Being able to afford more isn’t always about making more money. Sometimes all it takes is redistributing the money your already have so that you can spend it on the things/experiences you want. I’ve been able to go out with friends, enjoy a nice dinner, or see a show by simply reducing my spending in other budget categories and redistributing it to my “splurge” category. Below are some of my tips that have helped me to afford more with the same income.
Take the Subway Instead of a Cab
Going to the bar with friends or out to eat with family is a great way to spend your Friday night. If that isn’t your cup of tea maybe the movies, Broadway, or any of the other thousands of activities in New York are. The one thing they all have in common though is they cost money to get to. Travel in Manhattan sucks! There’s no way to avoid it, but taking an Uber or a cab (which is what most people do) is a great way to eat into your budget fast. I live in Midtown and if I go out in LES or Chelsea I’m automatically looking at a $20 ride one way. Compared to a $2.75 subway ride, that nets out to an extra $35 round trip I would need to spend for a taxi or Uber. That $35 eats into budgets and could have been used for my bar tab. Splurging on the necessity of transportation limits what I can splurge money on for enjoyment or what I can put towards savings.
Instead of taking cabs now, I’ve started taking the subway to the bars. I can now redistribute that money to my “splurge budget” or I can put it towards savings instantly. In other words I can spend the same amount of money in a more rewarding way.
Grab Lunch Instead of Dinner
Another way to stretch my dollar farther is by getting lunch instead of dinner when I go out to eat. I have already spoken about the cost saving benefits of cooking at home and ordering your groceries online (Click Here if You Haven’t Read That). But sometime it is nice to splurge and eat at a restaurant instead. You can try new foods and experience all of the unique atmospheres that can often only be found in New York.
Here’s the thing though, most restaurants in New York offer lunch menus that are similar to their dinner menu, but at a reduced price. This means that you can either enjoy eating out the same amount and still put more money into savings, or you can eat out more often without increasing your current budget.
Order Groceries Online
Online grocery ordering is popping up all over the internet these days. A few of the big ones include Jet.com, Fresh Direct, and Boxed.com. These stores buy their groceries outside of NYC and can therefore offer them at a reduced price compared to most of the brick and mortar grocery stores in Manhattan that have to worry about paying rent. Buying groceries online is a great way to save more money which can again be redistributed to savings or another budget category.
Target or Uniqlo Sponsered Events
Both Target and Uniqlo have begun sponsoring free events throughout the city. Some of the events include:
MoMA Free Admission Fridays
Uniqlo has begun to sponsor free admission between 4-8pm on Fridays at the MoMA. Typically this would cost $25. Be sure to get there early though as this tends to fill up quickly.
Many people don’t know this but the Brooklyn Museum of art is the second largest art gallery in the city. On the first Saturday of each month between 5-7 though you can also gain free admission as brought to you by Target. This is another event where you will want to be sure to show up early.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
If you’re in the mood for something a little more lively, I would suggest stopping by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Here you can witness public performances from touring artists all around the world (many of them are also locals). Don’t want to pay for a ticket though? Then be sure to stop by at 8:30 every Thursday to see what free show they are offering for the week.
These are just a few ways I’ve been able to experience more in NYC without having to increase my budget. I’m not deciding to go out less or experience less of the culture that New York is so famous for, I’m just finding new ways to redistribute my budget so that I can afford to do all of these things without having to dig into the money I’m putting into my savings every month. In order to enjoy all of the unique experiences that New York has to offer and still save money as a millennial, we need to develop the mindset that we can budget for anything, just not everything. I hope these tips will be helpful for you but I also suggest looking at your own spending habits. Where can you reduce your costs so that you can afford to do more with the same amount of money? Comment below any ideas you have that I haven’t already mentioned. I would love to hear about them.