Living in the Big Apple can be very expensive for those who are living on a tight budget. Hopefully, these tips will give you some ideas on how you can hit your savings goal every month.
Never Going Anywhere on an Empty Stomach
Naturally, a limited budget means that eating out and shelling out cash at bars and cafes weren’t really options. This can even include the cost of ordering takeout. A $10 meal might not seem like a big purchase, but when you consider the cost of the ingredients and how much cheaper it would be to make at home, it’s hard to justify. When you do go out to bars, cafes, or restaurants with friends and family make sure you eat a little something beforehand so you aren’t tempted to buy the overpriced side dish or appetizer.
Allowing One ‘Cheat Item’ a Week
Just like diets often leave you craving foods you can’t eat, being on a budget also leaves you craving foods you can’t afford. When you are going throughout your week give yourself one item, nothing too expensive, that you treat yourself that doesn’t normally fit into your budget. For example, when you have a long day grinding at work, pick up some take-out on the way home instead of creating your home cooked meal that night.
Taking the Time to Find the Best Prices for Various Products
When you are shopping for food, some stores have a better price for certain foods compared to other. Therefore, it will help you hit your goals if you get your pasta, milk, eggs, and vegetables from one store while another store has more favorably priced snacks, toiletries, and cleaning products from another. A little creative effort can go a long way in hitting your budget goals.
Opting for Breakfast or Lunch When Dining Out
Going out for breakfast or lunch instead of going out for dinner can be better for your bottom-line. You are more likely to score a breakfast or lunch special compared to a dinner special. Additionally, when you go out for breakfast or lunch you can skip out on the extra costs of appetizers and alcohol.
Finding Free or Very Cheap Alternatives for Things that Cost Money
New York is full of expensive things, but fortunately for the budget-conscious among us, free things also abound. Whenever you want to do an activity that costs money, do a little Googling and research to see if there is a free or cheaper alternative in the ever-changing New York City. For instance, if you love group fitness classes but didn’t have the cash for a barre or boxing studio membership, you can go to websites like meetup.com to find fitness groups that are free. Often, the free events occur in parts of New York that you wouldn’t normally visit. This can be a creative way to get you to visit parts of New York that you wouldn’t normally visit.
Thinking of Every Purchase in Terms of Opportunity Cost
Being on a tight budget taught me to think about the opportunity cost of every potential purchase. For example, a $15 taxi ride one way could get me five subway trips, or two and a half round trips. A $12 burger could buy me 12 cans of beans. A night out that cost $50 could pay my gas bill for the month.