Ask a Wag Lauren Dewey Part of NYC

4 Ways to Budget in the Big Apple

Everyone knows that New York City is expensive. Whether it’s spending money on food, clothes or transportation––a day in the city can really leave a dent in your wallet. Coming from a small town in Maine, I was excited to spend all the free time I could in the city, but had to learn the hard way that it can be expensive if you don’t find ways to budget. Here are a few quick tips on how to take on the Big Apple on a budget.

Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

One day at the end of April when I was walking through Central Park, I found myself desperately searching for water. Finding the nearest location selling water bottles, I reluctantly bought one that came out to be over $4.00! That may not sound too bad, but buying plastic water bottles each trip to the city can really do some damage on your wallet over time. With this being said, I highly suggest investing in a reusable water bottle. Not only do reusable water bottles save a lot of money, but they’re also a lot better for the environment! I suggest getting Brita water bottle. You can fill them up anywhere, and it filters the water as you drink from it!


Find Free Events to Attend

New York City is notorious for its constant hustle and bustle. It’s dubbed “the city that never sleeps” for a good reason; there is something going on in the Big Apple pretty much all the time. Though a lot of events cost money, there are actually a lot of things to attend free of charge as well! Just search “Free events in New York City” on the Eventbrite app or on Google, and there will be a list of various events for you to browse through. Another thing to keep in mind is that many of the museums in the city have certain days and times where there is free entry. Many also go by the “pay what you wish policy.” To check out more details regarding when certain museums are free, check them out here.

Something else that is always free is taking a walk through the parks. Central Park is a classic, and Washington Square Park is great for watching live performers and taking in the artsy vibe of the NYU area. Sometimes a day spent walking through a park and taking in the diversity and culture is just as fulfilling as spending money on expensive events.


Locate the nearest 99c Pizza Shop

These places have been a lifesaver for me. When I find myself extremely hungry after a long day in the city, but don’t feel like spending more money than I have to on food, I go to Google Maps and locate the nearest 99c Pizza shop. Luckily, there a lot of these conveniently dispersed throughout the city and you usually don’t have to travel very far to find one. For one decently-sized slice, it’s only 99c ($1.08 with tax) and those hunger pains are alleviated until you get back to campus. You can also get two slices and a drink for only $3.00! That’s a whole meal for less than $5.00! It’s always nice to take advantage of your meal swipes on campus, but when you aren’t around during mealtime, a $5.00 pizza and drink combo is your best bet if you want to save money in the city.


Go to Thrift Stores or Clothing Swaps

Since coming to New York, I have noticed that so many thrift stores here are crazy expensive compared to those in my small hometown. After trying out a variety of places, I had the best luck in Brooklyn. Conveniently located a short walk from each other, L Train Vintage and Beacon’s Closet in the Park Slope area are two great locations for thrifted goodies. Here you can find vintage Levi’s, faux fur coats, and everything in between. Le Point Value Thrift is another hidden gem located in Bushwick right next to another cool vintage shop called Urban Jungle. Anything you could possibly be looking for can be found at these places at a much cheaper price than fast fashion stores. Not only are thrift stores in Brooklyn cheaper than fast fashion shops like Zara or Forever 21, but they are also cheaper than many vintage locations in Manhattan and have a much wider selection of items.

Another cool way to save money on clothes is by attending clothing swaps. These events are a great way to add a new and unique clothing item to your wardrobe while also donating that old sweater that’s been laying untouched on the floor of your room for a year. Clothing swaps are great for college-students on a budget to save money and meet new people all in one event. Keep your eye out for more clothing swaps by checking up on this website.

Obviously the best way to save money in the city is to just stay in. However, with the Big Apple just a short ferry ride away, Wagner’s extended campus is something that everyone easily has access to and should take advantage of. Yes,a lot of things are expensive, but just by using these few simple tips, a lot of money can be saved. I promise you’ll thank me in the long run!