People move to the big city for job opportunities and cultural experiences. The opportunities are exciting and expensive at the same time. Items like city taxes and increased car insurance take a toll on your finances. As a result, you need methods to decrease your costs. Here are five smart ways to save money when you live in a big city.
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1. Make A Budget
There are two ways to spend money — on a budget or through feelings. The latter allows you to make excuses. You may think you’ve spent too much money on plays but still attend them because they make you feel good.
Conversely, budgets are physical entities that reveal where you typically spend money. When you see the amounts, you can decide how much you’re okay with spending on restaurants, theaters, bars, etc. In the end, a budget is the best way to plan for emergencies and pleasures.
Give yourself some rollover opportunities when preparing your budget. For instance, if there are events you want to attend, look at your discretionary accounts and see if forgoing something else works for you. If you can hold off on home decorations for a month, move the funds to your entertainment budget.
2. Live Below Your Means
Living in a big city can stir up underlying jealousy. After you see your friend’s apartment, you might want to upgrade. The life of dining your co-worker embraces may urge you to overspend.
Don’t embrace these urges to live like others because it will lead to your economic downfall. Always live below your means. While you have the money to get a better apartment, think of getting one that’s not as expensive as your friend’s unit. Further, limit your dining experiences for special occasions.
3. Don’t Drive
Avoid driving your vehicle if you live in the big city. First, you avoid joining other citizens, tourists, and commuters in a mass of automobiles. Second, you reduce parking frustrations and costs related to increased insurance rates.
Use public transportation where possible. Places like New York and Chicago have extensive train and bus routes that get you from one side of the city to another. Usually, a monthly pass costs less than a parking pass.
If you need to go out of the city or even anywhere around the city you live in, consider hiring a personal driver. Not only does it reduce tension, but it also helps you save money on gas.
Those who must drive should consider a car-sharing service. It’s similar to a rental agency; however, you’re charged less. Furthermore, you can use the car for a few hours or a few days. Another advantage is these cars are available across the city instead of in a single storefront.
4. Participate In Free Activities
An advantage of a big city is there’s always an event no matter the time of year. You’d be surprised at how many of them are of little to no cost. On top of this, city museums usually offer free days where exhibits are to the public.
If crowds aren’t your thing, take a walk in your neighborhood or an undiscovered one. Explore those areas like a tourist by partaking in free tours. Head to the local park or the lakefront/riverfront for some fresh air.
There are several places to look for these events. Local social media groups promote these to increase interest. Your city’s tourism website also has a comprehensive of upcoming events.
5. Bring Coffee And Lunch To Work
A good chunk of money doesn’t come from dinner or movies. It’s the amount you spend while at work. Buying daily coffee and lunch can cost up to $100 a week. That’s nearly $5000 a year.
Forget that barista-prepared iced coffee and deli sandwich. Prep your lunches at home ahead of time. Next, leave time each morning to make coffee and breakfast. By doing this, you save money for times when your colleagues want to head out for coffee or lunch.
There are several smart ways to save money when you live in a big city. Overall, you can’t get overwhelmed by everything the area offers. Get settled into your home and job before you start exploring your surroundings. Then, when you meet people, ask for their suggestions on how they save money.