I was recently contacted by Dollar Shave Club, who shave time and money for anyone needing razors, and asked to share some of the ways I shave time and money in my own life. Since I live in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the world, I'm all about finding ways to shave a little money here and there. Here are a few of tips for doing just that!
Cook for Yourself (or at Least Eat Cheap)
After rent, my biggest expenditure every single month is eating out. It's no surprise: NYC is a culinary capital of the world, and I'm a big fan of eating delicious meals. It's one of my favorite ways to socialize. But, it can be just as delicious and just as fun to make your own. With tons of specialty grocery stores and a flourishing farmers market community, no ingredient is out of your reach. Or, if you must go out, do it smart. NYMag has a great annual list of Cheap Eats and NYHappyHours.com allows you to sort through some of the best happy hours in the city by date. There are great places to go out on the cheap - find them!
This town has one of the best public transportation systems in the world. Use it! For $2.50, you can get to the beach, to major art museums, even to major airports to carry you off to the skies. And, to work. Not only will your commute likely be significantly faster, it will definitely be significantly cheaper if you take the subway or bus. Unless your company is paying for it and the roads are empty, there's pretty much no reason to take a cab in New York. (No, not even if it's raining!)
Go to Free Events
I think it's common to feel like everything in NYC costs a fortune. Broadway tickets can cost well over $100 each. Going to the top of the Empire State Building costs almost $50. The MoMA charges $25 per person to see their incredible collection. BUT. There are ways to avoid this, and if you're going to live in NYC and you don't work on Wall St., it's imperative that you do. The trick is to do a little research. Almost all museums in NYC have a free day or hours when you can visit without paying a dime. You can see so much theater at great prices with a student ID or rush tickets. All the libraries offer free lectures and classes. Many parks have free movie nights. If you can take the time, you can easily find something free and fun to do every night of the week. A good place to start looking is ClubFreeTime.com.
Shop at Thrift Stores
One of the benefits to being surrounded by the ultra-rich is that eventually, they have to get rid of their clothes. That's where you come in. Scour the thrift stores in fancier neighborhoods. It might take some time, but you're sure to find some gorgeous wares for a fraction of the cost of the originals. Focus on getting the highest quality you can, because you can often have minor repairs and adjustments made, and still save tons. My top picks are Housing Works and Buffalo Exchange, but there are many, many more to sift through for gems.
Save on Your Gym
I'm slowly becoming a bit of a health nut, so my gym is a major priority for me, and it definitely comes at a cost. I've budgeted for it (and I use a discount offered through my employer - definitely check to see if yours does the same), so I'm okay with how much I spend, but there are definitely some ways to get your fitness on at a cheaper price. At a NYC Recreation Center, gym memberships are only $150 for a whole
year, and there are a number of Planet Fitnesses where you can join for $10 a month. For completely free workouts, many churches have free sessions, and there are a number of pay-as-you-wish yoga studios around town. My personal favorite exercise, running, can be done for free in any of our 1700 parks, or plenty of running stores offer free running groups you can join.
With a little effort and time, you'll find you have more money in
savings, even if there's not much you can do to lower your crazy rent! How do you save money in your city? Do you use a subscription service like the Dollar Shave Club?