Author Topic: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month  (Read 10286 times)

Gondolin

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Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« on: September 01, 2016, 02:52:13 PM »
Hi all,

My cousin is a new American university grad who has accepted a "paid" internship in the heart of D.C. (Right near metro center). Paid is in quotes because they're paying him $1000/month which translates to a criminally low $6.25 an hour (DC Min wage is $11.50).

The obvious solution is to get a second job but, does anyone see a way to survive on the $1000?

He has a potential room mate so they're looking for a place at $1400 so they can pay $700 apiece.

Given that he'll also have to spend >$100 a month in metro just to get to work, that leaves <$200 a month for everything else.

I don't see a safe way to survive (if they can even find an apartment) but, thought I'd ask the forum for any survival tips.

ketchup

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2016, 03:03:40 PM »
$50/month on rice and beans, as close to $0 on utilities as possible, $100 oh-shit fund.  $0 for anything else.  That's the best I can think of.

Maybe he could get the internship to pay for a metro pass if possible?  And eat food there too (lunch)?

Not a lot of options if $1400/mo for rent for 2 is really the best they can do (I do not know DC at all).

EconDiva

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2016, 03:05:57 PM »
A third roommate and cheaper rent.

mozar

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2016, 04:44:43 PM »
They have no savings? I don't know where they are going to get a two bedroom in DC for 1400. It's more common to see 1 bedrooms for 1700. The better option would be to go it alone and try to find a bedroom in a shared house.
https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/roo/5756955419.html

MsPeacock

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2016, 07:31:02 PM »
That's really tough. I suspect that internships are designed only for people who have other means for support.

More roommates and cheaper rent - like two people per bedroom. Find a side gig as a house sitter?


How long is the internship? How is it an internship if he already graduated? (I'm old. I thought internships were for college credit. ). How can they pay below minimum wage?

expatartist

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2016, 07:36:45 PM »
How can they pay below minimum wage?

Most internships in my field [fine arts] pay nothing at all. It is criminal.

A house-sitting gig is unlikely at his young age.

How long is the internship?

Sounds like he's going to need to get a short-term flexible evening job: waiting tables or working at a bar comes to mind.

pbkmaine

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2016, 08:02:10 PM »
Either that or put two sets of bunk beds in the bedroom, have 3 roommates and call it a dorm.

Gondolin

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2016, 09:28:56 PM »
Quote
How long is the internship?

As long as he wants? I think a friend from college set him up with this gig. Really, my cousin screwed himself by not doing any internships while in school so his resume is REALLY weak compared to many of his peers.

Quote
Most internships in my field [fine arts] pay nothing at all. It is criminal.

Since many employers expect you have a bachelors + at least 2-3 internship stints to be a competitive candidate, there is now a huge "internship" industry where non-STEM businesses and non-profits drain billions of dollars worth of unpaid/sub-min wage labor out of college students who are desperate to get some professional experience on their resume. It's the typical race to the bottom that afflicts all of higher education.

Quote
Sounds like he's going to need to get a short-term flexible evening job: waiting tables or working at a bar comes to mind.

This is what I told his mom - who didn't seem to grasp that her son's "employer" was located in the DC equivalent of Times Square.

Thanks for all the feedback folks! I knew this was going to be a impossible tough one (c'mon optimism gun!!!). My cousin set himself to struggle after college and is now reaping the reward.

oldtoyota

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2016, 09:29:38 PM »
Negotiate for the internship not to be FT and then get a job as a bartender or waiter.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2016, 09:39:28 PM »
Bar tending and serving can pay quite well in DC but the flip side is that it's not easy to just stroll into a decent gig without experience or without knowing someone.

OP, your cousin is in a bad situation if he doesn't have access to savings or very cheap credit. Living on 1k a month in DC, if possible without government assistance, would be very stressful. I spent 18k total the first year I moved here in 2004 for grad school but I had an incredibly good deal on rent that I'm not sure even exists around here anymore (perhaps unless you're willing to spend an insane amount of time commuting). As others have said, you're lucky if that covers rent for a 1 BR these days.

kitkat

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2016, 09:50:07 PM »
Oh man, I had a friend in this situation. Her impression was that the reason they got away with doing this to so many people is that the majority of them have hefty accounts at the Bank of Mommy and Daddy...

Second job is really the only option. Bartend, drive uber, do anything....

Nick_Miller

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2016, 06:26:57 AM »
Does he have ANY savings? Even $6000 ($500 extra/month for a year) would provide much needed breathing room.

How much time does he have to make the move? How long has he known about the offer? Is he being proactive?

