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The cost of living alone in NYC

December 14, 2022 | By Roomrs


If you choose to live in New York, you should be aware that the cost of living is very high. Especially if you decide to ditch roommates, and take on all the expenses on your own. But similar to shared living, living alone requires above all else, budgeting. Map out all your expenses, analyze your monthly income, and decide how much money you can put towards things like rent, utilities, etc. Ultimately, your lifestyle will be a reflection of your income, and how well you can budget that income.

Housing Costs

The amount of money you put towards rent and housing costs every month will likely be the largest expense in your budget. Realistically, living with roommates is much more cost-effective, as you get to split the price of rent, utilities, house supplies, and possibly even groceries. Not to mention, all the fees that are required before you move in; such as, a security deposit, broker's fee, moving costs, etc.


Additionally, studio and one-bedroom apartments are much more expensive per person, than a 2, 3, or even 4 bedroom apartment. The more roommates you have, the less you pay in rent.


With that being said, if you’re willing to venture out completely solo; you should keep in mind that you will likely be spending hundreds of extra dollars a month towards housing costs.



Food and Groceries

As previously mentioned, some roommates will split grocery costs and cook meals together. However, that is not always the case. Whether you’re living with others or living by yourself, you have to budget for food.


The amount of which is completely unique to you. Some people spend less on food, buy the basic necessities, and cook at home. Others may have special dietary needs, choose to purchase only organic and fresh produce, and spend extra money on expensive juice cleanses or luxury dining experiences.


The average New Yorker spends about $471.34 on food a month. That number may be shocking to some, as it is far above the national average. But, it may be more or less depending on your preferences. Evaluate your needs, and come up with a budget that works for you.


Transportation costs will likely be the same whether you decide to live with others or live on your own. Unless your roommate has a car and offers to be your private chauffeur, your options include the following; either public transportation systems like the train or bus, getting your own car, taxis, or using car services like Uber or Lyft.


The cheapest and most convenient option is public transportation. New York has one of the best public transportation systems in the United States, and can pretty much take you anywhere you want to go. An unlimited monthly metro card will only cost you $127, and you don’t have to worry about finding parking. If you think getting an unlimited metro card is unnecessary for your lifestyle (let’s say maybe you work from home), each swipe for the train or bus will cost you $2.75.





Entertainment costs will differ drastically from person to person. Some of us are completely content staying home and watching a movie with our dog, while others enjoy expensive dinners, and hitting a few after-parties. Determine your needs when it comes to how highly you value entertainment and set aside an amount monthly.


If you’re looking for a number to reference, around $300 is a good place to start. But remember, that number may be a lot more, or a little less, depending on your lifestyle and needs.


If you’re looking to keep costs lower, try taking advantage of all the free excursions New York has to offer. You could go to the park, visit popular attractions like the High Line or Times Square, go to the museum (some offer free admission or “pay what you wish” either permanently, or on certain days), do outdoor yoga, etc. There are so many ways to have fun without breaking the bank, and a quick google search provides a ton of options.


Some people don’t consider savings at all when thinking about budgeting. However, it’s important to include it in your expense plan. It doesn’t have to be much, but putting aside even $100 a month adds up! You can even download automatic saving apps like Digit, which makes it so much easier. Digit saves for you without you even realizing, by taking small amounts of money out of your checking account periodically (sometimes a couple cents), and automatically adding it to your savings portfolio.


Want to learn even more ways to live affordably and save money? Check out out this article for tips and tricks to help you stick to your budget, and still get the most out of all that New York City has to offer! Still, think living alone is the best option for you? Check out Roomrs one-bedroom options! Still get all the perks of shared living with the added privacy.

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