I never interned while I was in college.
As a magazine journalism major, I felt most of my internship options were in New York City.
I’m from Chicago and just didn’t feel like giving up a summer living at home, working, and saving the money I earned to move to NYC, pay way too much in rent, and earn not all that much — if anything at all — at my internship.
After graduation, I moved back home for the summer and continued working as a sales associate at Nordstrom until September when I was offered an editorial internship in NYC.
At the time, I had about $US4,000 saved up from working (and a little bit from graduation). I made the decision to accept the offer and use that money to pay for an apartment and getting settled in the city.
This was by no stretch an easy decision. I’m pretty frugal and I find it tough to part with my hard-earned money. But I knew this internship would be my foot in the door to the journalism industry, and I knew I needed the professional experience if I expected to get a job anytime in the near future.
Plus, after going from college to living at home in Chicago suburbia, you could say I was ready to get out of the house and start living on my own.
I found a furnished — and spacious by NYC standards — apartment for a six month sublet in the East Village (about a half an hour walk from my office) for $US1375 per month. It wasn’t cheap but I needed a place ASAP and this was my best option so I decided to go with it.
My apartment was my biggest expense, and after getting settled into that, I tackled smaller expenses like a gym membership and groceries.
Looking back six months later, I can say that I’m really happy I spent the money I did.
My internship has given me great experience.
This is the number one reason why I consider this the best money I’ve ever spent. I’ve genuinely enjoyed my internship and have learned a lot because of it. Having my work published online has given me a huge advantage in terms of finding a job, and working in a newsroom has taught me skills that college can’t teach you.
I’m living on my own and learning to manage my money better.
In the past, I’ve always lived at home or at college — I was fortunate enough to have my parents pay for my education and room and board — so for the most part, I could save or spend my money the way I wanted to. Now I have to watch what I spend more carefully, which is why I downloaded the Mint budgeting app, and I’ve had to stop making some of the “fun” purchases I used to (i.e. clothing) so I can have enough money for necessary purchases, such as groceries and rent.
Spending money for an internship feels better than spending money on “things.”
Do I miss those “fun” purchases I used to be able to make? Yes, I do. But I also know that my internship has done way more for me than a new handbag ever would. And, I know that once I get a full-time job and start earning more money, I’ll be able to build up my savings cushion and still have enough for some “fun” purchases every once in a while — it’s not like I’ll never be able to do that again. I’m proud that I had the money to be able to take the internship I was offered.
Read about the best money successful people ever spent in Business Insider’s Success Series.