After looking through countless articles across the internet with tips on how to save money while living in NYC, I realized that most of them revolve around doing less, moving to Jersey, and quitting drinking; none of which I think are solutions.
So I thought I'd write my own. Something that you can actually use. Something that lets you save enough money to be able to hopefully always say “Yes” to your friends and guests when they ask you if you want to pop out for a bite or a drink.
Please understand that I am about the least thrifty person I know, so these tips aren't coming from a place of saving every single dollar, it's instead realistic ways to stop wasting money.
Most of these aren't going to blow your mind (except for #14 of course) but they have come in handy for me!
If you've got some other hot tips, let me know below.
1. Stay out of Midtown
(Or really anywhere that is traditionally touristy). Go to a bar like the new one that opened near me, The Lost Lady (they play sea shanties and have shuffleboard!) Drinks are cheaper, food is better, value is good-er;
2. Save money with our special T-Mobile plan
Sign up for Expat Connection's T-Mobile plan (it's much cheaper than most people get);
3. Take your lunch to work
Now I'm not talking this kind of thing, because who actually has time for that!? I'm talking a sandwich. Grab some deli meat (here's how to order it), a fresh roll from the same supermarket, and some lettuce (add Sriracha, it's delicious) and you've got yourself something that costs $2 to $5 depending on how thrifty you are. This isn't a huge saving, but lunch can get up to $10 without any problem.
While I'm at it, eat your breakfast at home, stop buying rolls and donuts. They're not good for you, and they cost money that you could be spending on a rooftop with friends.
If you REALLY don't want to do this, then check out MealPal. You can at least save a little bit of money!
4. Buy an EasyPayXpress Monthly MTA pass
This can automatically renew itself forever and ever. Yes, it's $121/month which feels like a lot of money but #4 part B is: Catch the train everywhere (or walk). Stop getting Ubers and stop calling Lyfts. You don't need them and they're hurting your bottom line when you could be sipping cocktails at Loverboy.
Please note that this only works if you catch the train ~47 times. Otherwise it's cheaper NOT to get an unlimited one and instead get an EasyPayXpress card for pay-per-swipe. To work and back 5 days a week for 4 weeks is 40 trips. If you're not catching it more than that, then you're not trying hard enough.
Yes Amazon is amazing and I wouldn't ever give up my Prime account, however you must understand that “Free Shipping” is actually built into the price. For that reason, sometimes it's cheaper elsewhere, and these will help!
6. $1 Pizza
Say no more. That's a $2 dinner right there. The place near me is the best slice in NYC, which everyone says but for mine it's true.
7. Street fruit is King
You know all those carts that you walk past thinking “I wonder how much of that is fresh?”, turns out they're some of the best deals you can get in this city. Fresh fruit, for cents on the dollar, and generally fantastic quality. Find your cart, stick to it!
8. Subscribe to The Skint
Follow the pages that have all the great deals and upcoming free or cheap events. Subscribe to The Skint, for one! This way you can be the one recommending to your friends the event you go to, as opposed to being dragged along to another $50 bottomless brunch!
9. When you're alone
All in all the key is this: When you're alone, enjoy your alone time, wander about outside, and save some money. Every time you save a few dollars when you're alone, you can spend it when you're with others!
There's no number 14. I lied.
Bonus Tips from Readers
- Andrea K suggested: You could add the Today Tix app? This offers cheap tickets for Broadway shows, and you can enter the lottery for $19 tickets for that evening's shows.
- Annie M suggested: Citibike annual membership! Puts an MTA pass to shame, and generally faster than a cab for short trips anyway. If you must uber, uber pool/ lyft line. If you maintain a decent rating there are heaps of promotions applied (my 2am ride home from work is about $4).