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Last Updated on April 12, 2021
Life, in general, is tricky. But life in New York City can be absolutely terrifying, stressful, and overwhelming — and that’s only the first week you’re there. Most people can pack their bags, get a new job, and succeed in just about any city in America with some grit and determination. But in NYC, you’re going to need much more if you are hoping to last more than a few months.
If you don’t have enough money saved up, a comfortable place to sleep, or a few friends or family members in the area that you can rely on, this is going to be a rough few weeks in the city that never sleeps. As long as you’re taking your move seriously, however, and are researching the best ways to handle everything the city throws at you, you’ll be fine and you could even end up absolutely loving New York City.
Here are some excellent tips for living in New York City:
- Get comfortable with the infamous NYC public transportation system — If you have a car: sell it. There are more than 8 million people in NYC — you’re not going to need a car and you probably won’t be able to even drive it. Owning a car in NYC will just lead to more stress and financial issues since you’ll have to store it and park every day, which can cost a fortune. Since you won’t be able to drive your own vehicle, get use to walking and riding taxis, buses, and the subway. On a positive note, you’ll have plenty of time to listen to relaxing music on your commute. During your first few days, weeks, and even months, find a NYC buddy who can show you how to properly utilize the city’s complicated public transportation system.
- Reevaluate your budget — Though the average sales price for Manhattan condos in existing buildings in the third quarter of 2017 was $1.9 million, you can still find affordable living spaces in NYC if you know what you’re doing. In Manhattan alone, rental apartments make up 75% of all homes and can be quite costly, as well. If you start looking early on and stick to your budget no matter what, you might be able to find a quality living space for around $2,500 to $4,000 a month. As long as you find a credible roommate or two, you’ll likely be able to afford a nice NYC apartment. Additionally, depending on your annual income, you might be eligible for New York’s affordable housing program, which can help you save even more money down the line.
- Find a job that lets you work from home — Working from home used to not be a thing, but now it’s actually quite popular — especially in big cities like New York City. Approximately 73% of the U.S.’s workforce (about 100 million people) are knowledge workers who work primarily in open office environments, but there are plenty of businesses that allow its employees to work remotely. This can not only save you money on daily commuting costs, but you’ll be able to check out the city more during the day working in and out of cool coffee shops.
- No more takeout — We’ve all seen TV shows set in NYC where everyone orders out every single night — that is not possible! You’ll end up spending a fortune if you order takeout every single day. Plan your grocery trips accordingly, purchase healthy and affordable foods in bulk, and start cooking for yourself. Also, just start eating more slices of pizza.
- Stop paying for your haircut — You’re going to need to save as much money as possible in order to live comfortably in this city. Not paying for biweekly haircuts can actually help you save a lot of cash. But how can you do this without looking like a guitar player from the 1960s? Volunteering as a model at a boutique salon. There are salons all over the city that have listings for men and women and you’ll be able to get cuts and new styles for free! Additionally, since the number of men who don’t shave at all is up across all age groups, standing at 20%, if you’re a guy you can simply just stop shaving.
- Learn how to talk like a New Yorker — Don’t just yell about how much you hate Boston sports, but you’ll find it easier to talk to people if you are able to pick up on some of their NYC lingo. “The bridge” is the Brooklyn Bridge, “The City” means Manhattan, and start saying “uptown” and “downtown.”
Living New York City is horrifying, intense, scary, difficult, and can be every other bad thing. But there is no place like NYC and living there can also be just as magical. Take it seriously, save money, and enjoy yourself!