Saving money in New York City

New York Budget

image: Manhattan Chrysler Building New York City (hello_rayman)

Coming in fifth place on the Expatistan’s list of the world’s most expensive cities, New York City (NYC) is no walk in the park if you’re on a tight budget. However, with a bit of knowledge and planning on your part, relocating to the Big Apple does not need to be a major drain on your finances. Here are some insightful tips on how to save money whilst living in NYC.

Move to an affordable neighborhood

It may be tempting to opt for Tribeca or West Village, but NYC has a ton of neighbourhoods to choose from. Broaden your horizons and opt for a less ‘trendy’ option. You may be surprised on how much more value you will get for your money.

Williamsburg and Greenpoint, two safe and up-and-coming neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, are on average $1,000 cheaper per month than most neighbourhoods in Manhattan. Neighbourhoods such as Sunnyville in Queens or Riverdale and Belmont in the Bronx are even better money saving alternatives while still being relatively safe to live in. However, you must always keep in mind the cost of daily commutes, so make sure the neighbourhood is well connected by public transport lines.

Ditch the cabs

Taking a taxi to get from A to B always seems like an attractive option, however, it’s one of the most reckless ways to spend your money. The New York City subway, open 24 hours a day, is one of the best connected subway systems in the world, sometimes getting you to your destination just as quickly as a taxi would, and at a fraction of the price. Make note of how often you would use public transport to see if it’s worth investing in weekly or monthly Metrocards which give you access to both bus and subway lines.

Another cost-effective option would be to cycle. Every year, New York sees more and more cyclists cruising its streets. Also, many neighbourhoods are equipped with bike lanes, just make sure you are familiar with traffic and safety regulations before riding off.

Food and drink

Unfortunately, for those who like to eat out, even an inexpensive meal out in NYC will end up costing you significantly more than if you prepare your food at home. Yet even groceries can end up costing you a fortune if you do not know where to shop for deals. Use coupons that you get with the newspaper or in the mail and always check your local food-stores for any sales. If you are wondering where you can find cheap, high quality, fresh produce you should join your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme.

For non-perishable items, try buying in bulk at wholesalers such as CostCo or Sam’s Club – you must become a member and pay a monthly fee to shop there, but if you make use of it, it should save you plenty of money.

Entertainment and leisure

nyc relocation budget

image: Cinematic New York City (Alex Proimos)

Whether your idea of a good time is a night out on the town, a visit to one of the many museums and cultural sites, or an evening curled up on the couch watching your favourite series or film, there are always ways of reducing that outflow of cash from your bank account.

The great thing about NYC is that there are often things you can do for free : free concerts, free open bars, free exhibitions, outdoor movies, etc. Some museums offer free entry one day a week at certain times and others are always free, so do your research before stepping out of the house. Also, some neighbourhoods are cheaper to go out in than others, so take the party to East Village or Brooklyn and don’t get used to spending your evenings at swanky SoHo locales.

Regarding home entertainment, it would be wise to get Netflix, Hulu or an antenna as opposed to cable television. This could save you $60 per month or more.

If you have any money saving tips for living in NYC let us know in the comments below!

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