Saving Money in New York City

By Grace Lee

Are you thinking of moving to NYC, or are you already living in NYC, wondering if a frugal or cheaper lifestyle is possible? You’re not alone, and you’ve come to the right place.

With rising costs due to the city’s popularity and really just being an insanely awesome place to live, living in NYC never came cheap. In fact, many people are always on the hunt for the cheapest places to live in NYC, and that’s because it’s the most expensive city for renting in the country!

Here are a few tips on saving money in the city:

Pop-up Shops

Pop-up shops are the perfect place to get free merchandise and have a good time. There are tons all over New York City, ranging from the weekend to month-long shops. Well-known brands also often hold pop-ups to promote new launches and give out free goodies to try.

Finding pop-ups in your area is now easy as lots of tiktokers often post videos about upcoming pop-ups around New York City. You can also google and filter the results to pop-ups in New York to see which ones are in your area and to RSVP.

Ride Citi Bikes

Citi Bikes are the perfect way to get around the city without the hassle of ordering an Uber or riding the subway. They have different pricing plans you can explore, with a single ride of up to 30 minutes costing you $3.99 and an annual membership of unlimited 45-minute rides costing $15 per month. If you live in New York and commute to school or work, the annual membership will cost less than individual rides in the long run. There are over 1,500 bike stations and 24,500 bikes in New York City, which means you can ride Citi Bikes within a few miles of each station and park.

Use an NYPL card for free activities

If you have a library card to the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, or Queens Public Library, this summer is the perfect place to bust it out. Not only do you have access to books and resources at the NYPL, BPL, or QPL, but your card also allows you to get into various museums and events. From society museums to heritage centers to botanic gardens, there are so many participating organizations where you can use your card. Also, if you’re looking to take your friends, you can borrow free passes for up to four people at those participating locations.

If you want to visit any of these locations, you’ll need to make a reservation through the Culture Pass website using your library card’s information.

Gallery-hop in Chelsea

From paintings to abstract art, there are a ton of galleries in Chelsea you can visit for free. A majority of them run from West 20th Street to West 27th Street, though you can find a couple on the 10th and 7th avenues. Most of them are pretty close to each other, so you can spend the day walking around and browsing art pieces. Also, the exhibitions frequently change on a monthly basis, so you’ll always see something new.

Use fashion rental services

Fashion rental services will allow you to rent hundreds of clothes and outfits without the burden of buying each one. There are a variety of rental services you can use and all memberships include free shipping, free returns, and cleaning coverage. You can pick the clothes or accessories from the hundreds of items on the website and keep the items for as long as you want. When you’re ready for something new, just return your rentals and swap them out.

Fun fact: All of the clothes from Rent the Runway is from designer and luxury brands.

Facebook Marketplace for furniture

If you’re looking to decorate or furnish your apartment on a budget, you

should check out Facebook Marketplace. A lot of sellers will post used home goods in good condition, often for under $200, so you’re bound to get a good deal. But you should contact the seller for additional photos or information about the product if you’re interested in buying it. This way, you’ll know what condition the item is in and you can coordinate other logistics, such as the delivery or pickup.

“Off-Season” in the real estate market

Off-seasons in the real estate market are usually during the winter months, when Realtors with more extravagant or desirable houses may be waiting for spring to put them on the market. So the houses in the off-seasons are usually ones that have been on the market since last spring, and they may not be the first choice in terms of beautiful exteriors and locations. But moving during the off-season can help you save money because most agents want to get those houses off the market, which can help you in the negotiation process.


Images courtesy of (Image Courtesy: The Mandagies), (Image Courtesy:, (Image Courtesy: Barnard College), (Image Courtesy: Loving New York),  (Image Courtesy: Medium) and (Image Courtesy: NYT)

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