8 Ways New York City Takes All of Your Money (But Is Still So Worth It)

Sonya Matejko is a writer who is vibrantly falling in love with life in NYC and around the world. Her writing is featured on a variety of high-profile platforms and niche blogs. Her most popular article has been shared over half a million times on Facebook alone. Sonya writes about the dating world as well as traveling the world. She founded her blog, Single Strides, as a home for hopeless romantics and wanderlusts. She believes passionately in love even if she hasn’t quite gotten it right just yet. Sonya steals lunch breaks and midnights to do all of this on the side of her full-time advertising career with the goal of inspiring others to believe in love and to believe in themselves.


When I moved to New York a little over a year ago I was prepared for life to get more expensive. Everyone warns you before you move here and you do your research, but once you get to NYC it’s easy to get lost in your love of the jungle and throw your money at it.

I’ve always been a meticulous budgeter. I have an excel sheet that documents every purchase in specific categories to help me monitor my spending. On top of that, I use Clarity (I prefer this over other apps). But in New York, even I can’t keep up.

It’s hard to say no to that weekend in the Hamptons, to brunch, to rooftop drinks, to the opening of your favorite summer spot, or to the many other distractions around the city.

But alas, you live here, and these are the things that take your money but why they’re also still totally worth it.

1. The rent is too damn high. There’s no sugar coating the fact that rent is astronomically expensive in New York. For a tiny apartment with barely any amenities, you can be spending half, if not more, of your paycheck. And not just rent – you’ll have to spend money moving, finding an apartment and getting things like a wall or A/C. However, there’s still a bright side – the apartment you’re living in is in NYC.

2. Travel. If you put your monthly unlimited MetroCard, your Citi Bike membership, car insurance or car garage, your late-night Uber rides and your regular cabs when Uber is not available…you literally have enough money for the monthly rent of the apartment you had in college. The bright side? The city is incredibly easy to get around, there are some really great bike paths (like the West Side Highway) that can get you from Midtown West to Battery Park in less than 30 minutes. You also always have the option of walking.

3. Eating Out. There are so many amazing places to try in NYC and there are always new spots popping up. It’s hard to say no to trying the latest place you heard a co-worker raving about or getting everyone together for a Saturday brunch when you live here. Budget permitting, it’s always worth it because this city has too much to offer to not try.

4. Eating In. When you literally don’t want to talk to people you’re still in luck because you can have some of NYC’s best food delivered to your doorstep in under an hour. Sure, plenty of other cities have food delivery, but they don’t have NYC’s restaurants. Obviously, don’t run up bank statements with Seamless bills, but it’s a nice option to have available.

Math is fun!!!!

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5. Seasonal Gear. Coming from Florida, I was not prepared for seasons. Now my flip flops are getting crowded by rain boots, winter coats, almost-winter jackets, spring-in-between things, and more. But I’ll tell you first hand, having seasons and watching the world around you shift every few months is a beautiful thing. There are things to look forward to with everyone, and I don’t mind swapping out closet space at the turn of a new leaf.

6. Working out. It’s expensive to work out in New York City. Gym memberships and boutique class packs are insanely pricey. However, there’s a great mix to your disposal, free (or at least nicer priced) outdoor classes available, parks and rooftops for your own workouts, and activities all around the city (i.e. like free Kayaking this summer) to keep your heart rate up throughout the year.

7. Going Out. Drinks are expensive and any day is a good reason to go out for a drink. But going out is almost always a good time, an opportunity to see a new place or a new rooftop view, and there’s always happy hours to be found.

8. The shoe issue. I’ve stepped in too many puddles and unmentionables to go into detail, but — it does mean you always have a good reason to buy new shoes.

New York may be expensive, but it’s worth the money. And there are plenty of things to do to keep costs down throughout the entire year. Later in life, you’ll worry less about the rent and expensive latte, and you’ll reminisce and romanticize your time in this city.

“And always remember the ultimate truth: life is not about money, it’s about emotion.” – Tony Robbins


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