A Look Into a Normal Month On an Intern’s Pay

by Lexi Smith

Interning in NYC is not the easiest thing in this world. From finding an internship, to housing, and the internship itself, there are many challenges that need to be faced. Even when looking for internships it’s hard to find one that is good for you, and PAID. There is nothing worse than reading the job description of an internship and realizing it’s absolutely perfect for you but reaching the bottom to see the words “NOT PAID.” Then, once you find the perfect internship and get accepted, the pay is usually minimum wage ($15 per hour) to around $20 per hour. In NYC this seems like it can be hard to live on, but it can be done, even comfortably. Here is your guide to living a month on an interns pay.

Weekly Pay: $15/hr = $300
Monthly: $1,700 ($1,200 for work + $500 average for babysitting)


  • The parents help out with this one because i’m still in college.


  • ($170) This always depends. I try to get all of my groceries in spread out, large trips once every two weeks. It’s usually about $80 for my big grocery trips, sometimes more, sometimes less. However I usually end up needing small things here and there throughout the week. Trader Joe’s is the grocery hero in NYC. Most of their groceries are cheaper (much cheaper) than if you were to go to Whole Foods, or Target.


  • ($121) If you are commuting every single day by the subway it only makes sense to get the 30 day unlimited MetroCard. Also, by having this, you have no excuse to go explore the city and travel around freely.




  • ($40) Honestly, I have so much shame in the amount of money I spend on coffee. I wish I could track how much I have spent on it since I moved to NYC. COFFEE IS EXPENSIVE!!

Amazon Prime:

  • ($0) I’m actually still on the free 6 month student account. Highly recommend.


  • ($0) I honestly don’t think I could live without Spotify Premium. Luckily I am on a family plan so this is also not included in my budget.

Eating Out:

  • ($100) I  was very bad at limiting the amount of times I ate out the first couple of months that I moved to the city. However, I have improved and don’t buy coffee or eat out much anymore. I would say I grab lunch or dinner about once or twice a week. My friends and I go to brunch every Sunday which I always plan for, and I know I will have a busy night of homework here and there so I plan for quick Chipotle trip or Postmate order as well. It is important to save in this category because it will help you justify making other purchases that are more necessary than a salad from SweetGreen. *Pro-Tip: I never order from anywhere unless I have free delivery. In the end with delivery and tax it comes out to be equivalent to a second meal!! Usually I can get delivery codes from friends, online, or just sent straight to my email.


  • ($0) I have a gym in my apartment building and it is very nice, but sometimes I just cannot get myself to get on the treadmill for three miles, that’s so boring!! Recently, I have gotten really into Soulcycle. Yes, its expensive, but I’m still living off of free classes that I received from my aunt and uncle for my high school graduation present. My health has become very important to me which is why I will most likely pay for one Soulcycle class a week once I run out of my free classes.

Other Spending:

  • ($100) This leaves a significant amount of my pay for my savings as well as other things that come up throughout the week. For example, I have a comedian friend who was performing at the Broadway Comedy Club this week and the ticket to her show was $25 after tax. I don’t feel guilty spending money on things like this when I save throughout the week on other things. I also love going to museums and exhibits, some of which have a set price, and some of which are donation based. I always feel guilty going and not donating so I always pay the student price ($12-$14). I have been dying to go to The Color Factory and the new Mickey Mouse Exhibit which are about $35 per ticket. Saving money throughout the week helps me afford and justify spending money on these things so I am able to not just live in the city, but explore and see all of it as well.
Total Spent Per Month: $531
Total Not Spent: $1,169 – directly in the savings account for those dreaded student loans.

*Give or take, some months it’s more and some its less. It always depends on the time of year, my travel circumstances, my schedule, etc. Sometimes life just gets the best of you and you end up spending a little more than you wanted in a month. No biggie. Just get back on track and keep grinding. I believe the most important thing is to make sure you are living comfortably with your income. Stressing about your finances is a big strain on one’s mental health and comes in the way of focusing on school work, one’s social life, etc. It is important to budget your time wisely so you have a healthy balance of work, social life, and school (if applicable).


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