Moving to a major urban hub such as New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami or Seattle can put quite a strain on your wallet. Besides the cost of the move itself, you'll have to adapt to a generally higher cost of living across the board when paying for expenses such as rent, groceries and entertainment. For those just beginning their career, this can be a particular challenge considering you may not yet be making the salary you desire. Young professionals thus often deal with experiencing some of the nation's most vibrant areas on a limited budget. However, this doesn't mean that you can't go out and enjoy the locale in which you live. Here are five tips for saving money when you make the move to an expensive city:
1. Write up a budget
When you first make your move, money can disappear a lot faster than you may realize. Before you get settled in your new apartment, create a budget that covers rent, bills, groceries and other expenses. Otherwise, you may quickly find that you're attempting to live outside your means. Writing down exactly how much you can afford to spend on different items will encourage you to stick to your budget.
2. Choose your expenses wisely
The fact is when you move to a pricey metropolis you're not going to be able to spend money willy-nilly. The cost of dinner and cocktails in most major cities is much more expensive than it would be in a less densely populated area. Other costs tend to go up as well. At the end of the day, you'll likely have to make some decisions on how you want to spend money allocated for leisure use. For some, the city nightlife may be a priority, while others may focus on saving up for vacations.
3. Inherit furniture
The cost of new furniture can quickly add up, especially if you need it shipped to your apartment. Rather than buy your living necessities after you've moved, seek out used items from friends and family. Odds are your parents, grandparents, college friends or other acquaintances will have a couch hiding in the basement or kitchen table tucked away in a storage room that they're willing to part with. If your search is coming up dry, check out local thrift stores and resale shops for discount furniture.
4. Get crafty
While you might not be able to spend a lot of money on decor, that doesn't mean you can't make your apartment look great. Instead of dropping cash, tackle some do-it-yourself projects to make your apartment feel more like home. Take it to the next level by building furniture that would cost more elsewhere. Not only will this help you cut down on the cost of decorating your new apartment, but also it will give you the opportunity to take on a creative and challenging project.
5. Look for free entertainment
One of the benefits of moving to a major city is that there's always something going on and many of the events are free or of little cost. Take the time to look through local publications, such as weekly papers, magazines and quarterlies, for free art galleries, concerts and other activities. Many cities have weekly or monthly times where certain cultural amenities, such as museums, are free of admission. This way, you can still enjoy all of the fantastic esoteric culture a city has to offer, without breaking your budget.