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New York City is notoriously expensive. The cost of living in NYC is 146% higher than the national average. The average cost of living per month for a family of four is $7,800, and for a single person is $5,300. So, how do people afford to live in NYC? Residents who choose to live in New York make it work – even with lower incomes – by keeping their expenses low, sticking to a budget, and living frugally.
How Much Does it Cost to Live in NYC?How Much Does it Cost to Live in NYC?
New York City is one of the most expensive cities to live in nationwide. It is 31% more expensive than Los Angeles, according to data from Numbeo, and housing expenses are about 407% higher than the national average.
Even though NYC is very expensive, it is still possible to live there comfortably.
How Do People Afford to Live in NYC?How Do People Afford to Live in NYC?
There are several money-saving options to make living in NYC more affordable. Plus, the city is made up of five boroughs — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island — and the cost of living can vary, even from one neighborhood to the next.
Have a BudgetHave a Budget
Taking the time to plan out a budget and sticking to it is important when living in an expensive city. Knowing the amount of income coming in and each expense going out makes living below your means much easier.
Budgeting allows you to track your spending and prevent overspending. Create a spending limit for each category to help you stay on track. For example, only allow yourself to spend $100 per week on food and drinks. Everyone’s budget will look different, but the most important thing to do is track your spending religiously.
Get a RoommateGet a Roommate
Choosing to live with roommates can help lower the cost to live in NYC. The median rent for a Manhattan apartment in November hit $4,033, up from $3,964 in October.
Cost splitting with one or more roommates can make rent and other bills like utilities more affordable. If you don’t have a roommate, you can try asking family and friends if they know anyone who needs a roommate or a place to live. You can also try social media or other platforms that specialize in finding roommates.
Look at Housing AssistanceLook at Housing Assistance
New York City offers housing assistance programs for lower-income residents. The competition for these programs is fierce, but there are waiting lists available. For income-qualifying residents, these programs can assist with rent or help find affordable rentals as they become available.
The NYC Human Resources Administration has more information on rental assistance programs that are available for low-income individuals and families.
Cut ExpensesCut Expenses
Cutting as many expenses as possible is important when trying to lower the cost to live in NYC.
Making use of public transportation or walking instead of owning a car can help. New York City is famous for its public transportation system, it is the easiest and least expensive way to navigate through the city. The NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority has more stations than any other metro system in the world making it possible to skip the expenses that come with owning a car.
Another way to cut expenses is to live just outside of the city. Rents drop as the distance from the city’s center increases. Also, many neighborhoods outside of NYC provide easy access to a bus or train line to Manhattan. Choosing to live outside of the city can also give you more bang for your buck.
Making the choice to eat in instead of dining out at expensive NYC restaurants can make living in the city more affordable. Being frugal and shopping at more affordable grocery stores can help lower monthly expenses even more.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
When asking yourself how do people afford to live in NYC or can if you can afford to live there,
it’s important to remember that there are ways to lower costs. Being responsible by sticking to a budget, cutting expenses, and choosing to live with roommates can make living in New York City a possibility for anyone.