While unpaid internships may not provide a salary, they typically provide valuable hands-on experience beneficial to one’s career. So, the question is, if one isn’t receiving an income, how does one survive an unpaid internship? Think of the spendings: travel, food, fun, etc. Here are some tips to get the full potential out of your internship without breaking the bank.
Getting to work can be a huge pain, especially if commuting is involved. Taking trains, buses, subways, etc. may seem like pocket change in the beginning, but after a while the little things add up and you have spent nearly your life savings on transportation. If you’re lucky enough to live in the same city as your internship, walking is a great option that minimizes your spendings and maximizes your exercise. If you must take a train/bus/subway to get to your internship, check out student discounts and special packages they may offer; buying monthly passes ends up being more financially efficient than purchasing single tickets daily. My biggest words of advice: Stay away from cabs! Sure, they may seem convenient especially when they’re so easy to hail and much less complicated than having to take the subway/metro, but the price, especially at rush hour, isn’t worth the lack of a headache.
Brown Bag Lunch
Aside from transportation, there are other ways to cut back on your costs. Lunch breaks with your colleagues is obviously a great bonding experience, but eating out everyday adds up way too quickly. While it may require waking up a bit earlier in the morning to make, bringing lunch with you saves a large amount of money, is probably healthier, and may even taste better. So, join your friends; just bring your lunch too.
Monitor Your Expenses
In order to keep track of where your money is going- Write it down! After a long day at work you’ll want to have fun, go out to dinners, have a night on the town, etc, which is perfectly fine as long as you keep track of your spendings!
Although your internship may be unpaid, chances are you will establish great connections, receive an inside perspective to your future trade, possibly attend special events, and have fun while doing it.