Oh, New York, New York. A city so nice, they named it twice, right? Well, I seem to think so. My income, however, would strongly disagree with me on this one.
Firstly, I’d like to talk about how much I love New York before I begin this rant. I’ve lived here my entire life and imagining myself anywhere else is damn near impossible. There is no other city on earth as thrilling and as wonderfully crazy as it is here. And definitely no other city as vibrant with different personalities, loud outfits, and big dreams.
But I must admit, it’s too damn expensive. I mean, I really have to sit there and brainstorm lunch options for a good two hours. Do I want to say “screw it” and get a $5 dollar McDonald’s meal or should I actually care about my health enough to drop close to $20 for a salad? Um, I’ll go for the McDonald’s please.
So, now what? I’m a New York chick who has no intention of moving elsewhere with a wallet that’s screaming “PLEASE LEAVE!”
I made a list I like to call “How To OWN Being Broke In An Expensive City.” It goes a little something like this:
1. You’re broke. Put down that $6 latte.
There is really no need to purchase a fancy drink daily. Anything with a decent amount of caffeine will do for now. So skip the $6 latte and download the Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks app and collect those points till they reward you with a free beverage. Trust me, it makes a difference. Also, you don’t need 3 cups of coffee a day. And if you do – brew it at home.
2. Grocery Shop In Bulk
Stop buying individual protein bars when you can buy a pack and save money. Find a reasonably priced supermarket and make it your mission to shop in bulk twice a month. And search for the deals! Don’t be afraid to be a major “couponer.”
3. Prepare Your Meals
You don’t have to eat lunch from home every single day, but make a schedule – and follow it. Alternate between eating out and cooking. Saving on food is the most helpful way to survive living in an expensive city.
4. Be A Cheap-o When Hanging Out
I find that most of my money is spent when hanging out with friends. Download apps like Meetup and Time Out Magazine for free events/concerts that both you and your friends will enjoy. You get to meet awesome, like-minded people and won’t spend too much for a good time.
5. Track Your Spending
Apps like Penny help you track your monthly spending and open your eyes to poor spending habits. This app will give you a reality check… real quick!
6. Make Lists
Whenever I want to shop, I make a list. Why? Because seeing it in print makes me think a little harder. “Do I really NEED this?” Chances are, I don’t. “Can this wait?” Chances are, it can.
7. Pull Out The Cash
Debit and credit cards make it so that people think they have endless money to spend. You don’t. So, pull out your spending money in cash every week to limit what you spend on. You are more likely to exercise caution when spending cash than you are swiping away.
So, happy saving and happy living to all of us here roaming these expensive streets.