How To Move to NYC: Tips To Save, Relocate Alone

Having some questions on your upcoming move to New York City? Want to find answers to those questions?

Moving to New York City is a huge decision to make and it is life-changing. Depending on where you are coming from, the adjustment period may be significant or not.

If you come from San Francisco or Los Angeles, the two cities have a lot of similarities, so adjusting to your new life in NYC might not that be that difficult. But it will be more challenging if you are from Texas.

Many wish to live in The City that Never Sleeps because it offers many opportunities no matter what field of work you are in. If you already have a job waiting for you that’s why you are moving there, congratulations! If you don’t have work there, but you are still moving in New York City, best of luck!

Check over the best moving companies in NYC to help you relocate in the Big Apple.

Most questions before relocating to the Empire State is about money – from the budget before moving to the expected salary when they are looking for jobs.

How Much Money Should I Save Before Moving To NYC?

New York City is a very expensive place. So, don’t be surprised if you hear several friends discouraging you from moving to The Big Apple.

If you are not familiar with the place, then I tell you, the living expenses there are significantly higher compared to other cities especially if you want to live in Manhattan.

In fact, many were surprised because they felt that their money was disappearing from their bank account without them knowing how they spent it. The change in budget will be more noticeable especially if you are relocating from Portland, Oregon, or Ashville where prices are lower.

You will need cash but your budget when moving to New York City largely depends on your lifestyle and several other factors.

🗽 You may ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you have a job lined up?
2. Do you have a place to live or share?
3. What do you do for a living?
4. Are you thrifty with your expenses?

Depending on your answers from the questions above, you’ll probably have an idea of how much you should save. If you have a job waiting for you, then you don’t have to save much because you will soon have your paycheck.

Also, it’s difficult to really say how much you need to save because there are a lot of things to consider like the exact location. For instance, the apartment fee depends on the location, in Queens, you will find cheaper rents compared in Manhattan.

To give you an idea, here’s an overview of an estimate in a budget. Here are some of the things you need to consider.

Rent

According to Rent Jungle, the average rent across housing sizes and all NYC boroughs is over $3,500 per month.

In Manhattan, luxury areas drive average prices are close to $4,200 per month while in Brooklyn the rent is around $2,700.

If you want to save more, the average rent in the outer boroughs of Staten Island, the Bronx and Queen is cheaper.

For the rent, you can save more if you share an apartment with a roommate. Most of the money you will make will probably go to rent, so share an apartment especially if you are in a tight budget.

Elena Haskins told CNBC Make It that rent is the biggest expense for her but living in New York City is worth it because there is so much opportunity in the place that she can’t imagine herself living anywhere else.

“Yes, it’s expensive, but there are places that you can live, especially for recent grads or young people or people on a budget, as long as you are balancing your money properly,” she said.

Haskins rents an apartment in Brooklyn and pays $950 a month for half of the apartment.


Transportation

You need to set a budget for transportation because you will be moving around the city. Your transportation will depend on whether you drive your own car or commute and how often you travel.

If you have your own car, you will have to spend on the garage, parking, and fuel. If you commute daily, it will be wiser if you set a budget for your daily commute. The city has an impressive subway system and it’s the cheapest mode of transportation. A one way ticket costs $2.75, so a round trip will cost you $5.50.

You can save more if you get the unlimited monthly pass for $120. The transit costs higher, but those with a lower income can qualify for a reduced fare.

Groceries

Food is also very expensive in NYC. According to Numbeo.com data from May 2019, the average cost of groceries per person for a month is about $471.34.

But the average for the U.S. as a whole is only $150.

For references, Haskins spends $340 for her food monthly. She only spends $120 for her groceries and $220 on restaurants.

But she also notes that the amount changes depending on if her friends are in town because she tends to spend more going out.

Also, she avoids delivery because she doesn’t want to pay the delivery fee.

Utilities

Your electricity might run between $150 to $200 while your cable might cost you $120 per month.

But you should also consider other expenses like your subscriptions (gym, Spotify, Netflix, more), entertainment, phone, and laundry to name a few.

In general, if you make $6,000 you can live comfortably depending on how you spend. In fact, some make it at $50,000 annually.

In fact, Haskins, who graduated in 2018 lives comfortably in New York with only $50,000 income annually. She has part-time jobs and is still paying her student loan.

“I definitely think you can live comfortably on a salary of $50,000, even in New York City,” Haskins said. “It’s an expensive city, but I think if you know where your money is going and you recognize what your priorities are, it’s totally doable.”


What Salary Do You Need To Live In NYC?

How much should you make to live comfortably in NYC? New York City is as expensive as you want.

If you know how to manage your finances and you get a decent paying job, you will get around in NYC.

For instance, take it from Haskins, she makes it with only $50,000 annually. When looking for a job, make sure that your salary can cover your expenses. Cut the wants and focus only on your needs.

