7 Sneaky Ways to Live in New York for Less

7 Sneaky Ways to Live in New York for Less

Nancy Mitchell
Aug 9, 2016

I love most everything about living in New York, except for the one thing I really hate about living in New York, which is that living here is really, really heinously expensive. But there are little ways you can save money, and make your NYC dollars stretch a little further. I'm not talking about obvious stuff, like living in Bushwick with 3 roommates or never going out ever. I mean sneaky things, money-saving tips that are unique to NYC, and that you might not immediately think of. Here are some of our best.

Live close to the subway.

When you're looking at an apartment, location matters. But what matters perhaps even more, when you're living in New York, is how close said apartment is to the subway (and how good those subway lines are). If your great apartment in a great neighborhood is a ten-minute walk from a single unreliable subway line, you may find yourself taking a lot of cabs, and that adds up really quickly.

Buy essentials online.

If you live in a neighborhood with a decent grocery store, feel free to ignore this, and also I'm jealous of you. But sometimes your only option is a place eight blocks away, or an upscale "grocer" that makes Whole Foods look like an Auchan and where boxes of cereal cost seven dollars apiece. In this case, places like Jet and Amazon Pantry can be a great source for essentials like noodles and canned soup — and all your purchases are delivered right to your door.

Know your happy hour specials.

New York is a great place to go out. It's also a notoriously expensive place to go out. Fortunately, thousands of bars also means thousands of happy hour specials. Some bars have happy hours that run as late at 9 PM, and others have reverse happy hours that start later in the evening, so you pretty much never need to pay full price.

Embrace cheap eats.

If all the drink specials weren't enough, some bars even offer free food with the purchase of a drink. Besides that, there's $1 oysters, $1 dumplings, lots of great street food, and my personal favorite, $1 pizza, which I'm convinced is somehow subsidized by the city to keep us all hanging on.

Hang on to that student ID.

It's good for getting discounts on everything from yoga to J.Crew, if you're ok with fudging the truth a little. Hey, we said sneaky.

Take advantage of free stuff!

Besides having lots of great really expensive things to do, New York also has lots of great totally free things. There's Central Park and the Met (there's a suggested donation, but it's technically free), and also slightly lesser-known attractions like free outdoor movie screenings and free Thursday night gallery openings in Chelsea (some of which have free wine). If you're very committed to cheapskatery, you can find something free to do pretty much any night.

Get an NYC ID.

Applying for a New York City ID is a bit of a hassle, because you'll have to enroll in person, but getting your ID will entitle you to free entrance to MoMA, the Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, and the Bronx Zoo, among other things. Think of it as a little gift back for paying those New York City income taxes — it might not quite make up for it, but it's something.

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