What is his job status? I would encourage he avoid taking on debt by ANY means possible.


erae

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2016, 06:53:22 AM »
I signed up for a similar internship in my college days - grossly underpaid but great experience. A friend from the same university was working in DC that summer, too. We worked our networks to find a guy with a 2-bedroom apartment in Northern Virginia whose roomate was away for the summer. He was open to having two people sublet the second bedroom, so we brought an air matress to DC and took turns in the real and infaltable beds. I worked 40 hours/week at my internship and then picked up a weekend gig at Starbucks to cover expenses. It's do-able, though in the fall there may be fewer bedrooms available for subletting. You'd probably be looking for a bedroom available due to a roomate traveling abroad

mskyle

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2016, 06:56:24 AM »
Can he share a bedroom, not just an apartment? I've known Americorps volunteers and other recent grads on similarly-small stipends to do that. Not fun and doesn't feel "grown up", but spending 70% of your income on rent is a recipe for disaster.

Case

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2016, 07:20:11 AM »
Hi all,

My cousin is a new American university grad who has accepted a "paid" internship in the heart of D.C. (Right near metro center). Paid is in quotes because they're paying him $1000/month which translates to a criminally low $6.25 an hour (DC Min wage is $11.50).

The obvious solution is to get a second job but, does anyone see a way to survive on the $1000?

He has a potential room mate so they're looking for a place at $1400 so they can pay $700 apiece.

Given that he'll also have to spend >$100 a month in metro just to get to work, that leaves <$200 a month for everything else.

I don't see a safe way to survive (if they can even find an apartment) but, thought I'd ask the forum for any survival tips.

Just curious, is it really criminal?  Are student interns always required to be paid minimum wage?  A brief google search indicated 'not always', but obviously I haven't searched this in depth.

Interns often don't bring much value to a company, and sometimes are even more of a burden to the person responsible to them.  Sometimes companies use internships as recruiting tools (e.g. a trial period), in which sense they eventually capture value by finding a good employee, or getting rid of crappy ones. 

Either way, the most valuable payment the intern receives is not the money they make but in the training and networking they receive.  If your cousin can't afford DC, he might consider looking for a higher paying job, or a side job.

Taking an internship after graduating is a little unusual; usually it happens during the summers before graduating.  If, for example, the company blurring the lines between new hires and interns in order to save them money, that is dicey indeed.  So I guess I'm curious if this is a "paid" internship or a paid "internship", if you get what I mean.

mskyle

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2016, 08:58:00 AM »
Hi all,

My cousin is a new American university grad who has accepted a "paid" internship in the heart of D.C. (Right near metro center). Paid is in quotes because they're paying him $1000/month which translates to a criminally low $6.25 an hour (DC Min wage is $11.50).

The obvious solution is to get a second job but, does anyone see a way to survive on the $1000?

He has a potential room mate so they're looking for a place at $1400 so they can pay $700 apiece.

Given that he'll also have to spend >$100 a month in metro just to get to work, that leaves <$200 a month for everything else.

I don't see a safe way to survive (if they can even find an apartment) but, thought I'd ask the forum for any survival tips.

Just curious, is it really criminal?  Are student interns always required to be paid minimum wage?  A brief google search indicated 'not always', but obviously I haven't searched this in depth.

Interns often don't bring much value to a company, and sometimes are even more of a burden to the person responsible to them.  Sometimes companies use internships as recruiting tools (e.g. a trial period), in which sense they eventually capture value by finding a good employee, or getting rid of crappy ones. 

Either way, the most valuable payment the intern receives is not the money they make but in the training and networking they receive.  If your cousin can't afford DC, he might consider looking for a higher paying job, or a side job.

Taking an internship after graduating is a little unusual; usually it happens during the summers before graduating.  If, for example, the company blurring the lines between new hires and interns in order to save them money, that is dicey indeed.  So I guess I'm curious if this is a "paid" internship or a paid "internship", if you get what I mean.

Given that the cousin isn't actually a student this can't really be a legal student internship. I guess it could be a "fellowship" or something else internship-adjacent (especially if it's at a non-profit - if this is at a for-profit company it's probably illegal).

MsPeacock

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2016, 09:07:59 AM »
I am still head scratching over how this, post-graduate, non-academic job can legally pay less than minimum wage. I get if an intern somehow earns college credit for an internship experience and that is unpaid or very low paid (although I disagree with this system). But I really don't understand how this particular situation, as I see it to be described, is legal.


