How to Live Large in NYC On The Cheap

NYC is the dream, right? Everyone wants to live there and be a part of it all. However, it is one of the most expensive cities on the planet. To live large in NYC, you have to learn how to live on the cheap.

Only drink during happy hour

If you buy a drink that isn’t on Happy Hour Special, you’re paying too much. Luckily, it’s nearly always happy hour somewhere! Download one of the numerous “NYC happy hour” iPhone apps, and never miss a cheap drink again. Don’t forget about the happy hour food specials — if you can’t afford dinner that night, you can always grab a plate of nachos or wings.

Make your own outdoor fun

Why pay to go to the movies when you can spend the day outdoors in Central Park? Grab a sandwich, a blanket, and a few friends and enjoy a beautiful day in one of the most majestic areas of the city. If you ride your bikes or jog through the park, it also counts as exercise.


Improve your skills

Whether you want to learn comedy improv, become a hip-hop dancer, join a poetry group, or learn to play guitar, there are inexpensive lessons hosted throughout the city. Don’t waste time and money enrolling in expensive programs or traveling to outer boroughs for lessons. Look close to home. In searching for guitar lessons in NYC, you may be able to find teachers who will come to your home or even hold lessons online. NYC has numerous affordable options for you to improve your skills in music, dance, art, or performance.

Go to museums on PWYC nights

Learn to look for the letters PWYC, or “pay what you can;” they’re your tickets to some of the best culture in town. There are 24 New York City museums that are always PWYC, including the famed American Museum of Natural History as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; many others host weekly or monthly PWYC or free nights.

Keep in mind that PWYC does mean you have to pay something, even if it is only a quarter. Free nights, on the other hand, are free to enter. There are enough museums in New York City that you could go to a different museum exhibit every weekend for a year and still not see them all. Don’t forget that your favorite museums add new, featured content every few months.

Become familiar with TKTS

Want to see Broadway shows? Learn the best times to stand in line at the TKTS booths. Originally a single booth in Times Square, there are now three TKTS locations: the original Times Square booth, a Brooklyn booth, and a South Tree Seaport booth. These booths sell reduced-price tickets to hot Broadway shows, as long as you’re able to see the show that night and aren’t particular about which show you see.

These TKTS tickets are essential to the New York theater economy because they help fill the houses and ensure that not a single seat goes unsold, so get ready to stand in line and see an amazing Broadway musical or play.

Learn how to share living space

Think you’re going to have your own apartment in NYC? Think again. Nearly everyone who is not married with a family shares space with roommates. Become familiar with Craigslist, and learn how to share tiny apartments with three or four other roommates. Just make sure your room isn’t on the “Worst Room” list, a catalog of the most miserable NYC roommate living situations. Some of those rooms are literally closets!

Never take a taxi

Why take a taxi when NYC has one of the most extensive subway systems in the world? Grab a pair of fashionable walking shoes and learn how to navigate the ups and downs of NYC’s many subway stations. Even when it’s raining, it’s much better to carry an umbrella and walk to the subway than to hail an expensive cab.

These are only a few of the ways to save money in the Big Apple, but they’ll help get you on your way as you survive and thrive in this crazy city. Remember what they say: if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

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