Save Money While Living in New York City

Learn these tips for living on less in big cities such as taking public transportation, preparing meals at home, and getting the best apartment rental for your money. Originally titled "How I Survive In The City" in the May/June 1970 issue of Mother Earth News.

| May/June 1970

  • NYC
    Tom McNamara shares tips for living cheaply in the city.
    Photo by Fotolia/D.aniel

  • NYC

Why even try to survive in the city? Everybody knows the green fields of nature is where it's at. So why stick it out where the air is sooty, the noise is obnoxious and there's a distinct possibility of getting robbed or worse?

Because it's exciting, for one reason. Because you have friends not yet as free (even) as you. Because, if you know how, you can live very well for very little in the one of the biggest and best of the world's cities. And because there's nothing to keep you from having both a city and a country home.

Maybe you'll think I'm lucky. I've got a small, quiet penthouse-like apartment on New York's Lower Eastside (also erroneously referred to as "the East Village").

My pad has a roof to sit on, a courtyard-kept breakfast plate-clean by our hardworking superintendent and all the necessities: stove, refrigerator, etc. Everything but utilities are covered by a monthly rent of only $50. The three good-sized rooms are in a small rear building — like a carriage house — so I don't even hear most traffic except for the music of an occasional horn toot.

Before I moved in, I invested a few hundred in improvements: burlapped walls, acoustic-tiled ceilings, wood louver shades and interior doors, a paint job and pull-chain Japanese lights with big globes (a big mistake, they're too fragile and expensive). Even put in a dimmer switch to rest these tired-of-typing eyes and hired some local guys to do the work.

My friends were amazed. "You mean you're spending $1,200 to fix up your apartment?"

12/26/2013 5:22:50 PM

i think that if u are one of the few who dont ditch their car after moving to NYC, u should def check out (google them). they seem to be having an unbelievably good auto insurance deal going on right now


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