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How to Save Money While Living in New York City

The cost of living here can have even the most frugal people wondering how to save money when living in New York City.

Manhattan is the most expensive place to live in the US, with Brooklyn not far behind. When you factor in the cost of groceries, insurance, and the lifestyle that comes with living here, costs can seem completely impossible to manage. Follow these tips to plan your spending wisely and make living in the city work for you, no matter what your income is.

Create a Budget

One of the most important steps in saving up cash is knowing where you’re spending your money and knowing what your limitations are for spending on particular items. Budgets are not restrictions but rather controls. They set a limit for spending and help you understand where your money is going. For this reason, be honest about how much everything really costs you and how you can make it workout for yourself financially. It all comes down to making a plan and sticking with that plan.

Do Not Burden Yourself with Expensive Housing

Housing in New York City can be difficult for most people to afford. However, if you pay more than 30% of your income for housing, you are considered cost burdened. If you live somewhere where you can get that number down to the low 20’s, you’ll have so much more money to actually enjoy the wonderful city you live in. Don’t spend all of your time at work to afford an apartment you can’t even enjoy. There are so many fantastic and affordable neighborhoods in all boroughs, including Queens, The Bronx, and Brooklyn. A few extra stops on the subway can save you tons of money.

Live With a Roommate

Rent rates in the city make it nearly essential to live with a roommate. There are so many people with lifestyles of all kinds around the city. Try to meet a roommate who lives a similar lifestyle as you and is on the same page as far as expectations for a roommate. Thankfully, there are many great websites that help you meet roommates in the city.

Don’t Use a Broker If You Have the Time

Most brokers in the New York City will charge a fee of 15% of the annual rent for finding an apartment. While this might save a lot of time for people who are busy, this might not be the best option for everyone. After all, the 15% fee costs almost as much as 2 months of rent. So in theory, when finding an apartment through a broker, people have to pay 14 months of rent to stay for 12 months. This can certainly add up over the years.

Shop Wisely

Whether you like visiting brick-and-mortar stores or do all of your shopping online, shop wisely. Take advantage of discounts and be sure to buy in bulk. Never pay full retail for cleaning, kitchen or bathroom supplies. When it comes to groceries, explore which neighborhoods have the best deals. It may be worth a cab fare or subway ride with grocery bags, especially if your neighborhood’s grocery options are limited.

Eat at Home Before Venturing Out

This one is huge. Never ever leave your apartment hungry. If you’re going out into the city for whatever reason and don’t eat beforehand, odds are you will get hungry at some point. If you’re able to pass on the smaller $5-10 meals and plan ahead, you’ll have more of a budget to enjoy some of the finer cuisine of the city. It’s not about sacrificing dining out, it’s about planning for it.

Surround Yourself with Frugal People

Be sure to surround yourself with people who understand the necessity of spending wisely when living in New York City. Most people trying to make it here understand the necessity to keep things cheap sometimes. Thankfully, there are so many fantastic, free things to do in New York City. Find friends who are able to make small, everyday adventures a fun time.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Let’s face it – many New York City residents come from wealth and receive financial aid through either family or inheritance. Many people in the city live luxurious, spendy lifestyles that simply aren’t feasible for most of us. It’s important not to compare yourself to other people, especially financially. You never know what someone else’s financial situation really is, so don’t judge yourself (or them) too harshly. Most of all, don’t try to live a lifestyle that is out of your means.

Hire Professional Movers

Sometimes, the best way to save money is to save time and mitigate risk by hiring professional movers. Don’t risk damaging your precious belongings with the help of fantastic, yet non-professional friends. Spend your time worrying about setting up your budget, job and social life, and leave the heavy lifting for us. We have a 5-star ranking on Yelp because we know what it takes to move successfully in the city. Get a quote today to see how affordable and reasonable our rates are.

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