How I Spent Money as an Engineering Intern

I think finance is something important that needs to be talked about openly. People can learn from each other’s successes and mistakes, and it’s an overall interesting topic. 

My work tends to be pretty open about our finance since most are on the same pay scale. I also like watching Glamour’s Honest Accounts videos and other videos similar to it. 


First half of 2020, I used my savings and cosplay commission fees to support myself. Second half of 2020, I started my internship which gave me a stable income. 

After taxes, retirement plan, and health care, I take home about $1000/month as a part-time engineering intern. I also earn $50-200 per cosplay commission, however due to school I’ve been taking a break. 

While I did pay my mom $500/month to rent my room during the summer when I was working 40hrs, we have currently put a pause on it since I also go to school full-time and don’t make enough to keep paying. Currently, just buy food for the family a few times a month to make up for it.

This is generally what my spending looks like in the last few months.  


Auto & Transportation: 

I spend the most on my car, which is inevitable as my work is 100+ miles away. While I don’t drive there every day when I’m working (telework due to Covid). I still have to drive there at least once a week. As telework starts to decrease, I’ll be looking to rent a room near my work since the 4+hr drive is really taxing on my body.  


Shopping: 

Amazon was one of my biggest merchants. Fast shipping makes it too easy to buy things that are often overpriced. I’m sure I didn’t need most of the items I purchased here, but I’m fortunate to be able to.  

Cosplay is definitely a big part of my spending, so I separate it from the other normal spendings. 

Cosplay making = materials and tools to make cosplay

Cosplay others = items relating to cosplay; wig, made cosplays, etc 

I’ve been doing more smaller scale cosplays at home. However, I keep buying materials for cosplays that I might lose interest or will never do by the time the material arrives from China. Next year’s goal is to clean out all my worn cosplays and make a list of materials that I currently own so I can stop overstocking. I’ve had that goal to clean out my cosplays for a while, but I think I’m more motivated now since my move out date is getting closer.


Entertainment: 

Due to Covid, I’ve spent a lot on entertainment this year. I’ve easily gone over 1k on eBooks since there isn’t much to do at home. I assume in the future when Covid is gone my spending will decrease and I’ll be spending it on outings instead.  


Food & Dining: 

I definitely overspent here since I usually eat out when I’m at work. Most days I have to leave at 5am and just feel too lazy to pack my lunch the night before or in the morning. I also felt like it was more important to get to know my co-workers as a new employee. Now that I have a general idea on who’s who, I’m hoping to change this habit by start bringing lunch most days.   

I’ve also spent quite a lot of money stocking my work pantry and my room snacks. I didn’t set a hard limit on my food purchases since it’s been a while since I had that much money to spend on whatever I want to eat. So bought some stuff I just wanted to try out that I usually wouldn’t.   


Bills & Utilities: 

Most of this is from my cell phone bill. While I love having T-mobile, I’ll be switching to Google Fi next year as they have better coverage nationwide. (My $20 off referral link https://g.co/fi/r/A08U34) The adjustable plan also cheaper than my current plan, so I’m hoping to save some money here. 


For 2021, I’ll have roommates for a while but would eventually like my own space. So that’ll be my biggest short term saving goal.

Didn’t talk about it but I want to limit myself when it comes to investing as I sometimes don’t have enough cash on hand and have to rely on my next paycheck to pay for things.

If possible I would like to continue on this theme in the future to see where I am at when I’m an entry, mid, and sr level engineer. 

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