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A Guide to Cost of Living in New York City



A Guide to Cost of Living in New York City

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Our best guess is, anyone who’s asked whether they wish to live in New York won’t say no. After all, the financial, media, and cultural center offers a host of opportunities and amenities that people find hard to refuse. However, everything usually comes with a price, and NYC is no exception. Whether you’ve lived in the city or not, you know very well that the cost of living is a cause for concern. Let’s face it; rent isn’t going to be your only expense. Therefore, if you end up spending more than half of your income on rent, how would you make ends meet? So, the first to-do on your list would be to set a budget that includes the types of expenses you’re likely to incur while living in the city. We’ve made a list of all the possible costs you may end up paying for as a new city resident.

1. Rental expenses in NYC

New York City is renowned for many things, and one of them is its ridiculously high rental rates. If you wish to know about the average rent for the entire city, it might be a little tricky to share a number because one, the city’s huge, and two, it’s split into boroughs that are equally large and resemble counties. The rental rates differ depending on the borough and the neighborhood. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan would be at least twice the rent for a similar unit in the Bronx. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a room for rent in New York that meets your budget.

What’s also important is the city rent trends. Rent prices have reduced significantly because of the global pandemic, but they’re increasing gradually and will take time to get back to the older rates. Presently, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $1601, and it’s $1685 for a two-bedroom one. Finding roommates in New York is an excellent option to cut costs and save money, but be sure to take necessary precautions considering the current situation. When rental rates are so high, housing prices go through the roof! So, more than 60 percent of the people stay in rented spaces.

Finally, if you find a decent room for rent in New York in any of the boroughs besides Manhattan, you shouldn’t have a problem getting by.

2. Food and grocery expenses in NYC

We don’t have to tell you that NYC offers a multitude of global cuisines and has some of the finest restaurants you could ever imagine. That said, let’s not forget the eateries that serve comfort food at low prices, at least compared to the city’s living standards.

So, you need to decide whether you’re going to have all your meals outside or split it between eating out and cooking meals at home. Should you choose to eat out, you might have to spend around $115 for a two-person meal, possibly involving three courses. Among the cheaply-prices eateries we referred to earlier, you have the food stalls and carts all across the city, and if you have to pay only $5 for a hot dog, soda, and chips, it seems like money well spent, although fast food is far from being a healthy option.

New York City

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As far as cooking a meal at home’s concerned, you need to dish out around $3690 per year and that amounts to $307.50 monthly, for groceries. If you have a family (four members) to feed, the costs soar to about $10,806 a year, which comes down to $900.50 a month. Pretty expensive, huh? The most practical reason for such high food prices is that restaurants and stores need to make rent for the structures that house them and pay their workers’ wages. Needless to say, the rents are pretty steep compared to many other cities in the United States.

The silver lining is there are reasonable options not just for food but for groceries as well. If you have a budget in mind, drop by Aldi for your groceries and you won’t be disappointed. If you feel the need to splurge a bit, check out Wegmans, a fairly new supermarket chain in the city.

3. Travel expenses in NYC

In a city with as high a cost of living as New York City, everything you pay for will be pricier than in other cities, although there are ways to save money.

City residents might have been living their worst nightmare if the public transit system hadn’t been so well-established. It’s one of the primary reasons why most people don’t own a vehicle and are completely dependent on the system that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Besides the transportation system, the biggest in the United States, residents also travel to work by biking or on foot.

A single resident will end up spending $4332 on travel expenses per year, while someone with a family (four people to be exact, including two children) will have to spend $11,773. The subway system in the city has a MetroCard that people use to pay for their rides. If you get a monthly pass made, you only have to fork over $127, which is cheap. Ultimately, you end up spending $1524 a year, and you get to use the subway and the buses any number of times!

In a word, while a car may be a convenient way of getting around, insurance and parking costs don’t make it a worthwhile investment.

4. Cost of utilities

To survive in NYC, you need to dish out around an average of $273.04 every month, which totals $3276.48 annually. Utilities generally include water, electricity, and gas. While calculating the cost of utilities, remember to consider internet and mobile phone services. As far as numbers go, a resident needs to shell out $94 for mobile phone services, but pay less than half for internet services. Internet services require a resident to pay $45. So, overall an additional $139 is essential to cover utility expenses.

In summary, your utility costs may differ based on the housing type, terms and conditions in your lease, and your choices as far as consumption’s concerned.

5. Entertainment and fitness expenses

If you’re single, you might spend $1702 on fitness and entertainment per year. For someone with a family, the expenses are more than double and amount to $3879 annually.

If you think working out in a gym can help you meet your fitness goals, be prepared to spend at least $107.90 on gym membership every month! If you think saving money’s more important, you can work out at home with a few apps and instruments. An alternative to working out at home is visiting a park close by to walk or to jog. In NYC, with more than 1700 parks, that’s far from being a problem!

Cost of Living in New York City

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Since you’re looking to spend as little as possible on all your expenses, we’re sure you’d like to find economical ways to have fun too. To begin with, you can spend some quality time in the beauty of nature at the parks we referred to earlier. For cinephiles, the price of a ticket to a movie totals $15.25 in Midtown. Leisure activities that fit your budget include visiting the numerous museums in the city, though you’ll have to pay the admission fee. Most museums have a day per week or month assigned to free admissions or lower fees, so make the most of it. Look out for discounts on Broadway shows too, because at times, they have a lottery system, and if you’re lucky, you might get to watch a random show at a very nominal price!

If you’re into sports, you could catch a New York Knicks game for $190 or even a Brooklyn Nets game for $87.

6. Healthcare expenses

The fact that healthcare is crucial is lost on many people. So, be sure to include healthcare costs in your relocation budget.

If it’s a company-funded health insurance policy, a resident in NYC dishes out $2935 per year, and a family (four members) pays more than double the figure annually. The city’s taken the pains to set up several health clinics that offer services at a very low price; many times, it’s also free. To know more about the range of healthcare options, you should browse through the city’s Health Department website. For those interested in private insurance, access the site to determine the coverage you need.

7. Salary requirements in NYC

All said and done, to live in the “City That Never Sleeps,” without any financial hassles, it’s essential to earn an income that’s preferably three times more than the rent, minus the taxes. And in NYC, that’s a lot of money.

Also, potential tenants might like to remember that some property management companies in NYC have a condition that requires tenants to earn at least 40 times the rent per month! Therefore, it’s imperative to check the salary specifications that such organizations put forth before applying for a rental room in New York City.

So, do you feel confident or hesitant to move to the Big Apple? We understand your apprehensions, but we must add here that though it may be challenging to live in a big-budget city like New York, the opportunities, the inclusivity, the energy, and the feel make it all the more worthwhile!

This guest article was written by Jane Patrick. Jane is a student at the University of California, and also a part-time content curator for Cirtru. She enjoys writing about real estate, digital marketing, trending technologies, and evolving lifestyle on diverse platforms. When she isn’t working, you can find her experimenting with a new recipe in her kitchen, exploring a new corner, or watching Netflix.

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