New York City life might be a dream come true, but it can also be substantially pricey. For example, Newsweek writer Janice Williams revealed that Manhattan area real estate hit a new record high midway through 2017, with the average apartment selling for $2.19 million. Meanwhile, food, transit, childcare, clothing and other expenses can easily take up the rest of your monthly take-home pay. Cost-cutting can present a challenge, but with a few useful tips, you can live frugally in the Big Apple.
Get Creative With Apartment Living
It’s no secret that leasing a flat is notoriously expensive in New York City, with its average asking rent eating up around 65 percent of median incomes. How do you ease this kind of squeeze and minimize its bite out of your budget? Frugal Frolicker recommends selecting an affordable neighborhood that’s still safe. Some examples their experts listed include:
- Far uptown Manhattan, particularly above 125th street
- The eastern half of its Upper East Side
- The Astoria district of Queens
- Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Prospect Heights areas
You can also save some Benjamins by leasing a larger space and splitting the bill with roommates. Finally, you’ll skip paying expensive broker fees by scouting around for “no-fee” apartments available for rent directly from their landlords.
Look for Low-Cost Alternatives
For all the superbly expensive entertainment and food options in New York City, plenty of cheaper alternatives exist. Business Insider’s Anisa Purbasari shared some of her own money-saving hacks, such as attending fitness groups on Meetup, and searching online for “free events in New York City” can return a plethora of results. She also suggests considering the opportunity costs of the money you spend. For instance, what cheaper things can you do with the same $50 that you might drop on a night out, or $15 in cab fare?
Repurposing and Discounts Are Your Friends
In her Business Insider piece, Purbasari divulged that she learned to think about ways in which to repurpose items or make them multifunctional. That includes keeping old plastic resealable containers, shoe boxes and even jars for alternative household uses. She also advises readers to check out discount stores and consider buying in bulk, but be wary of shipping costs that could eat up your savings.
Yes, You Can Have a Car in New York
Most New Yorkers rely on public transit to get from point A to point B. Parking garage fees can range between $300 and $700 a month. Moreover, traffic can be a nightmare, and anecdotal evidence suggests that city maintenance on many streets can sometimes be sporadic at best.
Nevertheless, Jalopnik contributor Kristen Lee explains that owning a vehicle in New York is still doable. For-pay garages sometimes have lower monthly rates during the spring and summer, and apps such as SpotHero, BestParking and ParkWhiz help you scout out the cheapest available possibilities. Lee also recommends buying an annual parking pass upfront to sidestep rate fluctuations during the year. Consider getting your gas outside the main city, as New Jersey stations have cheaper fill-up prices than within the five boroughs. Finally, don’t forget to shop smart and compare rates when it comes to buying local insurance for your auto.
Living inexpensively in the Big Apple may be more difficult than in other parts of the country, but it isn’t impossible. To pull it off, you need to integrate smart cost-slashing strategies into your daily life. Look for lower-cost living solutions, take advantage of free or cheap entertainment and maximize your dollars with discount shopping and repurposed goods. Finally, drivers should snag up yearly parking passes, fill up their tanks in ‘Jersey and become picky shoppers when it comes to car insurance. These and other tips will help you survive and thrive in New York City.