11 Tips for Surviving in NYC On a Budget

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Okay, so it’s no secret that it’s expensive (as F***) living in New York City. From overpriced coffee to having an unlimited metro card – necessary…things add up!

So I came to the city about a month ago and let me tell you, it’s been such a reality check. Back home I would give away cigarettes like candy. I would blow $100 on supplies for photo shoots and not even think twice about it, just because. I could. But not here. Here, I think twice about paying $6 for a sandwich.

Here are a few things I have learned so far:

1. Pizza. Having pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner is not frowned upon in New York City. Not at all. Pizza is affordable, convenient, easy to find (on every corner) and tastes good as f***. Every. Single. Time!

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2. Unlimited metro card. (I advise you get one of these if you ride the subway 4-5 times a day as I have been, unlimited weekly is only $30 a week) and worth it if you ask me!

3. Chinatown $2 dumplings. TWO DOLLAR DUMPLINGS! Yes, you can find a few places off East Broadway with tasty, cheap dumplings. Another place I recommend is Vanessa’s Dumpling House (off Eldridge).

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4. Attending events with open bar. Okay, this is crucial. First off, always bring some cash with you for tipping (Galore Girls have class). Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open because open bar happens more than you realize. Normally for a friend’s birthday or a special event open bar lasts an hour or so. Whatever you do, make the most of that hour!

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5. Save your quarters. Quarters will be your best friend. I use all of my extra quarters for cheap (but delicious) coffee from the Bodega around the corner. Can’t beat $1.25 for coffee. I went to Williamsburg on a day of running errands and paid $5…no thanks! Conclusion: don’t buy coffee in Williamsburg (or anything because you’ll likely pay an arm and a leg for it).

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6. Make friends….with everyone! Now I’m not telling you to be a kiss ass. I’m simply reminding you to be nice to everyone you meet because you never know when that karma will come back around.

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7. Apply for jobs. Everywhere. I’ve recently discovered that December and January are slow as F***. So try to get a bartending job at a fancy bar and work for those tips, honey! Coat check, waitress, hosting and anything with tips will be a plus.

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8. Don’t smoke cigarettes, just don’t do it. Eh. As a smoker for 2 years I had to finally give it up when I got to NYC. $15 a pack?! *Big Sean’s ‘IDFWU’ song starts playing in my head….

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9. Want a new wardrobe? Check out the zillions of thrift shops, and switch up your wardrobe at places like Beacon’s Closet. You can get rid of your old shit and trade it in for new shit! (Or get money, whichever you prefer) I personally rather take the store credit.

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10. Gallery hopping in Chelsea on a Thursday night. JUST. DO. IT. Get your best girls together, check out some incredible art galleries and drink all the wine in sight!

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11. The most fun is to be had adventuring around the city! Exploring Central Park, museums like MOMA and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET), or just walking around people watching! I’ve had the most fun when I’ve been by myself, riding the subway and hopping off at new stops. Exploring. It’s fun to be curious!

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12. Just smile and save every f***ing penny. You never know when you’re going to be invited to grab drinks with “someone important” 😉

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