Reducing your expenses is one of the best ways to improve the way you manage your finances. However, sometimes it’s easier said than done. If you live in a big city or an expensive area with a higher cost of living, it may seem like it’s nearly impossible to scale down your budget and cut your expenses.
According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, some of the priciest cities in the U.S. to reside in include:
- Manhattan, NY:
- Brooklyn, NY
- Honolulu, HI
- San Francisco, CA
- Queens, NY
- Stanford, CT
- Orange County, CA
- Washington D.C., MD
While some people feel most comfortable in the suburbs or a rural area, others are drawn to the city and are happiest when living there. Large cities often have the best entertainment options, the highest paying jobs and some of the best colleges and universities.
This also makes the cost of living pretty expensive. If you live in a larger, more expensive city, you don’t necessarily have to move and leave your family and friends in order to get your finances in order. Contrary to popular belief, it is very possible to cut your expenses while living in a pricey city.
Live with a Roommate
Housing will no doubt be your largest expense if you rent or own in a large city. No matter where you live, you should always aim to keep your housing expenses below 30% of your income. Anything more can just lead you on the path to feeling financially trapped and unstable with the disposable income you have leftover to meet your other needs.
You can cut down on this expense by getting a roommate and splitting the housing expenses or renting out a room in your home. Find someone who you feel comfortable sharing your living space with and enjoy the savings. Some people even have two or three roommates to help share the cost of rent, utilities and other bills and household expenses.
Having a roommate is one of the best ways to help put more money back in your pocket and cut your housing expenses drastically while allowing you to still live in your favorite area.
Use Public Transportation
If you live in a large or even mid-sized city or town, odds are there is a reliable public transportation system in place. One of the benefits of living is the city is not having to drive far to get to common places. Everything is usually either within walking distance or fairly nearby and public transportation is pretty cheap.
Taking the train or bus is an easy and relaxing way to get around town and explore the city. Buses run through high traffic areas frequently so it helps limit the amount of time you’d have to wait to get to your destination. Public transportation will help cut back on the cost of maintaining a car along with paying for fuel, auto insurance, and parking. City parking is extremely expensive so not having a car can be a big benefit and it can save you quite a bit of money each month as well.
Take Advantage of Free Entertainment
One of the benefits of living in the city is the fact that there is always something fun to do. As a suburban girl, I have to admit sometimes it gets a little boring in my town and I’m always lurking on event websites in search of things to do. When you live in a big city, you don’t have to look far when it comes to having fun.
Before you open your wallet, check out the free museums, shows and festivals that are going on in your area. There are tons of free things to do from visiting street fairs and art gallery openings to attending free concerts and movie screenings.
Look For Deals
Coupons and discounts can go a very long way. In a large city, there are often more retailers and that means more discounts. When you go somewhere, always check to see if there’s a Groupon or LivingSocial deal that you can apply. This will help outings like dining out be less hectic on your wallet.
You can also find a ton of online coupons and rebates to use if you shop online for clothes, accessories, toiletries etc. Shopping online can help you get a better deal on goods and if you have Amazon Prime you won’t need to pay for shipping at all.
Shop at the Farmer’s Market
When you go grocery shopping, food prices may be more expensive depending on where you live, but the local farmer’s market is definitely an event you can take advantage of. The farmer’s market allows you to buy quality fresh produce and goods at extremely affordable prices.
You can check out localharvest.org to find the best markets near you. They mostly occur during the spring and summer seasons. Most events are sponsored by organizations so you may even be able to volunteer to help in exchange for some free food items or an even better discount. Either way, you’ll save a ton on food and walk away with some remarkable fresh items as well.
Have you ever lived in a large city or do you currently live in one? What are your favorite ways to save money and cut expenses while living in your town?