So glad that this wasn't the norm when I got my college education. I would have been SOL because I had to,work full time at menial,jobs to pay my rent, tuition, and living expenses. I would never have been able to take an unpaid full time position   

I am feeling rather pissed now because I have a teenage son and the thought of having to support him while he works at a job that doesn't pay him in order for him to get an actual,job. This is how it works now? A college grad can't get an actual paying job until they indenture themselves as unpaid labor for a couple years?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 09:11:51 AM by MsPeacock »

Enigma

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2016, 09:20:43 AM »
I would do a room-share in that situation.  Also there is a ton of potential to get his foot in the door with better paid gigs.  Especially after having a little experience under his belt.  DC is a great place to start a career albeit a hard place to start a career.  If he shows a lot of potential there could be the opportunities to go from intern position to actually paid salary position.

It sounds like his friend is just trying to get his foot in the door.  Also his friend will probably be instrumental in the start of his career.

(He is young enough, will be fine and just struggle for a year or two)

Nick_Miller

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2016, 09:29:17 AM »
Hi all,

My cousin is a new American university grad who has accepted a "paid" internship in the heart of D.C. (Right near metro center). Paid is in quotes because they're paying him $1000/month which translates to a criminally low $6.25 an hour (DC Min wage is $11.50).

The obvious solution is to get a second job but, does anyone see a way to survive on the $1000?

He has a potential room mate so they're looking for a place at $1400 so they can pay $700 apiece.

Given that he'll also have to spend >$100 a month in metro just to get to work, that leaves <$200 a month for everything else.

I don't see a safe way to survive (if they can even find an apartment) but, thought I'd ask the forum for any survival tips.

Just curious, is it really criminal?  Are student interns always required to be paid minimum wage?  A brief google search indicated 'not always', but obviously I haven't searched this in depth.

Interns often don't bring much value to a company, and sometimes are even more of a burden to the person responsible to them.  Sometimes companies use internships as recruiting tools (e.g. a trial period), in which sense they eventually capture value by finding a good employee, or getting rid of crappy ones. 

Either way, the most valuable payment the intern receives is not the money they make but in the training and networking they receive.  If your cousin can't afford DC, he might consider looking for a higher paying job, or a side job.

Taking an internship after graduating is a little unusual; usually it happens during the summers before graduating.  If, for example, the company blurring the lines between new hires and interns in order to save them money, that is dicey indeed.  So I guess I'm curious if this is a "paid" internship or a paid "internship", if you get what I mean.

Yeah the whole line of "job versus intern" can essentially be boiled down to this question: "Who benefits the most from the arrangement?" If the answer is the "intern/employee," then yes might be classified as an internship. If the employer benefits the most, however, such as when the employer gives the "intern" grunt work that adds value for the company but doesn't really teach the intern anything, then it's likely illegal.

Milkshake

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2016, 09:40:39 AM »
When getting hired anymore, experience is king in almost every field. Even if you have pretty good grades, good luck competing against the person who has 3 internships (ie 9 months+ experience) even if they have a lower GPA. I would rather get paid close to nothing to know that I can tell a future employer "Hey, I've already done that thing that you will have to train all these other kids to do."

College credit or not, paid or not, it doesn't matter. You've already done it for real, and that's valuable. Obviously getting paid is much better than not, but some fields have less funding to go around. That's a life choice I guess.

Good luck to your cousin in D.C. though. That sounds tough.

mozar

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2016, 10:20:48 AM »
I think the cousin is doing great. People don't realize how hard it has gotten. In my previous post i put in a craigslist ad for a room for 700. They exist.

kitkat

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2016, 01:30:50 PM »
I am still head scratching over how this, post-graduate, non-academic job can legally pay less than minimum wage. I get if an intern somehow earns college credit for an internship experience and that is unpaid or very low paid (although I disagree with this system). But I really don't understand how this particular situation, as I see it to be described, is legal.


So glad that this wasn't the norm when I got my college education. I would have been SOL because I had to,work full time at menial,jobs to pay my rent, tuition, and living expenses. I would never have been able to take an unpaid full time position   

I am feeling rather pissed now because I have a teenage son and the thought of having to support him while he works at a job that doesn't pay him in order for him to get an actual,job. This is how it works now? A college grad can't get an actual paying job until they indenture themselves as unpaid labor for a couple years?

Tell your son to get a degree in engineering :)

Seriously, my first summer internship paid $20 an hour. I spent most of my time doing online summer classes because they didn't have much work for me. I was super useless, and getting suuuper paaaid.

This is definitely more of a DC/government/non-profit issue, I believe. Like if you're going into Public Health or something like that and want policy experience, good luck actually getting paid.

mskyle

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2016, 01:45:42 PM »
I think the cousin is doing great. People don't realize how hard it has gotten. In my previous post i put in a craigslist ad for a room for 700. They exist.

