Washington D.C. Real Estate

6 Easy Ways to Save Money While Living in D.C.

If you’re anything like me, you’re always up for saving some money. Living in Washington D.C. isn’t the most affordable, and since many residents are young professionals working for nonprofits or the government, having tricks for saving some cash is necessary. Check out six easy ways to save some money while living in D.C.

 Live in the Suburbs

Silver Spring, Maryland

If 7 Days of Suburbs here at Neighborhoods.com taught us anything, it’s that you can save some coins while still enjoying life near a city. The cost of living just outside of D.C. is almost always better than if you choose to live within city limits. Of course, there are some exceptions, but if you do some research and some math, you’re sure to find a deal in the ’burbs. 

Consider areas like Silver Spring in Maryland, or Arlington in Virginia. The city is still easily accessible from both, while living there is much more affordable than, say, Georgetown or Dupont Circle.

Don’t Use Tolled Express Lanes All the Time

I-95 photo courtesy of Famartin

If you do live in the ’burbs, chances are you’ll be commuting at least part of the way to work each day. If you opt to drive, do yourself a favor and avoid the tolled express lanes on I-495 and I-95. That money can add up fast, and you can just as easily wake up a little early and beat some of the traffic.

Consider Carpooling

Photo courtesy of VA Express Lanes

Carpooling not only helps you save on gas (some folks even earn some extra money this way), there are some perks that come along with it. You can use HOV lanes, which tend to be much faster. You can also take advantage of the E-ZPass Flex option, which allows you to drive in express lanes with at least three people in the vehicle without having to pay those pesky tolls I mentioned. It’s an awesome perk to consider for folks headed to the same neighborhood in D.C.

Go to Free Events

Ukrainian festival photo by Shutterstock

D.C. is full of free events for folks to enjoy. From art installations to community block parties, you can find something to do almost every weekend that won’t cost a dime to get into. If you’re smart and pack snacks for the trip, you won’t even have to spend money on food. The D.C. tourism website has a comprehensive list of events in the area. Filter through for free events, and get a feel for just how awesome the offering is. 

If You Must Go Out for Dinner, Go Where You Can Bring Your Own Wine

Enjoy a great meal and BYOB

I’m not going to tell you not to go out for dinner. Going out for dinner is a fun luxury that, done every so often, is a totally-worth-it use of your money. What isn’t worth your money? Paying for wine by the glass at a restaurant. You can end up spending $15 on a glass of wine that normally costs $20 for the bottle. Do yourself a favor and go to a restaurant that allows you to bring your own wine. Do some research and find a place that doesn’t charge a corking fee either. Thrillist has made life easier for all of us and put together a comprehensive list of BYOB restaurants and their corkage fees. The list is a couple years old though, so double check the restaurant’s website before you go. 

If You Must Buy Coffee in the Morning, Go to the Same Place Each Day

Compass Coffee photo courtesy of Ted Eytan

If you have a buying your morning coffee habit that you just can’t shake, at least try to go to the same place every morning. Most places have stamp cards that afford you a free coffee every 10 drinks or so. Additionally, if you play it smart and go to a small, neighborhood coffee shop where they get to know you, your day will be easier and more efficient when they learn your order. And who knows? They might also throw in a free treat every so often to their favorite customers.

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