We love living in New York City. There’s always things to do and places to go. Living here is truly an experience. That experience does come with a price tag. Managing the cost of living here and figuring out how to save money can be tricky. Over the years Matt and I have developed a number of ways to cut costs.
If you’re trying to save money, go sign up for a Digit account. They recently changed it from a free app to a monthly charge of $3 but it’s worth every penny! The way it works, with every deposit to your checking account, it pulls a percentage from the deposit and puts it into a savings account. Out of sight, out of mind. Most days I forget we even have the Digit account, but it’s nice to check on our savings throughout the month!
One of the easiest ways to save money in the city is by taking public transportation. Cabs and Ubers will eat away at your bank account in a hurry. I typically use cabs when I’m running late or going to an event wearing heels. I recently discovered Via. The service is absolutely amazing! It’s carpooling for New Yorkers. It costs about $5 to get anywhere in the city. If you buy their 4-week pass the cost can be less than $2 a ride. The only caveat, it doesn’t pick you up at your exact location or drop you off at your exact location. However, it does drop you off within a few blocks. So if you don’t like public transportation, try a service like Via.
If you’re trying to save money, stop taking cabs and Ubers. I know it can take longer and be somewhat of an inconvenience but the bus is great. I can promise you that you’ll enjoy having that extra money back in your account throughout the year.
Imagine if you stopped taking a round trip cab once a week? Let’s just say the average cab ride is $15. So a round trip is $30. Let’s be generous and say you only take 3 cab rides a week. 3 x $30 x 52 weeks in a year = $4,680 you’re spending on cabs. Now let’s compare that to public transportation 3 x $5.50 x 52 = $858.
You’d be saving $3,822 per year.
Buy Used & Sell Used
When it comes to buying and selling furniture, we always look on Craigslist before making any purchases. People are always moving in the city so you’re bound to find a gem every once-in-a-while. The same holds true for selling our things. Anytime we get rid of something, we sell on Craigslist. We don’t make a ton of money, but it’s a great way to make a few extra bucks and not contribute to the growth of our landfills!
This alone has saved us hundreds of dollars per month. In February, we started using Plan to Eat and it’s been so useful for our family and good for my waistline. The website looks out-dated but the interface is easy to navigate and user-friendly. You can signup for a 30-day trial and then it moves to a month or yearly subscription.
Here’s how it works. You import your favorite recipes into the website so they are saved into the database. Then you drag the recipes into the appropriate day for each meal. I know exactly what we’re eating from breakfast to dinner. It also automates a grocery list based on the recipes you put in each day! We then delete the items we already have in our kitchen and Matt creates a list using Wunderlist (something we actually use for our business, as well) before heading to Trader Joe’s.
We also stopped shopping at our corner stores and now shop almost exclusively at Trader Joe’s. Those corner stores can sometimes be 3x the price. No bueno. We’ve saved a lot of money since we started shopping at Trader Joe’s. Since using Plan to Eat, we only buy what’s on our grocery list. No more random shopping and wasting food.
Although we meal plan throughout the week, we do say yes to brunch invites with friends or an occasional Dig Inn meal.
Want vs. Need
Living in New York City, we have limited space. So we only buy what we need. As much as I love Target, I do not come out of the store with a bunch of random items. Ordering on Amazon is the same way. We just don’t have the space to store anything that we don’t use regularly. Anytime I go shopping, I make sure it’s something we “need” as opposed to something we “want”. That alone has probably saved us thousands of dollars a year on useless things in our apartment. Plus, our sanity stays intact and the walls don’t feel like they are closing in on us!
If you have any other ideas for us and everyone else, please let us know. Love saving money. Thanks for reading!