I don't think any of us are saying the cousin is doing anything wrong, just that he's in a tight spot finances-wise and that this might not be workable. $700 a month for rent is really dangerous on a $1000 a month salary. One late paycheck, x-ray, or lost wallet has the potential to destroy a budget like that. If he can find someone to share that $700 a month room, then he's in better shape but still on the edge.

Even if this "internship" is shady it could work out well for him and/or be his best option for eventually working in this field. Financially he might be better off looking for a better-paying job (not hard, given that he's being paid below minimum wage) outside of his field and/or in a lower cost of living area, but eh, money isn't everything. I guess.

TFTF

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2016, 08:58:05 PM »
Capital Bikeshare is a fantastic system and costs $28/month - a savings of $72/month over metro fare. https://www.capitalbikeshare.com/pricing

muckety_muck

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2016, 02:51:37 AM »
Dogsitting/dog-watching and possibly house watching for people who are on vacation. Amazing amounts of money to be made in the DC area off of these two things. People are busy and with commute times, happy hours, etc... they need help with their dogs/plants/etc. I would stay away from babysitting as a male college graduate though, just too much liability...

What is his degree in?

Are there any relatives he can stay with for a few months, just to get established? How long does he plan to be in this "job?"

What are his job prospects if he transfers somewhere else, will he have paid moving expenses to LA, etc.. or is it a DC-only type job (politics?)


Gondolin

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2016, 04:23:06 PM »
Quote
Dogsitting/dog-watching and possibly house watching for people who are on vacation. Amazing amounts of money to be made in the DC area off of these two things.

Absolutely. My gf and I do this and I'm always amazed that people will pay us $200 to sleep in their bed, water 3 plants and open a can of food for their obese cat once a day.

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What is his degree in?
Literature and History, I believe.

Quote
Does he have ANY savings? Even $6000 ($500 extra/month for a year) would provide much needed breathing room.
I'm not sure. I believe he has "some" but I don't know how much.

Quote
How much time does he have to make the move? How long has he known about the offer? Is he being proactive?
He moved down here last week. At least, we can to the city with his dad but, the apartment he was looking to rent was a scam so now he's crashing on a friend's couch while he looks for a place to live.

Quote
Just curious, is it really criminal?  Are student interns always required to be paid minimum wage?
He's not a student. The firm he's going to work for looks like it has ~10 employees so they probably won't worry about things like "HR". It's a political advocacy / campaign management firm focused on the state level so definitely something that only exists in DC.

Quote
I am feeling rather pissed now because I have a teenage son and the thought of having to support him while he works at a job that doesn't pay him in order for him to get an actual,job. This is how it works now? A college grad can't get an actual paying job until they indenture themselves as unpaid labor for a couple years?

If you son is in any STEM field, no. He will scoff at the concept of unpaid jobs. If he majors in something liberal arts and can't score a gig at a bank or consultancy...he'll be lucky to find something minimum way. My family supported my Psych major sister through 2 summers of unpaid internships and almost a year of minimum wage "internships" after she graduated before she finally scored a salaried job.

Quote
Thinking outside the box, you live in NOVA, why don't you let him stay with you rent free and then commute in to dc on the metro?
A good idea. Unfortunately, I live near the Dulles airport which is 15 min by car to the nearest metro station (Weihle-Reston). I also rent a room in a shared house whose other occupants would look poorly on a long term guest.

Thanks again for all the ideas - I'll definitely pass some along. He'll make it work somehow.

BlueHouse

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2016, 05:05:19 PM »
DC has very strong local networks through blogs and list serves.  Tell your nephew to write a short (5 sentences) blurb describing himself and his desire for a house-sitting gig or an inexpensive room within easy travel distance to his work. Have him send this blurb to everyone he will be working with and ask them to post in on their private neighborhood list serves.  It is amazing the lengths people will go to help someone else if they are within two or three degrees of separation.   

Also agree with group houses and shared rooms.  At your cousin's age, I'm sure he'll also want to go out at night and socialize/have fun/spend money.  Find the cheapest (but safe) way possible to sleep and do most of the living somewhere else. 

AMandM

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2016, 09:49:17 PM »
If he can find a house share, he can definitely get his rent down. He might try looking near one of the universities where there are lots of shared houses (though he presumably would want to avoid party houses).  GWU, AU, UDC, Gallaudet, and CUA are all near metro stations that don't require a transfer to Metro Center.  UMD in College Park does require a transfer, but I live near there and I've seen houses that hold 4-5 people rent for $1600.

