3 Tips to Help You Save Money When Moving to a Big CitySaturday, July 23, 2016
Big cities have a lot of things going for them. From thriving job markets and a myriad of housing options to activities for every member of your family, life in a metropolis can be exciting and fulfilling. However, big cities are also infamous for their higher costs of living.
If you are considering a move to a big city and are nervous about how it will impact your wallet, take heed. With some careful planning, it is possible to live a budget-friendly life in a major metropolis.
Shop Around for Housing
While you might dream of owning a home in a big city, renting often makes more financial sense. Renting an apartment or condo is a great way for you to try out life in a big city as well as a certain neighborhood without the huge financial commitment of buying a house. Rent varies quite a bit in big cities and it’s worth taking the time to shop around for the best neighborhoods and deals.
A great place to start is on a website like ForRent.com because it lets you input your budget and other requirements. For example, if you are considering a move to Chicago, the site has listings for over 1,100 rentals in the area, including pricier downtown apartments as well as those in the more budget-friendly suburbs.
Resist Eating out and Shopping for Fun
Big cities are a dream world for shopaholics, but a couple of shopping sprees can easily decimate your budget. Resist going shopping for fun and take advantage of websites like Craigslist or Freecycle for needed items instead. Since groceries and restaurant meals tend to cost more in major cities, cut back on eating out as much as you can and use the local supermarket sales ads to plan your weekly meals. Even if your usual weekly grocery budget does not stretch as far in a big city, it will still be cheaper to cook up a big pot of spaghetti and meatballs or grill chicken and potatoes than order takeout.
When you do treat your family to a restaurant meal, stick with local mom-and- pop eateries that serve famous local fare. For example, in Los Angeles look for the authentic taco shops and in New York choose a bagel bakery or pizzeria that sells by the slice.
Consider Giving up Your Car
It can be hard to fathom not having a car, but depending on which big city you are moving to, saying farewell to your vehicle can make a lot of sense. Parking can cost a huge amount of money and most large cities have incredible public transportation systems. For example, San Francisco’s BART trains can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go in the Bay Area. New York also is famous for its subways, buses and ferries. Check out the MetroCard and its unlimited monthly pass that lets you go anywhere in the city with unlimited transfers.
Many big cities have neighborhoods that were designed with walking in mind. You might find that the grocery store and your kids’ schools are located within minutes from your new place. For weekend trips out of town and toting home large items for your home, you can always rent a car if need be.