12 Ways to Save Money in New York City

Here are some tips for how you and your family can live well and spend less in the Big Apple.

March 09, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

It’s no secret that New York City is an expensive place to live, especially if you have kids. Here are some ways you can save money on the things you need.

Food

If feeding your family is a major expense, New York City has some resources that can make it easier.

Farmer Markets in NYC
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Farmers’ Markets. Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables at GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets. Some are open all year round, and all sell farm-fresh, in-season local foods that are healthier and often cheaper than grocery store produce.

Community Meals for Kids in NYC
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Community Meals. Many local churches and community spaces are open to hungry New Yorkers. Click here to see a map of places you can go with your family when you need a meal. No Kid Hungry also offers free meals all summer to children ages 18 and younger. Find a Summer Meals site here.

Low Cost Food in NYC
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Shop Outer Boroughs. If you can, do your grocery shopping outside of Manhattan, where food prices are high. Don’t spend money on bottled drinks like soda, juice, and water. NYC’s tap water is safe to drink and better for you than sugary beverages. Plus, it’s free.

Cook at Home to Save Money on Food
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Make Your Own. You can also save money by making food like applesauce, salad dressing, and pasta sauce at home. Find healthy, easy recipes here.

Getting Around

Are you paying a bundle to get around the city every day? Take advantage of these lower-cost options.

Discount MetroCards for New Yorkers
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Reduced-fare MetroCards. The NYC MTA offers reduced-fare MetroCards to students, people ages 65 and older, and those living with a disability.

If you are a senior citizen, you can apply for a reduced-fare MetroCard here. If you have a disability, apply here. This discount lowers your cost per ride from $2.75 to $1.35.

Student MetroCards are provided to eligible students at no cost and allow up to three free bus and subway rides on schooldays between 5:30am and 8:30pm. Your child can request a discounted MetroCard from his or her school at the start of each semester.

Type of MetroCard Cost You’ll save money at… Buy if you use the MTA…
30-day Unlimited $116.50 38 rides per month and more More than once a day every day
OR
Twice every weekday
7-day Unlimited $31.00 11 rides per week and more Fewer than four weeks per month
AND
More than once a day
OR
Twice on weekdays
Pay-Per-Ride $2.75
OR
$2.45 when you spend $5.50 or more
10 rides per week and fewer Twice a day on weekdays
OR
Once a day every day
OR
Ten times per week
OR
Less

Pay Ahead. You can save money on bus and subway trips by knowing how many trips you’ll need to take and paying for them ahead of time.

The cost per ride is $2.75, but the MTA gives a bonus of $1.10 for every $10.00 spent. MetroCards with unlimited rides will cost you less per ride on every ride when used over a certain number of times. Use the grid above to choose which type of MetroCard is the best for your budget.

Save Money by Biking in NYC
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Bike. Citibike is a low-cost option for short commutes. At $2.50 per 45-minute ride, Citibike costs less than the subway. A year of Citibike costs $149 ($12.42 per month) and allows you as many rides lasting up to 45-minutes as you want.

Save Money by Walking in NYC
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Walk. Your cheapest option for transport is also your healthiest. Walking is free and good for your health. Thirty minutes of walking per day can lower your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more. Skip one subway ride a day and walk instead. Your body (and your budget) will thank you.

Family Items and Fun

If you don’t have a big budget, that doesn’t mean you have to forget about family fun. You can save money on the things you need and the things you like to do at these New York City spots.

Used Clothing for New Yorkers
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Clothing Closets. Pay less for family necessities by getting gently used or donated items. Depending on your income, you may be able to pick up baby bottles, cribs, children’s clothing, winter coats, shoes, and more for little or no cost from these churches and centers.

Free Fun Programs for Kids in New York City
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Outdoor Fun for Kids. NYC Parks offers fun, free educational programs for kids year-round all over the city. If your kids love to be outside, New York City playgrounds are always free and open during daylight hours.

Free Museums in NYC
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Indoor Fun for Kids. You don’t have to keep your kids cooped up at home on a rainy day. Many museums in the city offer free admission for kids and families. You can find a list of them here.

The New York Public Library system reaches all five boroughs. When the weather is bad, bring your kids to your local library and practice reading together.

Free Fitness Classes in NYC
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Free Fitness. If you’re looking to get healthy on a budget, New York has resources for that, too. Shape Up NYC offers tons of free fitness classes for adults, kids, and entire families at hundreds of locations.


© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

Sources
“Six smart ways to save on groceries,” NY Daily News. October 8, 2013. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/smart-ways-save-groceries-article-1.1479614

“Student MetroCards,” NYC Department of Education. Accessed December 4, 2015. http://www.optnyc.org/ServicesAndEligibility/metrocards.htm

“The Incredible Results You Get From Walking 30 Minutes A Day,” Prevention. November 3, 2015. http://www.prevention.com/fitness/benefits-walking-every-day

Pin It on Pinterest