BLINQ Saver Profile: Rishon
Rishon moved out to DC to join the BLINQ marketing team in early 2014. This week, we caught up with her to find out how she saves money while living in one of the most expensive cities in the United States. She showed us how she’s saving several thousand dollars a year without sacrificing on the things she truly enjoys.
Q: What’s your favorite money-saving tip?
When I moved to DC, I gave up my biggest, most expensive possession: my car. DC is a small, young city that’s very easy to navigate. I’ve found that since I moved here, I’m much more involved in the “Sharing Economy” than I was back in California. If you haven’t heard of the sharing economy, it’s the system of shared human and physical resources. Why own when you can share?
Something as simple as Spotify fits perfectly into this model. I have friends who argue that paying $10/month for Spotify premium is silly, since I don’t actually “own” the music. While that’s true, what would I do differently with the files if I owned them? The music is just as accessible to me as it is if I purchased the songs on iTunes. The same idea applies to Netflix – you get a bigger bang for your buck by paying a nominal monthly fee to have unlimited access to their library of films and TV shows. Sure, sometimes you have to wait for new seasons to be released, but once that happens, you’re free to binge.
Aside from entertainment – which is not something I need to survive – I use the sharing economy for transportation.
DC offers an adequate metro and bus system, but there are always times when public transportation isn’t going to cut it. To remedy this, I use 2 transportation services that support the sharing economy: Uber and Capital BikeShare – a bicycle sharing program.
In cities where these types of services are available, and if it makes sense for you, I would highly recommend taking advantage of them in lieu of keeping a car or bike. For someone in my age group, with a short commute to work, no children, and an apartment within walking distance to multiple grocery stores and a reliable metro station, I don’t see the point.
Let’s break down how much money my participation in the “Sharing Economy” saves me:
- Monthly cost: $10
- Annual cost: $120
- Cost of music with iTunes: $.99 – 1.29/song, easily $30/month or $360/year
- Annual savings: $240
- Monthly cost: $9
- Annual cost: $108
- Cost of entertainment with cable: $100/month/2 roommates = $50/month or $600/year
- Annual savings: $492
*Note: Next time BLINQ has Google Chromecast available for purchase, I will definitely be buying one to make getting rid of cable even sweeter.
- Monthly cost: $80 (personal average)
- Annual Cost: $960
- Cost of owning a car (assuming the car is paid off as mine was in CA):
- Gas – $40/month, $480/year
- Insurance – $177/month (average for DC), $2124/year
- Annual total: $2604
- Annual Savings: $1,644
- Monthly Cost: $7
- Annual Cost: $84
- Cost of owning a bike: estimated $25/month, $300/year
- Annual Savings: $216
Total annual savings: $2592
Of course, I’m fortunate to live in a young, transient city where there are many opportunities available to use shared services like Uber and Capital BikeShare. Even if you don’t live in a city, a few simple Google searches should lead you to companies you can potentially use to ditch the ownership of costly possessions. The sharing economy is a bit like the library…but for things.