MrsPete

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2016, 10:55:48 AM »
Housing
- House sitting sounds like a great choice -- if he can get it
- How about renting a room from an individual instead of going with an apartment?  If he's a member of a church, a pastor might point him in the direction of a family who'd welcome a boarder.
- Look into a homeless shelter; does he have access to a locker and shower at work or a gym?

Food
- Hope for work lunches, snacks available at work
- Look for political /cultural evening events that serve snacks

Realistically, I think a second job is in his future.

No, I don't think this is the new normal.  My daughter just finished college and hasn't gone through anything similar. 



Bicycle_B

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2016, 06:21:00 PM »
Apply for public benefits where applicable?

Forum member Scrubbyfish wrote a book on how to do finances wisely starting from a poverty situation.
http://www.amazon.com/Rising-Strategies-Broke-At-Risk-Those/dp/151874043X

One of her several strategies is to research the benefits that are available and use them. 

Fwiw, building momentum by doing such an internship is not crazy IMHO for a person whose degree is not an automatic track into high dollar jobs.  The consequence of such a major in our society though is that the next few years are a period when lots of work is required to progress, though.  It's just like graduate school:  a period of 70 hour effort for uncertain returns is normal these days.  Networking, constantly exploring options, constantly learning and refining skills will be needed just like any profession.  Since the person is not an engineer or what have you, the first few months or years of this just will be at low pay.  If they keep at it, the low pay won't last forever.  That's what it looks like to me anyway.  Good luck to them!!

PS.  I once rented a room to an AmeriCorps volunteer.  So he was making, basically, minimum wage.  He kept cooking potatoes with a side of peanut stew.  A few years later with his income still below average, he had saved enough to join two friends in building by hand a beautiful house in the woods, paid for and held jointly on three even shares, in cash savings with no debt.  Success is possible without starting at a high pay rate.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 06:35:01 PM by Bicycle_B »

Bicycle_B

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2016, 06:30:29 PM »
PS.  It sounds like your cousin has chosen the high risk high reward strategy of going to center of all American things public interest, the DC area, and breaking into the potentially prosperous field of paid public service.  So they're experiencing the early bottleneck of competition with many other idealists who didn't pick an engineering-style degree.  They have a good chance of getting somewhere eventually, it's just not easy at first.  In effect, they're still going through the investment phase of starting their career. 

Unlike a doctorate in medieval studies searching for a tenure track university position, your cousin's odds are decent in the long run.  There are lots of jobs in public service available over time as experience builds up, it seems to me. 

Maybe they will end up learning where the free food is for now though. 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 06:32:00 PM by Bicycle_B »

arctic_alpine

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2016, 10:03:10 PM »
I did this 2007-2008. Rents have gone up some, mine was 600. He'll most likely need to share a room, or work a second job. Don't take metro, take buses, there may still be weekly bus passes. Better yet, commute on an older or used bike. Cook all your meals, meal plan before you shop. No new clothes, no cable, no subscriptions, get the cheapest phone plan you can.
I'd still urge a second job.
On the plus side, DC has free museums, lovely parks, good running and biking trails, it's easy to usher to see plays, etc

clarkfan1979

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2016, 12:40:38 AM »
I got a job offer in DC in 2011. One bedroom (garden level) apartments were running 1800/month.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2016, 08:13:42 AM »
Where is the $1400 apartment for two? If it's anywhere near the internship, there's no need to take Metro(rail). A bike plus $1.75 bus rides, or a $16 weekly bus pass should suffice.

As a recent AU grad, hopefully he knows current students that can swipe him into the dining hall for occasional meals. Or he could hang around campus for free food events. Former professors can be a good network for picking up occasional work like housesitting or childcare.

Other side gig ideas: sign up as a dogsitter or dogwalker on rover.com, work for taskrabbit or instacart, bartender/server.

StarBright

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2016, 08:28:27 AM »
When my DH was a grad student he received a "stipend" for a summer fellowship in DC.

He and another fellowship student actually rented a place in Baltimore and took the MARC to DC every day for the summer. They bought discounted monthly tickets through Student Advantage. My DH loved it! They found a cheap rental near Hopkins, took the Charm City Circulator (free) to Bmores Penn Station and had time to read on they way there and back.

A third student stayed with family in NoVa and it took her longer to get into town than it took my DH.

AMandM

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2016, 06:37:20 PM »
Your cousin is probably eligible for Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps).  He should check dhs.dc.gov.  I believe he can apply for both with one application.

