (electricity, Wi-Fi, cable, water, heat, etc.) as well as other monthly expenses (cell phone bills, student loan repayments, health care insurance) are expenses that I consider to be "givens." They often cannot be altered easily from week to week and therefore I will address them only occasionally, if at all.

I'm blogging for students and young adults who are experiencing (often for the first time) the perks and the pains of living on their own in this city of eight million people. I want to focus upon the weekly costs that can fluctuate for this crowd of young'uns, which include food (both groceries and dining out), transportation, entertainment, gym fees and other discretionary spending categories. These are the categories that form the bread and butter of most students' and interns' daily expenditures and remain the most malleable aspects of a young person's overall budget in the city.

So without further ado, I'll jump into a roundup of this week's purchases. The total came to $96.23 -- the largest bulk for a round-trip ticket back home to Boston ($30). Here's how the rest breaks down:

$29.07 for groceries from Westside Market (I just moved a few days ago further uptown near Columbia and am discovering the (frugal) joys of the Crooked Tree Creperie (Goat Cheese Crepe for $6) and The Hungarian Pastry Shop (The ruggedly intellectual off-campus hotspot dubbed by New York Magazine to be "a de facto lounge for hyperliterate and uptown writers since JFK was in the White House." Also serves an extra-large slice of delectable Baklava for under four bucks.)

$22.25 for subway tickets for the week. I usually buy the unlimited monthly pass (So, $89/4 weeks for the weekly total) since my workplace is almost a hundred blocks from where I live and I'd have to ride the subway at least five days a week, twice a day. I'll address transportation in full in this post.

$14.91 for Forever 21 shoes. Sandals broke a few days ago and I went to the Union Square branch of Forever 21 to grab new ones. Apparently Forever 21's Time Square location (recently opened on June 25th and attracting seven times more visitors than the Statue of Liberty) is the new It retail location in Manhattan, for now.

$30 for bus ticket to Boston. I spent weekend in Boston with family and friends, but was a little miffed when the bus ticket I purchased (Chinatown's Lucky Star) had promised free Wi-Fi aboard and did not go through with their word. On the bright side, as of July 1st, all Starbucks locations in the US are offering free Wi-Fi to its customers (currently sitting in one while writing this post; the provider's name is "attwifi"). Stay tuned for a following post on getting around New York (and beyond the five boroughs) without breaking the bank, and where to sit with your laptop for free Wi-Fi in this city.

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