New York is a fast-paced city full of culture and arts, career opportunities, world-class cuisine, and non-stop entertainment at every turn. In this city of immigrants, a native New Yorker is a rare find. For decades, people have moved here from all over the country and even from around the world to have a better life, jumpstart their careers, attend one of the city’s prestigious universities, or just immerse themselves in the Big Apple’s electrifying energy.
Though there are many reasons to move to New York City and many more things to love about it, there is one sobering fact to consider before you pack up and move here. It’s expensive. This densely-populated metropolis is one of the most expensive in the U.S., so you can expect to pay more on just about everything – from basic foodstuffs to rent. While for most, the love of the city outweighs the cost of living, it’s still smart to consider the best ways to save money if you’re planning to move here. From strategically planning the timing of your move to tips for saving after you’ve gotten settled in, here are 8 ideas to make your move to NYC cheaper:
1. Carefully Consider When to Move
Everyone is clamoring to move during the summer months when the weather is more pleasant and school’s out. If you can, try to time your move during the moving off-season. Most moving companies aren’t as busy between October and March, so you might be able to negotiate a lower rate on your move. These slow months are also a better time to hunt for an apartment since again, fewer renters are on the prowl. More on this next.
2. Hire a Local Real Estate Agent
The New York apartment scene is notoriously cut-throat, and if you’re not familiar with the local real estate market, you might want to call in the help of a seasoned veteran. While there is a smattering of “no-fee” apartment buildings in the city, in many cases, renting in NYC means coughing up the extra dough for a broker’s fee. The typical broker’s fee ranges from a month’s rent to up to 15% of the annual rental amount and is paid by you to the broker representing the landlord. If you hire an agent, they get to do all the legwork of finding an apartment for you for a cut of the broker’s fee you’d likely be paying anyway.
3. Use an Experienced NYC Mover
Between contending with traffic and no parking zones and your landlord’s move-in rules, moving in Manhattan can be a serious pain. While hiring a professional mover might cost a bit more than doing-it-yourself, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy, and stress. Most movers charge an hourly rate for moves within the city, but with Imperial, you can request a cheap flat fee rate so you’ll know exactly how much your move will cost.
4. Find Free Moving Supplies
If you’re sticking to a tight moving budget, one of the easiest ways to save cash is by finding free moving supplies. Save up all those boxes from your online shopping, scoop up additional boxes from nearby grocery or liquor stores, or ask friends and family who have recently moved for their used boxes. You can additionally save by using materials laying around the house, like t-shirts and towels, to wrap up fragile items.
5. Take a Tax Deduction
This one’s a twofer deal. Whether you’re moving locally or long distance, the final price of your move comes down to how much stuff you’re moving. By getting rid of those stacks of books you never read and outdated clothes you never wear now, you’ll cut down on the overall cost of your move. Plus, you can donate your unwanted items to a non-profit and reap the benefits of a nice tax deduction.
Speaking of tax deductions, you might want to the check out the IRS rules to determine whether your moving expenses are deductible. If you are relocating to start a new job or transfer to a different office, and your employer isn’t reimbursing you, you may be entitled to take a deduction for your moving expenses. Check out this insightful article from the IRS for more information.
6. Don’t Shy Away from the Outer Boroughs
While we’d all love to live in a penthouse overlooking Central Park, living in Manhattan may simply not be in your budget. Because of the sky-high Manhattan rents, the outer boroughs (the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island) are becoming more and more popular, even for those who still work in downtown Manhattan. There are lots of great up-and-coming neighborhoods you might want to check out in outer boroughs that still offer lots of walkable shopping and restaurants, but with more affordable housing options. Plus, thanks to NYC’s great public transportation commuting to Manhattan is still a breeze.
7. Find a Roommate or Two
It’s not uncommon for New Yorkers to live with at least one roommate, if not two or three, to cut down on the exorbitant rent costs. Even if you don’t know anyone in the city, there are lots of services out there to help you find a roommate. Read these helpful tips on finding an NYC roommate from Urban Edge.
8. Do Free Stuff
Once you’ve found an apartment and moved everything in, save money on entertainment by finding free things to do! From cozying up with a book at the impressive New York City Library to touring the Brooklyn Brewery to free yoga in one of NYC’s many parks, there are myriad free attractions to keep you occupied in the Big Apple.