Enigma

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2016, 07:04:04 AM »
Well I didnt think about it before but he should also qualify for DC Housing Assistance.  dchousing.org
A lot of newer apts in DC have to approve a certain amount of individuals on the assistance programs.

patrickza

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2016, 03:28:28 AM »
What about a van and a gym membership?

cawiau

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Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2016, 04:40:35 AM »
Her impression was that the reason they got away with doing this to so many people is that the majority of them have hefty accounts at the Bank of Mommy and Daddy...

That is the case of for a vast majority of interns in DC that get paid nothing or close to nothing.

Mommy/Daddy are picking up the tab. And they keep on not paying them because so many parents are able/willing to do so for their kids to get the experience and make the right connections.


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BlueHouse

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #39 on: September 10, 2016, 03:07:01 PM »
Quote
Well I didnt think about it before but he should also qualify for DC Housing Assistance.  dchousing.org
A lot of newer apts in DC have to approve a certain amount of individuals on the assistance programs.
Quote
Apply for public benefits where applicable?

Forum member Scrubbyfish wrote a book on how to do finances wisely starting from a poverty situation.
Quote
Your cousin is probably eligible for Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps).  He should check dhs.dc.gov.  I believe he can apply for both with one application.
Holy crap.  No, no, and NO!  Public benefits, assistance, and housing are for people who are in poverty NOT by choice.  A college graduate who decides to accept a low-paying job because he will make fantastic connections (and he will), is not the same as being poor. 
I know a lot of mustachios see nothing wrong with gaming the rules of the system to get as much out of it as possible, but approaching this from just a practical angle, DC housing applications are CLOSED.  Closed.  You cannot even apply for housing benefits anymore because there are already over 30,000 families on the waiting list.  I think the suggestion to request any sort of public assistance that is meant for the poverty stricken or the homeless is nothing short of criminal.  At the very least, it is cringe-worthy. 

If your cousin wants to live in a cool area close to work, then he needs to make major sacrifices to do so.  The other alternative is to live in Fairfax, rent a basement in an immigrant's family home (as my cousin did under similar circumstances last year for under $500/month) and commute in.  He can live on a slug line and commute for free if needed or he can get a second job. 



Roland of Gilead

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #40 on: September 10, 2016, 03:32:30 PM »
Man, the software industry interns make a hell of a lot more than $1000 a month.  I didn't know it was so bad in the other fields.

I guess DC is not a good place for living out of your car/van?

seattlecyclone

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #41 on: September 10, 2016, 04:27:26 PM »
Quote
Well I didnt think about it before but he should also qualify for DC Housing Assistance.  dchousing.org
A lot of newer apts in DC have to approve a certain amount of individuals on the assistance programs.
Quote
Apply for public benefits where applicable?

Forum member Scrubbyfish wrote a book on how to do finances wisely starting from a poverty situation.
Quote
Your cousin is probably eligible for Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps).  He should check dhs.dc.gov.  I believe he can apply for both with one application.
Holy crap.  No, no, and NO!  Public benefits, assistance, and housing are for people who are in poverty NOT by choice.  A college graduate who decides to accept a low-paying job because he will make fantastic connections (and he will), is not the same as being poor. 
I know a lot of mustachios see nothing wrong with gaming the rules of the system to get as much out of it as possible, but approaching this from just a practical angle, DC housing applications are CLOSED.  Closed.  You cannot even apply for housing benefits anymore because there are already over 30,000 families on the waiting list.  I think the suggestion to request any sort of public assistance that is meant for the poverty stricken or the homeless is nothing short of criminal.  At the very least, it is cringe-worthy. 

How is someone with no job experience and no savings working for $6/hr in a major city not poverty stricken, or somehow "choosing" to be impoverished? Food stamps are intended for exactly this type of person: low-wage workers who can't afford nutritious food without the help. Nowhere does the SNAP program require a person to work two jobs before seeing if they're low income enough, nor should it. It doesn't require that a person work the highest-paid low-skill job they can possibly find rather than an internship that could lead to a good career, nor should it.

BlueHouse

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2016, 07:47:51 PM »
Quote
Well I didnt think about it before but he should also qualify for DC Housing Assistance.  dchousing.org
A lot of newer apts in DC have to approve a certain amount of individuals on the assistance programs.
Quote
Apply for public benefits where applicable?

