Planning to live in New York but worrying about if you can afford it? Don’t worry! Even though life in New York, and especially in Manhattan, is very pricey, there are ways you can cut back on your expenses and live frugally.

You don’t have to lose your social life or stay home all the time, you just have to manage your money smartly!


When it comes to finding an apartment, you must begin as soon as possible. Even though there are a lot of apartments, you might have to lower your standards to find more affordable rent.

The apartment might be a bit far from the center of the city, but that’s okay as long as the neighborhood is safe. If you live alone, you will pay at least $2,000.

That’s why you should consider finding a roommate. Life is easier that way, and you can also split the rent and utilities.

Now, roommates are a whole separate article, but there are pros and cons.

The pros are obvious—they help pay the bills. The cons are more complex. You don’t know the person moving in and they may not be a good fit for your lifestyle. For example, if you have a day job and they work nights, well, you both may keep each other up. Something to think about.

Explore Your Food Options

Don’t depend on the grocery store that is very close to your apartment. Usually, big chains overcharge for all kinds of products. Instead, try to explore all the neighborhoods nearby. You can find a farmer’s market, a small grocery store, or even some international food marts—get out of your comfort zone!

Exploring other neighborhoods and buying your food from say China Town can help you by enriching your diet and trying new cuisines.

Use Coupons and Discounts

Another way to shop smart and stay on budget is to shop using coupons and discounts.

According to whether you need something right now, you can add some products to your list and buy them when you find them at a discount. It saves you money!

Shop Online

Amazon and eBay are two great online platforms where you can buy anything. Don’t miss this opportunity! Because it might take some days for the products to be delivered to you, the products are cheaper. You can buy your shampoos or your blanket from Amazon. They also offer great deals and discounts regularly.

Take Advantage of Freebies

In New York, there are often many events that charge you with nothing. Benefit from that! Even if there is an event that might not be of your interest, it doesn’t hurt to try!

There are days when there is no admission fee for some museums for example or art galleries. Find which museums you want to visit and make a list of all the events you want to attend.

Also, you will find it very useful if you enroll in a newsletter that informs you about all the upcoming free events.


Gym memberships are very expensive. Instead, try to find alternative ways to work out such as working out at home or running at a local park. There are also quite often free yoga events that you can join. Read more ideas from

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Think about this. If you hang out with people that can afford to go out at a club almost every day, it will be hard for you. You don’t want to lose your social life but then again, you don’t want to spend all of your money on drinks. Make sure to have that in mind and speak to your friends. After all, who said that fun always is expensive?


Taking everything into consideration, if you shop smart and think carefully, it is not that hard living on a budget in Manhattan!

All you need to do is to sit down and make a plan with all the necessary expenses for each month. In this way, you will know how much money you can afford to spend on your social and personal life.

Image by IM_photo via