How To Save Money in NYC: 13 Steps to Change Your Life

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This post is all about how to save money in NYC.

  1. This is you if:
  2. Be honest with yourself about where you stand with debt.
  3. Try a 0 based budgeting system
  4. Meal Prep
  5. Cut your cable
  6. Stop Taking Cabs
  7. Start a savings challenge
  8. ShapeUp NYC
  9. DIY Your Favorite Things
  10. Thrift
  11. Try Minimalism
  12. Explore NYC on a Budget
  13. Use Your NYPL Card For Free Activities.
  14. Check Out Facebook Marketplace
  15. Try Cloth Diapers

Let me tell you something: living in NYC is something else. It is expensive. I have been living in the Bronx, NY for over 20 years and it’s just getting worse. Gas prices are at an all-time high at around $4.18 per gallon.

According to apartments.com, “the average apartment rent in the Bronx is $1,335 for a studio, $1,420 for a one bedroom, $1,760 for two bedrooms and $2,146 for a three bedroom.” And that’s only in the Bronx, I don’t even want to imagine what Manhattan looks like but I know its much more than that.

As a resident of New York myself, with 3 small children and with only 1 income coming in (since only my husband works), I started searching years ago on how to save money in NY. As a stay at home mom who budgets what my husband brings in, I was (and am!) craving that financial freedom for my family.

Learning how to save money in NY is not hard, so let’s dive right in.

This is you if:

  • You hate that your husband is working paycheck to paycheck.
  • Your bills are piling up
  • You can’t splurge on yourself
  • You can’t pay a bill without sacrificing another
  • You haven’t taken a vacation in way too long
  • You crave financial freedom but don’t know where to start.

First, let’s get out of this broke mentality. What are we going to do to change our financial status?

1. Be honest with yourself about where you stand with debt.

Calculate all of your debt and be honest about how you got it in the first place. The worst thing you can do when learning how to save money in NYC is blaming other people about your current debt.

2. Try a 0 based budgeting system

When I started to learn about how to save money in NYC, I came across Dave Ramsey Zero-Based Budgeting System where you tell your money where to go down to the last cent. At first it is difficult to follow because we want to hold on to just a little bit of money but after a while with the right mindset, it’ll get easier. Use this free budget planner to start.

 how to save money in N

3. Meal Prep

Who wants to cook everyday? Not me! But I promise you, it is worth it. When I was pregnant with my 3rd, I checked how much we were buying through UberEats and Doordash in one month and it totaled to over $500! I was baffled. So I stopped buying food from outside and started to make it a habit to cook food everyday and I can say that it has helped tremendously. Meal prepping is a must to save money daily especially living in NYC.

4. Cut your cable

Girl, cut off your cable. You know for a fact that you aren’t watching all those channels. Save your coins and use a Roku stick instead. This is what I use and don’t pay for any subscriptions. I use whatever free channels they give me and use Youtube, Hulu and Netflix. You can save over $150 just by making the switch.

5. Stop Taking Cabs

There is public transportation everywhere across NY, so stop taking cabs. It is unbelievable how much you can spend in a week just by taking cabs. Take the bus or the train to where you need to go. Don’t want to do that? Try Citibike. According to Citi, “Using Citi Bike can save a lot of money over taking taxis. And a whole year of Citi Bike costs less than two monthly subway passes!”

6. Start a savings challenge

This is a fun way to save money. There are many savings challenges out there. You can start by doing a “no-spend challenge”, or a $5 savings challenge where you save all of your $5 bills for a whole year. Give it a try!

7. ShapeUp NYC

As stay-at-home moms, it is really hard to get a gym membership and actually use it which is a huge waste of money. Good thing ShapeUp NYC exists and it is free. Shape Up NYC is a free group fitness program all over the five boroughs.

8. DIY Your Favorite Things

Nails: The amount of DIY recipes on the web is absolutely outstanding. There is a DIY recipe or how-to for just about anything. If you like getting your nails done but you’re spending $60 on them every 3 weeks, you might as well just for to Dollar Tree and get yourself a $1.25 nail set, glue them on and paint them. It’ll last about a week but even if you do this every week, you’re still saving about $55 every time.

Body Care: Learn how to make soap, body butters or lotion, and body scrubs and save yourself a ton of money. All of these commercial beauty brands are full of carcinogens anyway… Check out Youtube and search what you want to learn how to do.

9. Thrift

Shop your local thrift store instead of the big name stores! I am always in my local thrift shops because I find items for less than $5 when I know they are selling the same item for $25 at a brand name store. As a momma of 3, I cannot be spending hundreds on toddler and baby clothes.

10. Try Minimalism

If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Learning how to save money in NYC has a lot to do with saving money on things you don’t need. So go back to your cart and clear it, you know you don’t need that new purse.

11. Explore NYC on a Budget

NYC has a lot f attractions that you can go to for a cheap price or for free. Check out this TikTok page and get some ideas!

12. Use Your NYPL Card For Free Activities.

As a stay at home mom to 3 kids, I needed places to take them that won’t break my budget. My sister told me about CulturePass NYC and I was amazed at the amount of things you can do for free. I even took my kids to the Botanical Gardens and they had a blast! I also take them to the library at least twice a week because they have a lot of activities for kids. Check them out! All you need is a library card to access all the passes.

how to save money in nyc

13. Check Out Facebook Marketplace

Seriously, about 85% of the furniture I have in my apartment I got from Facebook Marketplace…for free. All of them in great conditions. The computer table I am currently writing on was free and I’ve had it for 2 years now and it’s still looking great. Don’t spend thousands or finance furniture when you know you don’t have the funds. Try FB Marketplace instead.

14. Try Cloth Diapers

Okay, this one may not be so popular cause who wants to be washing pooped diapers but I have tried it and I save tons of money on cloth diapers. This is another way to save money daily, I promise. These diapers are getting more expensive every other month and the point is to save money, not spend. If youre interested in cloth diapers click here for the brand that I use.

how to save money in nyc

Just because you are drowning in debt, doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to save money in NYC. This is the perfect time to save money daily, get out of debt and create financial wealth for your family. Let me know which ones you have tried!

This post was all about how to save money in NYC.

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