I live in D.C. and bike everywhere, with almost no exceptions. I generally say that transportation costs me $0 per month. I live within walking distance of my office; my "commute" is, if anything, the one night per week I have class in College Park. It's about 10 miles one-way. I'll take Metro if the weather's absolutely impossible (about once every other month), and that's $3.35 peak/$2.65 off-peak one-way. I keep a SmarTrip with about $30 on it. That said, I ride recreationally, too, so while I've spent a good deal of money in the past year on bikes, tires, tubes, lights, and whatnot, those purchases aren't strictly transportation-related. So it's hard to calculate what, say, a spare tube adds to my monthly transportation costs. I do have a Zipcar membership for emergencies, but I've used it a handful of times in the past two years, notably to move and to drop stuff off at Goodwill. My parents live in the area but I don't go home much. If I do, I take the MARC ($6) or Amtrak ($16) from Union Station (which, one-way, is either $1.75 off-peak to get to by Metro or ~$20 in an Uber; I feel strange taking Uber but sometimes it's the best option if I take a late train back to D.C. given the Red line track work). I had a car, once. I do not have a car now and, hopefully, never will again. TL;DR I spend a lot of money on bikes, but very little on transportation.
@stuffisthings The lack of transit isn't dire! The X2 and 90 buses go there, and the D buses run on K Street NE. It's a 10-block walk from Union Station, but I'm willing to bet a lot of people walk 10 blocks from the Columbia Heights metro to their friend's place in Pleasant Plains. It's also an incredibly easy bike ride (yes, even with the streetcar tracks). Anyway, thanks for this. I used to live at 2112 and saw St. Augustine every time I walked out of the building. I especially appreciate your notation of the origin of the Malcolm X label for Meridian Hill. Since people get so spicy over whether you call it Malcolm X or Meridian Hill, I lobbied hard while I was working at City Paper to refer to it as Angela Davis Park. But no one else was really into that.
Going to school internationally isn't necessarily expensive. Going to school in the U.S. is. I'm in grad school now (University of Maryland's School of Architecture, Planning, Preservation, and Real Estate development [mouthful]—I'm part-time and eligible for in-state tuition, which means it's cheap, which is the No. 1 reason I'm going), but I very seriously considered applying for an urban management master's through one of the myriad English-taught programs in western Europe (University of Copenhagen, TU-Berlin, and University of Amsterdam were on the top of my list), because those countries have their sustainable-transportation shit way more figured out than the U.S. does, and it's way, way, way cheaper, even as an American student, than paying out-of-state or private tuition at an American university. (I still may do this, but that's another topic.) I'd kill to get a dual master's in policy and planning at University of Southern California or a master's in planning from Columbia, but after my parents paid in-state tuition at UMD for my undergraduate degree, I was like, no fucking way am I taking out loans for private or out-of-state tuition. Also, I second the hot-mess reputation of PSU's planning school (though there are some people doing really amazing research there). TL;DR American education sucks/may not be worth it, as has been discussed at length here.
Live in D.C., am licensed to drive, never drive, am probably more smug about all that than I need to be. I did have my car here for a year or so. I was finishing my undergrad degree at University of Maryland and my parents insisted that I keep the car in case of commuting-to-campus-related emergencies. I didn't change my license or registration—I needed to maintain Maryland residency to be eligible for in-state tuition—and was really lucky that there were a few blocks of unzoned parking around where I lived. That saved quite a few dollars. Except I never drove the car. The only reason the battery didn't totally drain is because I had to move the car on street-sweeping days. Now I'm back at UMD for my grad degree and I bike back and forth. It's...fine. But it costs nothing!
@MuffyStJohn I used Beltway Movers. They weren't super-cheap, but they did a good job. I would have paid roughly the same if I hired them for everything as I did the way I did it, but it would've been far less sweaty. And just, like, easier.
I priced it out and hiring movers to move everything would have cost roughly the same amount as the Zipcar rentals and the food/beer I bought people as repayment for their help. But it would've been a hell of a lot easier.