NYC Budget Survival

Maybe it is the New Year Resolutions talking, but we’ve heard a lot of chatter lately about making the move to New York and all the nervousness/excitement that goes along with that. One of the biggest questions we get is whether or not anyone can actually afford New York.

Honestly, we’re still trying to figure that out for ourselves!

The biggest thing about living in New York is also making a commitment to live within your means. This may mean giving up daily Starbucks for free office coffee and tea. Or, doing your grocery shopping on Fresh Direct or at Trader Joe’s instead of the convenience store or Whole Foods. With a little thought and planning, anyone can make NYC work for their budget.

We’ve included some basics here…

First things first, RENT – Make sure you can ACTUALLY afford the place you sleep in. Your rent should be about 1/3 of your yearly income, so think almost your entire second paycheck for the month will most likely go to rent on the first. DO NOT try to swing more than that

TRANSPORTATION – While jumping into a cab can seem easy and oh-so-New-York, I have come to hate cabs. I do not want to know how much money in my 9 years in the city I have spent on cabs, because I am almost certain it is tens of thousands of dollars. Be smart when you want to get somewhere. Give yourself enough time to take the bus or subway. Even if the weather is bad, sometimes subways are faster than non-four-wheel-drive or non-english-speaking cabs

EATING OUT – Save your Seamless money. While ordering in is, again, convenient, you will most likely spend at least  $15 on a meal when you could have easily thrown together something at home for under $5. Save up that Seamless cash for a fun, fancy meal with your friends or significant other

EATING IN – Hands down, cheapest place to grocery shop in this city is Trader Joe’s. But sometimes, the location is inconvenient or the produce is a little sketchy (I hate to admit it). For fresh food, the best places to go are farmers markets or Whole Foods. For all around one-stop shop, use Fresh Direct. The home-delivery service is cheap and convenient. Prices are much lower than what you’ll find at your local Gristedes or Food Emporium around the block

THE HOT SPOTS – Avoid falling into the trap of “I NEED TO BE THERE NOW” when it comes to restaurants/clubs/lounges in the city. Most likely, ESPECIALLY in PR, you will be invited to an event at that location within the next year or so, and you won’t need to pay to get in/drop hundreds of dollars at dinner. If it’s a super secret location that you know would be a super special experience, save up and splurge on it with someone else you know would enjoy

FITNESS – Another trap I fell into when I moved to New York was the high-priced gym. There is no need to spend upwards of $120 – $150 each month on fitness in the city. There are now multiple Planet Fitness and Blink locations that serve memberships at a fraction of the cost. I also love fitness classes, but I was recently introduced to Classtivity and I can tell you I will NEVER pay full price for a ultra-hip spin class again. During the summers, I always run in the park (so much nicer than a treadmill). Adrianna and I are currently enjoying Tone it Up Youtube vids in our living rooms. Equinox, you can eat it

BEAUTY – Every NYC girl and guy does need to pamper herself/himself. For necessary facials or spa treatments, I always use Lifebooker to get an appointment at half the price. For haircuts, it’s best to follow a recommendation from a friend for a stylist they trust. If you can’t find anyone, that’s okay! I still use my stylist from home in Upstate New York to save on the cost of cut and color

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