How to live in Manhattan on a budget

Manhattan is perhaps the most desirable borough in NYC. A lot of people dream of moving to Manhattan not only because it looks wonderful, but because it has a reputation of being very high-class. Unfortunately, that means that it also has the prices to back that up. Simply renting an apartment in  Manhattan can break your bank unless you get a pretty hefty paycheck every month. Luckily, there are ways to live in Manhattan on a budget, you just have to be crafty. Start smart with hiring affordable Manhattan movers for your relocation if you’re only now moving to Manhattan. That’ll be a great start to a frugal life at New York’s spendiest borough.

To live in Manhattan on a budget you have to be creative and dedicated

Many people believe that living in manhattan is the bee’s knees. If you’re a millennial woman and you think so, you probably have Gossip Girl to thank for that. However, people of all demographics are drawn to Manhattan life. Still, for some people that may seem out of reach. But if you’re one of those people you’ll be happy to know that that’s usually not the case. You might not be able to afford the most luxurious apartment on the Upper Eastside, but you’ll surely be able to afford to live in Manhattan on a budget.

A laptop, a planner, a notebook, and glasses on a table.
Planning is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll be able to live in Manhattan on a budget!

If you’re just moving to Manhattan, move smart

Moving smartly is the best thing you can do if you’re planning to move to Manhattan. That means that you should spend time and energy instead of money. That might sound offputting, but if you’re struggling financially that’s your best option. And even if you aren’t and are just looking to save a buck or two, affordable moving is an option. There are plenty of residential movers Manhattan residents love and recommend for affordable relocations. Keep in mind though that affordable doesn’t mean low quality. That’s why you should invest your time and energy into finding genuine experts that offer prices that are within your budget range.

Living in Manhattan on a budget successfully begins with finding affordable real estate

The best way to ensure you can live comfortably in Manhattan, without having to count pennies for a packet of ramen, is to find an affordable place to live. That can be a hard task, but it’s doable if you put your mind to it. Renter-friendly neighborhoods in NYC are a thing, even in Manhattan. That being the case means that you can find relatively cheap apartments even in the most expensive cities.

Neighborhoods like Inwood, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights are usually good places to look for budget apartments. Keep in mind, though, that it’s possible to find low-income apartments for rent in NYC even in places you wouldn’t think any affordable apartments would be available at. Though rare, it is a possibility. That’s why you should make sure to look for apartments all over Manhattan and not just within the affordable neighborhoods.

Purchase food in bulk and eat at home

Even though Manhattan restaurants and cafes can be very enticing, it’s best to avoid them if you’re on a budget. That doesn’t necessarily mean never having a treat or a coffee out. However, it means that you should have a majority of your meals at home. Just having a plastic or a ceramic reusable to-go cup, you can make your morning coffee in before you leave for work, can save you hundreds of dollars annually.

A woman meal prepping because she knows thats one of the best ways to be able to live in Manhattan on a budget.
Cooking at home and preparing meals in batches is one of the best ways to live frugally!

You should also focus on buying food in bulk and cooking in batches. That will save you not only money but time as well. You can prepare two or three meals on Sunday and divide them into containers which you can later refrigerate or even freeze. That way you’ll also be able to bring food to work. If you have a meal ready to go you’ll be less likely to spend money at restaurants.

Being mindful of your bills is one of the best ways to live on a budget in Manhattan

Water, electricity, cable, phone, and internet bills can easily add up. Even if they seem like not much their total can be quite hefty. Because of that, it’s important to be mindful of how much resources you’re using and adjusting either usage or plans. For example, if you have a great cable you might not need a subscription to online streaming services. Or if you don’t use the internet much, you might want to opt for a less expensive internet option. You should also be mindful of how much water, electricity, and gas you’re using. Try coming up with solutions that will lower your monthly costs. You can try:

  • Turning off the lights if you’re not in a particular room
  • Turning off water heating unless you’re taking a shower
  • Looking for the most affordable heating option
  • Opting for microwave or an air fryer instead of using an oven
  • Taking short showers or not letting the water run while washing dishes

Use affordable means of transportation

Car is not the most affordable way to get around. That means that even if you have one, it might be best to switch to a cheaper option if you’re hoping to live on a budget. Gas can be extremely expensive and it’s also not very eco-friendly. By choosing to commute by bus, subway, or light rail not only will you be saving money but you’ll be helping save the planet! Manhattan public transport offers many affordable options that are fast, safe, and reliable.

A moving bus.
Commuting via public transport is one of the best ways to save money!

Living in Manhattan frugally is possible with some effort

Relocating to Manhattan can be wonderful. However, if you’re not made of money, it requires some time, effort, and dedication. To ensure you’ll be able to live on a budget successfully you have to set realistic expectations. But, even though you won’t be able to blow your money on frivolous spendings, you’ll probably still be able to make do with a simple lifestyle. Keep in mind that to live in Manhattan on a budget you don’t have to be rich. You just have to be someone who’s willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort for what Manhattan has to offer – a lot of style and glamour!

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