The Reality Of Living In New York City In Your 20s

New York City Reality

As a 20-something living in NYC, I’m well aware of the financial challenges young adults face living in this city. Yes, it’s one of the most exciting places to live in the entire world. But it’s also one of the most unforgiving cities to live in.

I know many 20-somethings who dream of living in the Big Apple. We’re mesmerized by the bright lights, shiny buildings and fast pace. But behind all of that is a tough reality. It’s one thing to survive in this city but it’s a whole other thing to thrive. So what does it really take to live in New York City for a 20-something? Let’s take a look at the reality of it.

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11 Money Saving Life Hacks for City Living

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Moving to live in the city can be one of the most exciting experiences in a person’s life. If you have never experienced city living, you are in for a fantastic time. The culture, art scene and array of restaurants will keep you busy. However, it is also important to realise that living in a city can quickly become expensive.

Following these 11 money saving tips can help ensure that you succeed financially and do not make a major dent on your wallet.
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How To Rent An Apartment As A Freelancer

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This month, I’m embarking on something I’ve dreaded for the past 3 years: finding a new apartment in NYC. My BF and I are ready to move on from our current place. We thought about buying for awhile but it just didn’t work out for us. So we’re renting again. While it’s exciting to get a new place, it can be seriously be frustrating too…especially in NYC. This is the first time I’m going to be renting as a freelancer. If you’ve ever rented in NYC, you know that it can be quite an adventure getting approved for an apartment. You have to make 40x the rent, have good credit, give a huge security deposit, and hand over your first born child. It’s going to be even more of a headache for me as a freelancer. I’m certainly not the ideal renter since I don’t have a stable paycheck. If you’re in the same boat, here are some tips I can share with you:

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Apartment Hunting In NYC Is Depressing

I always seem to be apartment, condo, or house hunting. Since we have a very flexible lease on our current place, we’re always considering our options, whether it’s renting or buying. If we somehow came upon a great deal in the NYC area and are able to snatch it up, we’d be ready to move in a heartbeat.

However, looking at available apartments in NYC is getting more and more depressing. It would be amazing if we could find a 1 bedroom or large studio near transportation and below $1800 a month (or even $2000 a month!) but that really doesn’t look like a reality unless we want to live really far away from the subway, in a closet, or all the way uptown. Don’t believe me? Here’s my compilation of the less-than-appealing places I’ve come across lately.

1. $1830/ month: Studio on the Upper East Side – Paying almost $2k a month won’t even get you a proper bathroom. This sink doesn’t look like it retains water very well…

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Why I Choose To Live in The Land of the Overpriced (a.k.a NYC)

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For the holidays, I had two whole weeks off (plus a snow day). Normally, with so much free time on my hands, I would try to plan a trip somewhere warm and sunny. Well, now that I’m a little more frugal with my money, I decided to do a stay-cation and explore New York City a bit. I’ve lived here all my life but I’ve never done some of the more “touristy” things this city is known for.

My two weeks wandering around the city, getting together with friends and enjoying the good food really reminded me of how much I enjoy living here. Obviously, for someone who wants to save, living in a city with such a high cost of living seems stupid.  I see a lot of talk in the PF blogosphere about why it’s a good idea to move somewhere cheaper. But for me, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Here’s why:

1. I want to be close to my friends and family.

This is probably the single most important reason why I live in NYC – my friends and family. All of my family and most of my friends reside in the NY area. I’m at my parents house at least once a week and I’m in touch with my friends constantly. They’re a huge support system for me and I just couldn’t imagine living far way from away from them. Maybe I still have a some more growing up to do and maybe one day I’ll want to try living somewhere completely different just for the experience. But now and at least the foreseeable future, I’d like to call home wherever my loved ones are. It’s something you really can’t put a price on.

2. There’s a lot more career opportunities.

I work in eCommerce and even though I can’t really say I want to do it forever, I do know that at least for now, being in NYC really helps my career. I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today if I wasn’t living in NYC. The cost of living in NYC is a lot but I’m also making more than I would anywhere else. Another option for me would be San Francisco but that would be 3,000 away from my reason #1 and it’s pretty darn expensive there too.

3. There’s a little bit of something for everyone…all the time.

I like to explore and I’ve never been to a place that’s quite like NYC. There’s a little bit of everything for every one. There’s so much diverse culture, art and entertainment that I’m not sure if I would ever really be able to fully explore everything this city has to offer. There’s always a million and one things going on and while that can drive some people nuts, I thrive off that.

4. It’s very convenient. 

I love the convenience of being able to take the subway everywhere I ago, grab a bit to eat 24/7, or watch a movie at 1 am. Yes, a bit unnecessary but I love it.

It’s kind of hard to write down every single thing I love about NYC but I think that’s my top four. I get what I pay for in some case and in other cases, I don’t. It does get really expensive, particularly rent, and I’m always amazed by how much something can cost, like a plain ol’ cup of coffee. At the same time, I think NYC can be affordable if you just do your research. For instance, some of the neighborhoods in the outer boroughs can be much cheaper (rent, groceries, everything) and still be right on a subway line…which can get you into the city in 20 mins. The great thing about NYC is that there are so many options, which can certainly get overwhelming but still, options are nice to have. I really do think it’s possible to live in NYC and not go broke. You just have to be smart about it.

If you don’t live in NYC, would you ever consider it? If you do, what do you love about the city?