For individuals, you can get by with $50,000 annually but for families, the amount will change depending on the number of individuals and the ages of the kids.

According to ZipRecruiter, as of Sept. 30, 2020, the average annual pay for the average jobs category in New York City is $73, 123 a year.

Here’s a table of the average salary in NYC.

Salary Range /Percentile25th Average75th
Annual Salary$54,294$73,123$81,168
Monthly Salary$4,524$6,094$6,764
Weekly Salary$1,044$1,406$1,561
Hourly Salary$26 $35$39

Again, the salary that you need to survive in NYC depends on your lifestyle, what you do, and how many you are in the household.

Also, the salary depends on your profession.


How Can I Move To New York By Myself?

If you are moving to New York on your own, no problem because that’s possible!

Many already did it and they were fine. But before you book a trip to NYC, you should be ready for the life that awaits you there.

Here are some moving hacks and tips that you can do to keep the move smooth and hassle-free.

Save money

Start by saving money because New York is expensive.

You need to have enough money to spend especially if you are moving there without a job waiting for you. Your budget depends on how you spend.

Minimizing your expenses is very helpful especially if you are on a tight budget. It’s best if you aim to save for a figure with at least three zeros behind it. You have to learn how to budget and live within your means to survive.

Research about the place

NYC is a large, dynamic, and culturally diverse city. It is very important that you familiarize yourself with the area before the day you move.

Also, doing this will boost your excitement and fill you with knowledge about your future home.

🗽 Check out reputable travel guides and read news about NYC to have a grasp on what’s going on in the city. You can also visit its official website: http://www1.nyc.gov

If you have the budget and time, you should visit the five boroughs of the city. Doing so will also help you decide where you want to live.


Look for a job

If you don’t have a job waiting for you in New York City, you should start sending your CV even before your moving day.

Since you are moving there on your own, you have to make sure that you won’t run out of funds and finding a job is the safest thing to do.

Your unemployment will not be fun when your money starts to dwindle.

Also, New Yorkers are often very busy and are always on the go. You should get a job soon to help you with your finances.

Here are some tips to score a job soon.

Find opportunities. Look for opportunities in areas that interest you. New York has it all from finance, banking and communication. If you are still figuring what you really want, no problem, the city is ripe with opportunity.

Use a local New York address. Preferably use your new address if you already have one.

Cover travel expenses. Offer to cover the travel expenses to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job.


Choose where you want to live

Again, NYC is a very big area and the prices of commodities differ from one borough to another.

It’s best if you make up your mind ahead where you want to live.

Here are the five boroughs that you need to familiarize with.

The Bronx. It is the home of the New York Yankees and where the hip hop genre is born. You can also find the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.

Brooklyn. This is the tourists’ favorites because it is the home of Brooklyn Bridge, Prospect Park, and Park Slope.

Manhattan. This is probably the most expensive city and where you can find the city’s most famous attractions like Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and Broadway.

Queens. The home of the New York Mets and the Queens Botanical Garden.

Staten Island. It is known for Staten Island Ferry, Historic Richmond Town, and NYC’s largest forest preserve.

You can also narrow down your choices by considering the neighborhoods

Greenwich Village. One of the most expensive neighborhoods where you can find New York University and Washington Square Park.

SoHo. The neighborhood is full of art galleries and upscale shops.

Financial District. Home of Wall Street, One World Trade Center, Federal Hall, Battery Park City and 9/11 Memorial

Meatpacking District. Home of the Chelsea Market and Whitney Museum of American Art and a prime neighborhood for fine dining and nightlife.

Tribeca. It’s among the hottest and priciest neighborhoods with a lot of warehouse buildings, luxury condos and restaurants. The neighborhood is also very safe.

Brooklyn Heights, East Village and Forest Hills are also safe but a little bit pricey too.

Once you have already decided where part of NYC you want to live, the next section will be easier for you because you will know where you want to look for an apartment.


Find an apartment

Search for an apartment in the area where you wish to live.

However, be prepared to spend more than what you initially expect because rentals in New York City are quite expensive.

When searching for an apartment consider the following:

Commute. If you will be out of your apartment regularly for work or other purposes, consider the bus stops and subway stations from your area. It’s best if the subway and bus stops are accessible from your place.

Safety. Before choosing an apartment, you have to look into the safety of the neighborhood. So, ask potential neighbors and look up crime statistics.

Sublet. Instead of leasing, you might want to consider subletting an apartment for a few months rather than signing a year lease right away. This arrangement will also allow you to save more because you don’t have to pay for a broker fee and skip the credit check portion of the apartment search.

Also, you can find sublets on Craiglist and other online listing websites. You can also search for it online or ask a friend if you know one in the area.