Forum member Scrubbyfish wrote a book on how to do finances wisely starting from a poverty situation.
Quote
Your cousin is probably eligible for Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps).  He should check dhs.dc.gov.  I believe he can apply for both with one application.
Holy crap.  No, no, and NO!  Public benefits, assistance, and housing are for people who are in poverty NOT by choice.  A college graduate who decides to accept a low-paying job because he will make fantastic connections (and he will), is not the same as being poor. 
I know a lot of mustachios see nothing wrong with gaming the rules of the system to get as much out of it as possible, but approaching this from just a practical angle, DC housing applications are CLOSED.  Closed.  You cannot even apply for housing benefits anymore because there are already over 30,000 families on the waiting list.  I think the suggestion to request any sort of public assistance that is meant for the poverty stricken or the homeless is nothing short of criminal.  At the very least, it is cringe-worthy. 

How is someone with no job experience and no savings working for $6/hr in a major city not poverty stricken, or somehow "choosing" to be impoverished? Food stamps are intended for exactly this type of person: low-wage workers who can't afford nutritious food without the help. Nowhere does the SNAP program require a person to work two jobs before seeing if they're low income enough, nor should it. It doesn't require that a person work the highest-paid low-skill job they can possibly find rather than an internship that could lead to a good career, nor should it.
I am going to have a difficult time explaining this if you really believe that this is an okay use of resources.  I do not believe so, because it is by choice.  Good, high-paid jobs are not hard to come by in DC for anybody with any college credits who is willing to work.  This college graduate is choosing an internship because he sees more opportunity in the future.   SNAP benefits are actually not that easy to get.  While $1000/month just barely meets the requirement, the intern would also have to have VERY limited assets (less than $2250 in countable assets including any type of bank account).     

This is just absolutely ridiculous to discuss the requirements of the program when it's clear that this person is perfectly capable of supporting himself by working a real job or with the assistance of family.  Why on earth would you even argue this case when there are so many people with children who are genuinely in need of these resources.  You are absolutely entitled to your opinion on this matter, and I am entitled to believe that this is manipulation of the system.  As such, I find even the suggestion of it reprehensible.   

seattlecyclone

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2016, 09:17:34 PM »
I am going to have a difficult time explaining this if you really believe that this is an okay use of resources.  I do not believe so, because it is by choice.  Good, high-paid jobs are not hard to come by in DC for anybody with any college credits who is willing to work.

Citation needed. Why on earth would you take a very low-paying internship if a salaried position with benefits was easily available? That makes no sense.

Quote
This college graduate is choosing an internship because he sees more opportunity in the future.

Yes. This individual clearly believes that this internship is the most plausible path toward a decent career. Great! But for the moment he's earning practically nothing at that internship. Why would you deny a little temporary help to someone who needs it while working hard to better himself while giving permanent help to those who have little plausible path upwards? That makes little sense.

Quote
SNAP benefits are actually not that easy to get.  While $1000/month just barely meets the requirement, the intern would also have to have VERY limited assets (less than $2250 in countable assets including any type of bank account).

Indeed. The program expects you to spend down any savings before applying, but if he does qualify, I say he should not feel ashamed to take the help until the (hopefully very soon) time where he qualifies for a job where he earns too much for SNAP.

BlueHouse

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2016, 10:27:12 PM »
Seattlecyclone, I don't know whether you are taking a stand for people who truly need assistance or whether you think that this case is worthy of assistance. If the former, there is no disagreement. If the latter, and if this is a privileged college graduate with family (including relatives close by) who can help, then this is a judgement call. this kid has many options, including not living in the middle of a very HCOLA. public assistance, housing, and other welfare benefits should really be reserved for those in need. It does not sound as if this kid is in need. If he is, then let's hear it from the op. But if he is not, and you would still suggest that he take benefits that are intended for the needy, then your priorities are not in line with the thinking of the general public in America. At this point, I think you are simply arguing for an abstract which doesn't seem to apply in this case.
I suspect the OPs cousin would not want to accept benefits that are clearly intended for the less fortunate if he is in any position to do so and with his education, and the labor market in DC I highly doubt he's in a poverty situation.

As for your argument, every college student takes reduced or no income while in school because they see more opportunity on the other side, yet public assistance is not available to students except in rare instances such as head of household, etc.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #45 on: September 11, 2016, 11:15:36 AM »
To be crystal clear, I'm arguing that this exact person should absolutely avail himself of any means-tested welfare benefits for which he qualifies, without any guilt whatsoever, until he manages to land a job that pays well enough where he would not need the benefits anymore.

You seem to be arguing that he's not "needy" so long as he could theoretically do any of the following:
  • get a better-paying job (likely in something like foodservice that has little ability for advancement) instead of an internship in his field of study,
  • crash on his cousin's couch,
  • live in a different metro area, or
  • ???

