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8 tips on how to live affordably in NYC

December 15, 2022 | By Roomrs


So, you’ve finally fulfilled your dream of moving to NYC. After unpacking the last of your boxes, and settling in, you now realize that when they said New York City was one of the most expensive cities in the world, it was no joke. Budgeting for rent, food, transportation, and still being able to go out for dinner and drinks with friends, can be overwhelming, to say the least. But not all New Yorkers are millionaires. Although hard to believe, it is possible to live in this city on a modest salary.


Here are some tips to help you stick to your budget, and still get the most out of what this wonderful city has to offer.

Live with a roommate

Renting an apartment in New York can be costly. A lot of the time were devoting half our income to paying rent alone. To cut down on the price of rent, consider living with roommates instead of signing a lease solo. Apartments with more rooms tend to be much cheaper per person than a studio or one bedroom. Essentially, you could be saving hundreds of dollars a month, just by making the decision to opt for shared living.


Living with roommates also comes with several other benefits. If you’re interested, check out our article on why shared living trumps living alone.

Cook more meals at home

We’ve all fallen victim to doing our weekly grocery shop; and throughout the days, slowly watch all our fruits and vegetables begin to rot, as we order takeout for the third time. It’s a vicious cycle, but one we must aim to nip in the bud if we want to stick to our budget.


Ordering take-out adds up quickly and is a huge expense when compared to cooking at home. Making a weekly, or even monthly budget for food and groceries helps to reduce unnecessary spending. Not to mention cooking at home can be fun! Try looking up new receipts to avoid getting bored of repetitive meal ideas.

Buy in bulk

On a similar note, when going grocery shopping, try buying in bulk. Buying in bulk is much more cost-effective than shopping for small quantities of groceries at a time. You can stock up on things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, other toiletries, as well as some food items such as canned foods, beans and legumes, rice, and other grains. Look to shop at stores like Costco, Target, or Walmart. If you enjoy the convenience of shopping online, check out Amazon. Delivery is quick, and they have just about every item you’d ever need.


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Stick to public transportation

Budget for a monthly metro card and stick to taking public transportation. If you frequently order car services like Uber and Lyft, you can easily spend hundreds of extra dollars a month, unnecessarily. Most neighborhoods provide easy access to transportation ( both trains and busses), which will get you to your destination in the time, if not more quickly than taking a car.

Take advantage of groupon

Sites like Groupon offer huge discounts on everything. From clothing, jewelry restaurants, accommodation, and even beauty and spa treatments! If you’ve been eyeing something specifically, check Groupon and you’ll likely find it for 1/3 of the price. Seriously, check this site often as they add new deals daily.

Free fun

New York has a ton of attractions that don’t require any money to enjoy. A quick google search will yield several results of free entertainment available to New Yorkers. This can include something as simple as going to the park, visiting popular attractions like the High Line, going to Times Square, taking part in outdoor yoga, visiting a museum, booking a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery, and so much more! So if you’re looking for something fun to do, but don’t want to spend money, don’t be discouraged, as the possibilities are endless.


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Opt out of cable

If you’re the type of person that unwinds after work by watching sports or your favorite tv show, don’t fret. In the 21st century, we no longer need access to cable TV to be able to watch all our favorite shows. Ditch cable and use streaming services. The options are plenty, with sites like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney +, etc. Some services even have live streaming options, like Hulu Live, and YoutubeTV. Either way, you’ll save money by sticking to strictly an internet package.

Shop at thrift stores

Buying clothing secondhand is a way of life for many. In New York City, you can find thrift stores in almost every neighborhood. Shopping at places like Buffalo Exchange, Cross Roads, L Train Vintage (just to name a few), will save you some serious cash in the long run! Items are stylish, affordable, and truly one of a kind! Not to mention, It lessens your environmental impact by not contributing to fast fashion.


Roomrs offers affordable housing that can suit almost any budget! If you’re interested in learning more, check them out here!

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