The siren’s call of New York City can be hard to resist. New York City has it all—Broadway, fashion, grit, and glamour. It’s the city of dreams, really expensive dreams. New York City is the most expensive city to live in in the United States and that can make living like a rockstar seem near impossible. New York City may be expensive, but there are many ways to get around the “little” hurdle of not being a millionaire (or let’s face, a thousandaire). You can live like a rockstar in NYC without going broke with just a little resourcefulness, starting with these tips:
Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have
It may seem like a no brainer, but one of the best ways to stick to a budget and avoid debt is not to spend money you don’t actually have. Stick to that paper money (or debit card) and don’t use credit for everyday expenses. Using a credit card to pay for daily items can end up costing way more in the long run. With interest and the possible late fee here and there, your $8.00 lunch at Papaya King could end up costing you $50.00! One way to make sure you stick to a weekly or monthly budget is pulling out a designated amount of cash and leaving debit and credit cards at home. Pulling out a week’s worth of cash at a time helps create an automatic budget so you know how much you can spend without overextending yourself.
Ditch the Car and Ride the Rails
You really don’t need a car to get around New York City thanks to one of the world’s best subway systems. Using public transportation in New York rather than buying a car, and paying for parking, can save thousands every year. Download a transit app, like New York Subway MTA and Route Planner, to help navigate New York’s complex subway system and you’ll be getting around the city like a pro in no time.
Take Advantage of NYC’s Free Entertainment
Free is always good for the baller on a budget and New York City is one of the best places to be when it comes to free entertainment. New York boasts world class museums, many of which are free or free on certain days, like the Bronx Museum of Art and the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The Metropolitan Museum of Art even offers “pay what you can” pricing. Though they ask for $25.00, the price you pay is up to you. Take a stroll through Central Park or the High Line, a public park built on an old elevated freight rail line. Both parks are free to access and provide beautiful views of the city and great people watching opportunities.
Share the Expense of Living with a Roommate or Two or Three…
New York is notorious for expensive rents and tiny spaces. Upgrade to a larger place without going into debt by getting a roommate, or a few. Find the perfect place by using available online tools, like ForRent, to look for apartments for rent in NYC. Send links of your favorite places to your potential roommates so you can all take a virtual tour on your own time without trying to coordinate your schedules. If you need help finding a roommate (or roommates) try using a roommate matching app, like Symbi. Symbi is exclusively for finding roommates in New York City where you can search for a roommate to find a new place with, an open room to move into, or a roommate to move into your currently open room.
Become a Bargain Master
Furnishing a new apartment can be super expensive, but you can have a rockstar pad on an IKEA budget if you shop smart and take advantage of local bargains. Check out New York’s plethora of flea markets, like the Brooklyn Flea Market at Fort Greene, where you can get one-of-a-kind pieces for great deals, especially if you’re willing to haggle. You can also find great deals on home goods, furniture, clothing, and more at one of New York’s many thrift stores.
Take Advantage of Money Saving Apps
Eating out regularly is a great way to blow through your money and shatter any chance of a rockstar lifestyle, but you can enjoy a nice meal out without wiping out your bank account by taking advantage of money saving apps, like Blackboard Eats. Blackboard Eats is a free subscription service that gives users discounts on popular New York City restaurants. Other money saving apps, like Ibotta, can help you save on groceries, movie tickets, clothing, and makeup. Ibotta gives users cash back on purchases of featured items from over 300 retailers, like H&M, L’Occitane, Sephora, and Duane Reade.
Get a Side Gig
Side jobs are a great way to supplement income and give yourself a little spending cash or help build a nest egg. If you’re at all creative or artistic, consider starting an Etsy shop. Etsy is a popular online marketplace where people can buy or sell handmade goods and vintage items. Setting up a shop is easy and can help bring in extra cash as well as introduce you to a network of artsy people. If arts and crafts aren’t your thing, try being an online survey taker or a website tester.
New York can be an expensive place to live but, with just a little ingenuity, you can enjoy a rockstar lifestyle without living like a pauper. With these tips, you can tame the concrete jungle that is New York City and still have some cash in your pocket.