The Intern Diaries: Living On The Cheap

city_internship_introWeek two at X magazine has commenced, and I’m happy to report that I’ve only had two coffees today and am feeling pretty awake!

Now that the first couple of days are over, I feel a lot more settled – still need some decorations for my cubicle, but definitely know my way around the office and feel more comfortable talking to editors and asking for help. I’ve conducted two interviews and written two tiny pieces (more like blurbs than articles, but hey, you gotta start somewhere!) I’ve even discovered a great lunch restaurant! If you work in midtown east, you must check out the Amish Market on 240 45th street between 2nd and 3rd avenue. Really good sandwiches and salad bars and fresh sushi, which I, for one, can never pass up!

All you critical readers out there (last week I made some people VERY outraged by complaining about my faxing, copying, and general slave labor duties) will be pleased to know that I have been staying away from excess cab rides and mojitos, and instead making my boyfriend pay for me.

JUST KIDDING!

I have definitely been trying to control the cash flow, and I’ve come up with a few tips for my fellow interns out there in cyber space.

1. Take advantage of the company coffee machine, and say adios to the Starbucks lattes. Many offices offer their employee’s free coffee (and water, so you can save money and the environment by staying away from plastic bottles), and you can drink as many cups a day as you want without breaking the bank!

2. Ask your manager if there’s a gym in your building (I know most publishing company buildings have one), and if so, if you can use it. You’ll save tons of money on a gym membership, especially if you’re living in NYC like I am. If you are, you know that all your after dinner drinks, late night pizza runs (hey, it’s the city that never sleeps, right?), and hours spent sedentary in front of the computer screen have the potential to add a few inches to your waistline. In bikini season, that’s bad news.

3. Limit the number of times you eat out a week. My parents are graciously giving me money for food, but if you’re paying for lunch out of your own pocket it can get really expensive. Give yourself two or three “eat out” days a week, and you’ll have more money to spend on dinners and drinks or the occasional weekend getaway. And know what the cash culprits are – anything that gets weighed before you pay (i.e. everything from the Whole Foods hot/cold food bar) is bound to get pretty pricey.

4. See if your transportation provider has a weekly or monthly ticket pass. I’ve discovered that buying the monthly NYC subway pass (for 81 dollars… and get it while it’s hot, because the fee’s about to jump up to $100!) is more cost effective than paying as you go, and it allows you to move through the station more quickly. Many companies will reimburse you for these transportation costs as well, and all you have to do is ask.

Remember that people aren’t always going to throw offers out there (especially in this economic climate), and that it’s up to you to put yourself out there and ask for what you think you deserve. The worst that can happen is that they’ll say no!

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