Facilitate your move

Moving to a new city will not be easy. And since’ it’s not easy, you have to do a lot of things to make it work.

Here is a list of to-do’s to make your relocation smooth and hassle-free.

Schedule your moving day. Set the date of your move. This is very important because you will base your other schedules on it.

If you are in a budget, moving in February is the cheapest.

Pack. Prepare weeks or months ahead before your moving day. This will free you from a lot of stress and this will also give you so much time so you won’t pack hastily and forget important items.

Work with a mover if needed. If you have a lot of things to move, you might need to book a mover company to help you handle your things. This is very important especially if you are moving by yourself and don’t have friends to help you do it.

Think about storage. If you are occupying a small space and have a lot of things, you should consider renting a storage space. If you need it, you should rent earlier because the demand for storage is higher than the supply.


Additional tips

1. Make sure your lease is the one you want.

2. Secure the locks of your door because NYC locksmiths charge hundreds of dollars for a 3-minute lock-pick job.

3. Get a good winter coat and boots because NYC is very cold during winter.

4. Find roommates in NYC to share with your apartment if it’s too expensive.

5. Keep a budget and stick with it.

6. Ask for the nearest laundry and dry cleaners because you will need it.

7. Hustle and don’t depend on one salary for survival.

8. Take advantage of free attractions and events to ease boredom.

9. Be socially active. New Yorkers are mostly busy but they are very social and friendly too.

10. Don’t overindulge because the city offers a lot of enticements.


Can I Move To NYC Without A Job?

It’s more preferable to move to NYC with a job, but if you don’t have one yet, no problem. It’s still possible to do so.

However, you need a huge amount of money to survive and keep you covered while you are job hunting.

Here are some of the things you can do when moving to NYC without a job.

Make sure you have enough savings

Again NYC is very expensive, but this may depend on your lifestyle. Some were able to make it and live comfortably at $500. Your expenses won’t stop while you look for a job, so make sure that you have enough money that can cover you for a couple of months at least.

Learn to network effectively

Once you’re in New York City, you should attend as many networking events as possible because it’s the easiest way to meet new friends and prospective employers. This is very important, especially that people prefer to hire someone who is personally recommended to them.

In New York, your networking doesn’t just depend online like cold messages on LinkedIn. You have to give it time. If you are not socially active this might be more challenging for you. In NYC, networking usually happens at bars and coffee shops.

Do not sign a lease, get a sublet

Since you have no job yet, it’s best if you sublet and not lease an apartment. A sublet is a better alternative because it is more flexible than the traditional lease.

With it, you don’t have to stay for a year because some offer a month-to-month arrangement.

Your credit score will not be examined or be affected because your credit report will not be checked unlike when you are renting.

Also, you will pay less because those who sublet are willing to settle for a lower amount to cover the rent.

Moreover, you will save more because you don’t have to pay for a lease agreement which can be overwhelming. Many landlords require first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit can be very pricey, but you don’t have to pay that much when you sublet.

Usually, sublets on caretakers only require you to pay the first month’s rent plus a security deposit and that is often negotiable.

Most importantly, sublets are not for a long-term stay, so this is the best arrangement to test out the neighborhood. This is also a great option if you don’t have a job yet and might need to relocate later.


Salary matters

By now you already have an idea how much is the average salary in NYC, you should aim for a salary that can support your needs and more.

There are many new opportunities in New York, so don’t settle for a lesser-paid job if it will make you feel underpaid.

Know what you want and pursue it. Don’t just accept any job offer unless the pay can support your standard of living.

Apply consistently.

Don’t wait for the time when you will be desperate for a job before you find one. Fill out online applications even if you don’t have employee referrals because some still scored interviews from those. In fact, many ended up having their dream jobs from those online forms.

Know what you want

Don’t just send applications, be sure that you want the job you are applying for. Also, don’t get yourself stuck waiting for hiring managers who don’t respond within a reasonable time frame.

Also, move forward from intimidating interviews. Be sure that your future job is aligned with your skills, experience, and values.

Remember this, you are selling yourself when you apply for a job and it’s important that you are honest. Searching for a job can be a humbling and empowering experience.

If you encounter a lot of rejections, it can be frustrating and annoying, but don’t lose hope. Just continue to persevere until you get what you want because it’s worth it to live in New York City!


Conclusion

Relocating to New York City is fun, exciting, and definitely life-changing. It might not be easy at first but it is doable.

In fact, you can do it yourself just to make sure that you already have an apartment and enough savings to cover your expenses because it’s really expensive in NYC.

Also, there are millions of people in The Big Apple but it can still be isolating if you don’t know anyone in the area, so you should prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Be socially active and immerse yourself.

If you are looking for a job don’t lose heart if ever you’ll encounter several rejections because that’s normal in NYC. Live your dream and fight for it, you are meant to live in NYC!