Every year thousands of people from across the country pack their suitcase and head to New York City without a plan. The Big Apple is glamorous and as you know, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. So, if two people arrive with the same amount of money in their pocket, with no job and no friends, how does one person make a comfortable life for themselves while the other ends up broke and on a bus back to the small town they came from? Well, one did things right from the beginning while the other did not. In a perfect world, you will have enough money saved up to live on for a couple months, but that does not mean you can’t make the move on a shoestring budget.
Find a Roommate
Ideally, you should have a place to go when you get there. However, you may not necessarily want to get an apartment until you officially know where you will be working. Throughout the city you will find a ton of people looking for a roommate or offering a room for rent.
There are a lot of roommate matching services available. Your first instinct may be to rely on Craigslist, but newbies to NYC often fall victim to scams from this site. People know that there is a constant flow of individuals eager to move here and use this to their benefit. Using an actual rental site or service is typically a safer way to find a roommate you will feel comfortable with for a short time.
Buy an Unlimited Metro Card
The very first thing you should do is buy a Metro Card. You will not be able to afford to jump in a taxi every day unless you have a never-ending supply of money, and since you are moving on a budget, obviously you don’t. You can purchase a seven-day or month unlimited pass; go with the month. You will be glad you did.
If you are ahead of the game and have an apartment secured and long distance moving company booked, you are probably feeling a dent in your budget already. There is no point spending money on boxes and moving supplies. You can pick up free boxes at retail stores, bars, and restaurants. Skip the bubble wrap and use towels, linens, t-shirts, and other similar items that need packing anyway.
Sell Your Car
You do not need a car in New York City. You might think you will drive it but it is just an expense you will wish you didn’t have. Even if you do not have a car payment, you still have insurance and gas to pay for. Plus, parking here is ridiculous. The average cost for a garage space is $300 per month and this does not include parking fees wherever you go. This city has one of the world’s most advanced transit system. If you want to be a New Yorker then you need to get acquainted with the subway.
Sell Your Stuff
Since you will probably be living with a roommate for a bit and your first place will likely be the size of a matchbox there is no point holding onto that oversized sofa, king size bed and 54-inch flat screen. Don’t bother putting in in storage because you will probably never need it. Sell everything you can ahead of time and you will have more money in your pocket to live on. When you get an apartment, hit up IKEA in Brooklyn and furnish your place for cheap.
Check Out Fresh Direct
Eating takeout every day will quickly add up, but carrying a lot of bags on the subway is not all that fun either. Ideally you can stop at a local grocer and fill your reusable shopping bag with what you can every day and you will be fully stocked up after a few days. You can also order from Fresh Direct. This online grocer will deliver for a small fee. You can have nearly anything delivered to you in this city.
Lastly, visit the farmer’s market. Even if you have to go way out of your way to get there, you can get your veggies, fruit, and other items cheap, and you will feel good knowing you are buying local!