Central Park

How Do You Live in NYC on a Budget?

Alex Tseng | August 8, 2016

Maybe you came into New York City with a large savings account.  But like me, you probably didn't.  How do you live in NYC on a budget?

1. Make a budget to cap your max spend.  When I first came to NYC, I was living with a friend in a tiny 2BR closet (our rooms could barely fit our beds), and eating free lunches in the office and $5 dinners in Chinatown just to save enough to pay rent.  I was also tracking every expense on a piece of paper in my wallet.  This small piece of paper helped me to identify where I was bleeding dollars, and helped me trim some lifestyle fat.  Landlords in NYC require you to make at least 40x the monthly rent.  Assuming you make $60k per year, your max spend on an apartment would be $1500/mo. This is a good measure to go by, and we would not recommend spending more than this amount.

2. Live with a roommate.  Any apartment under $1500/mo anywhere in NYC will be pretty unappealing.  Instead, we would suggest finding a roommate if you’re on a budget.  You can go on sites like Facebook's Gypsy Housing page or Roomi, where you'll find some pretty decent options at that price range (new building, with your own bathroom, laundry, and even building amenities like a fitness room). Alternatively, REMY can employ its unique search algorithm to help you find a roommate who is compatible with you, and we can match you into apartments together.

3. Look into these more affordable (and frankly more interesting) neighborhoods.  You can find apartments for under $1500/mo in many of these neighborhoods (likely an older building, no amenities, maybe a small window looking into a light well):

- Upper Manhattan (Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Yorkville)

- Brooklyn (Prospect Lefferts Garden, Crown Heights, Bed Stuy, Bushwick, East Williamsburg, Greenpoint, South Slope)

- Queens (Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Forest Hills)

- New Jersey (Jersey City, Journal Square, Hoboken)

Happy Hunting!