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Old 06-16-2011, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,540,669 times
Reputation: 3656

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
You may luck out and find it for free if you happen to rent in an HOA. A lot of the communities here are HOA. For example, if you rent any place in Reston you automatically belong to their gyms.
Similarly, a lot of the apartments have a basic gym with a treadmill or two and free weights.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,148,390 times
Reputation: 1225
I have another budget related issue I'm curious about....

I've been talking to some friends in the DC area and it's somewhat possible I could have some relatively cheap rent near a metro station. Now, I was originally planning on using my car most of the time but using the metro to go to Arlington/Alexandria/DC...but it seems that one way metro tickets can get very pricey.

1. Is there a re-loadable metro card of some sort that offers discounts?
2. Should I consider just using my car unless I'm actually going to the district? I understand parking there would negate any savings and would be a huge hassle.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:00 PM
 
857 posts, read 999,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decafdave View Post
I have another budget related issue I'm curious about....

I've been talking to some friends in the DC area and it's somewhat possible I could have some relatively cheap rent near a metro station. Now, I was originally planning on using my car most of the time but using the metro to go to Arlington/Alexandria/DC...but it seems that one way metro tickets can get very pricey.

1. Is there a re-loadable metro card of some sort that offers discounts?
2. Should I consider just using my car unless I'm actually going to the district? I understand parking there would negate any savings and would be a huge hassle.

the only discount programs for metro rail are senior or disabled fares. they used to offer a bus pass but they got rid of that. you'll find that metro around here makes sense on paper, but for the most part it's easier (and many times) less expensive to just drive. also, if you're in the city later at night, metro is not convenient at all.

although parking in DC has gotten "interesting" with the new street parking rules, if you find a garage or go into the city later at night, it's not too bad.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,540,669 times
Reputation: 3656
Metro is only cheaper if you live in an area where it's possible to go completely car free--because then the cost of metro tickets is covered by not needing insurance/maintenance/etc. If you were commuting downtown each day, metro makes sense to avoid paying parking if your office doesn't have a garage. Else, it makes more sense most of the time to drive. Parking is generally free everywhere in NoVA (save places close to the metro), it's faster outside of possibly rush hour, and it gives you more freedom to go non-metro places.

I would keep your car, especially while you're job searching. You don't want to limit yourself to only applying for metro-accessible jobs.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Censorshipville...
2,661 posts, read 6,223,862 times
Reputation: 1543
There is a smart trip pass for metro (Metro - Fares - SmarTrip). You use to get a discount if you added X amount of money. Not sure if you still get that discount as I no longer ride metro on a regular basis.

Also if you're lucky your employer may offer monthly commuting subsidy.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,148,390 times
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Thanks...I certainly wasn't planning on selling my car anyway and it looks like I won't be using Metro too often (at least until I get a job). I know of the Dulles Toll Rd but are there other major tolls that would affect me going to the main areas like Tyson's, Old Town, Ballston, etc?
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,754,405 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decafdave View Post
Thanks...I certainly wasn't planning on selling my car anyway and it looks like I won't be using Metro too often (at least until I get a job). I know of the Dulles Toll Rd but are there other major tolls that would affect me going to the main areas like Tyson's, Old Town, Ballston, etc?
Not really. And you don't have to take the toll road. I've always driven alternate routes and been just fine.
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Manassas, VA
1,559 posts, read 3,163,427 times
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I use the toll road on occasion but not frequently so I'm not sure that I would factor that in too much unless you were planning on living up north in the Reston area.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,148,390 times
Reputation: 1225
Now that I have a good job and have been living here since October, I'd like to follow up and share what was accurate and what wasn't.

I actually didn't try hard to follow the budget when I first moved here in October. From about week 2 until week 6 (when I got the job offer I took), I was averaging about 1.5 interviews a week. So being hopeful, I didn't have the motivation to really pinch my pennies. Of course this could have backfired on me if I never got an offer (I'd probably be only a couple grand from being broke by now).

Anyways, here are some observations of how accurate the budget projection was. It might be useful to others thinking about making a move. I'll try and count only the first 6 weeks that I hadn't accepted a job offer.

Accurate(ish)
-start-up costs
-utilities
-car insurance (actually $81 so I lucked out)

Inaccurate
-rent (I managed to find a group house on Craigs next to a metro station for $400)
-cell phone (it turns out my parents switched carriers before I made the move so no add-a-line 9.99)
-food (it was at least $300 a month, but this was an area that I didn't try too hard to control costs)

Wildly inaccurate
-gas (I averaged about $200, and that was BEFORE i started driving to work everyday)
-furniture (the house I moved into was completely furnished-including my room)
-misc (there have been so many random expenses such as car repair. To be fair, many have not been necessities. But budgeting $100/month would have been more accurate).
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:53 PM
 
7,964 posts, read 18,018,388 times
Reputation: 2582
It's always appreciated when someone with a question checks back in with their results. Congrats on the job!
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