I'm not sure what sort of process there would be to apply for these benefits in your world, but it's not a world in which I would like to live.

druth

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #46 on: September 11, 2016, 04:53:19 PM »
I lived on $700 a month doing an unpaid DC internship.  This was 5 years ago, so prices may be up a bit, but I wouldn't think that much.

I lived in Hyattsville, MD.  I had a private bedroom in a house with 4 other people.  Basic college student place.  Rent was $390/month.  This was a 15 min walk to the metro with a total commute time of about an hour one way.  I got a lot of reading done, which was actually great.  Hyattsville was a great place to live, it was sketch but not TOO sketch, lots of college students willing to cram themselves into a living space to save money.  I don't know the area that well, but it seemed like my place was where people who were too poor to live in College Park lived.

Metro passes were free through the gov't.  If your friend is getting paid that little I have to assume they are working for the fed also, otherwise it would be illegal.  Make sure they ask about if they are getting their metro pass paid for.  We actually got transit paid in these weird little paper passes that you could sell for maybe 80% of face value.  You could just buy a bike of CL and sell it back and consider the transit passes additional compensation.  A warning though that DC ocassionally gets "You will literally die" hot, so maybe keep some passes for yourself....

Not much more location specific advice I can give.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 09:27:33 PM by druth »

aspiringnomad

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #47 on: September 11, 2016, 07:09:55 PM »
Seattlecyclone, I don't know whether you are taking a stand for people who truly need assistance or whether you think that this case is worthy of assistance. If the former, there is no disagreement. If the latter, and if this is a privileged college graduate with family (including relatives close by) who can help, then this is a judgement call. this kid has many options, including not living in the middle of a very HCOLA. public assistance, housing, and other welfare benefits should really be reserved for those in need. It does not sound as if this kid is in need. If he is, then let's hear it from the op. But if he is not, and you would still suggest that he take benefits that are intended for the needy, then your priorities are not in line with the thinking of the general public in America. At this point, I think you are simply arguing for an abstract which doesn't seem to apply in this case.
I suspect the OPs cousin would not want to accept benefits that are clearly intended for the less fortunate if he is in any position to do so and with his education, and the labor market in DC I highly doubt he's in a poverty situation.

As for your argument, every college student takes reduced or no income while in school because they see more opportunity on the other side, yet public assistance is not available to students except in rare instances such as head of household, etc.

I'm 100% with seattlecyclone on this. These benefits are generally not set aside for people you think fit the bill of someone worthy of their use. They are set aside for people who meet the means test, full stop.

And yes, there is a massive wait list for public housing in DC. But some of the surrounding suburban jurisdictions provide tax credits to landlords who offer reduced rent to people who earn under a certain percent of area AMI. In those cases, tenants can check on availability with the leasing office of those buildings. I know someone who rented through such a program in Silver Spring. Maybe something for him to look into.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #48 on: September 11, 2016, 08:07:35 PM »
Seattlecyclone, I don't know whether you are taking a stand for people who truly need assistance or whether you think that this case is worthy of assistance. If the former, there is no disagreement. If the latter, and if this is a privileged college graduate with family (including relatives close by) who can help, then this is a judgement call. this kid has many options, including not living in the middle of a very HCOLA. public assistance, housing, and other welfare benefits should really be reserved for those in need. It does not sound as if this kid is in need. If he is, then let's hear it from the op. But if he is not, and you would still suggest that he take benefits that are intended for the needy, then your priorities are not in line with the thinking of the general public in America. At this point, I think you are simply arguing for an abstract which doesn't seem to apply in this case.
I suspect the OPs cousin would not want to accept benefits that are clearly intended for the less fortunate if he is in any position to do so and with his education, and the labor market in DC I highly doubt he's in a poverty situation.

As for your argument, every college student takes reduced or no income while in school because they see more opportunity on the other side, yet public assistance is not available to students except in rare instances such as head of household, etc.

With your logic, nobody should ever qualify for any assistance because they can make other choices. I think this is a good use of assistance because he is trying to better himself by taking a valuable internship.

MsPeacock

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Re: Thought experiment: Survive in DC on $1000/month
« Reply #49 on: September 11, 2016, 08:38:47 PM »
Rather than worrying about if he should get benefits I  feel outrage that an employer can pay someone less than minimum wage.  I don't care how great the connections or experience is - all employment offers "experience."  If getting experience is a reason to pay an illegal wage, every employer could argue that they offer "experience" and "connections" to their employees. It's exploitive and wrong.

I realize none of this related to the OP and the issue of housing. General recommendation would be to live further away near metro stop or bus route, and have multiple house mates.

I need to stop reading this thread because it gets me pissed off every time I think about it. >:(