In an expensive city where $1 million is considered a good deal on an apartment, saving to buy your own place in New York City can sound impossible. Heck, even renters run the risk of being priced out unless they’re lucky enough to stumble on a rent-controlled place.
We look for ways to cut back on expenses and get you on the path to one day becoming the proud owner of a co-op or condo in the Big Apple.
Invest even your pennies
You can eat all the instant ramen you want, but cutting back on personal expenses won’t save you as much as you’ll gain from investing. That is, if you do it right.
Keep your risk to a minimum by investing your spare change with Acorns. And, at the very least, take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) plan.
Rent out your place on Airbnb
If it’s legal for you to rent out your apartment on Airbnb, you stand to make a decent pile of cash on long weekends or when you’re away for the holidays.
Just be aware of who you’re renting to and whether you can legally become an Airbnb host. You don’t want to end up spending your hard-saved money on a lawsuit.
Live rent free or get a roommate
If your parents live in New York and you can deal with … well, living with your family, you can save an enormous pile of cash by not paying rent. If you can keep your job in the city and work remotely from your hometown, you stand to save even more.
Other rent-free options abound, like living in someone’s spare bedroom in exchange for housework, although these opportunities are difficult to come by. Unless you know the person, it’s a better idea to get a roommate to cut down on what is probably your biggest expense.
Whatever you do, don’t live alone if you’re trying to save for an apartment. Shelling out all the expenses on your own makes for a long road to homeownership.
Plan your savings and nail down a budget
It’s a lot harder to save for something if you haven’t set realistic goals for yourself. A savings plan and budget can help you more easily keep track of your finances — how much you spend and where — so that you can explore areas to cut back in if necessary.
Stick to cash
When you swipe your card for groceries or a cocktail, chances are you aren’t scrutinizing how much you’ve spent. Even if you are, you’re rarely looking at the bottom line.
On the other hand, when you’re counting out dollar bills to pay that lunch or magazine, you’ll quite literally feel what you’re spending. Sticking to cash is a solid way to keep tabs on personal spending and avoid blowing too much in one place.
Don’t beat yourself up if you splurge
We all periodically fall off the wagon. If you go out and spend a lot more than you planned, forgive yourself and move on with your plan. Tracking your spending and savings can take some time getting used to. You’re going to have a few hiccups — and that’s OK.