What did you buy last weekend? Many people can't remember.
To get a better idea of how millennials are using their money, we’re skipping the survey data and getting straight to the source. We’re challenging young people in the D.C. area to keep a spending log for just one weekend.
The first in this series is Thomas Hutto. He’s a 22-year-old Clark University graduate and recent D.C. transplant who said he's on a tight budget. The Kentucky native moved to the Dupont Circle area in September to start his first job, at a think tank.
“I’m always looking for ways to go out into the city and explore the city on a budget,” he said. “I just moved here, and I want to take advantage of a lot of the things D.C. has to offer."
He often goes to the Smithsonian museums, most of which have free admission.
Thomas said he spends most of his income on rent. On the plus side, he gets many free meals at work and gets a transportation stipend.
Thomas’ favorite purchase from the weekend was a $15 ticket to a Sofar Sounds pop-up concert. His biggest regret? A second piece of Jumbo Slice pepperoni pizza that burned a $7 hole in his pocket.
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Here's what he said he spent:
One Sofar Sounds concert ticket - $15
Ginger beer, bourbon and limes for the concert - $10
The premise behind [the concert] is you apply for a show and the location is announced 24 hours beforehand, and then they let you know if you can join. Each show is BYOB and bring your own food, and you pay $15, which goes to the performance fees and things like that. You never know where you’re going to end up or who’s playing.
One Jumbo Slice pepperoni pizza - $7
The show was in Adams Morgan. My friends were in town and we were walking around and I was like, well if we’re in Adams Morgan you have to have Jumbo Slice. You know, that’s what everyone does after going out: You just get a piece of pizza.
Capital Bikeshare ride from Dupont Circle to the National Mall - $4
So my friends and I, we had planned to do the National Mall, go down and see all the memorials and to do the city bike share. A lot of people do the tour bus and stuff like that, but that’s really restricting and not all that much fun.
Burger from Duke’s Grocery - $15
I got a restaurant recommendation to go to Duke’s Grocery in Dupont Circle, and it apparently has the best burger in D.C. and one of the best burgers in the country. It’s 13 bucks for a burger. We chose not to get a drink there because drinks were $8 a beer, something crazy [like that] and so we just went there for a quick bite to eat. And we all left like, ‘This was the best $13 I’ve ever spent.’
Six-pack of craft beer for rooftop cookout in Chinatown - $8
A lot of people go out for happy hours and things like that, but a group of my friends, we realized that it’s a lot more fun if you just host something at your apartment. So we planned a BBQ get-together [with] all of my university alumni in the area, pretty much. So it was like 10 of us who had all gone to school together. And it also keeps things very affordable.
Uber from Chinatown to U St. - $4
Whiskey ginger and Tecate at the Brixton, plus more Jumbo Slice - $19
From there we decided that we would just Uber up to North Shaw, like U Street, Florida Avenue area, and have a night on the town. When I make the decision to go out, I’ve already made the decision that I’m going to spend some money. If I don’t want to spend money, then I don’t go out, because that just usually means that I’m not going to be having that much fun. I always have it in my mind [that] I’m OK with spending $20 to $30 on a couple drinks or food, and then Ubers and things like that. So I always have number in my head.
Cup of Coffee - $2
Sunday was the free Smithsonian day so [my friends and I] took advantage of the [National Air and Space Museum], the [American Museum of Natural History] and the [Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden]. So other than a cup of coffee, I basically spent the first six hours of Sunday entirely for free, walking around and exploring some of the cool cultural activities that D.C. has to offer.
Ethiopian food at Zenebech -$15
I live just south of Adams Morgan, so every day on my way home from work, I walk past all these — it’s a pretty diverse neighborhood in terms of the businesses there. I had been looking on Yelp, and this Ethiopian restaurant had one of the best reviews in the area, so we decided to go.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.