How Much Money Do You Need to Live in New York City?

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    How Much Do You REALLY Need to Live In New York City?

    1. I think it really comes down to how much you want to indulge in living the “high life” so to speak. As you and I both can attest, you can easily live here on less than 6 figures. In my mind $80k would be the perfect single person salary to partake in some of the finer things and save a decent amount of money. Then I may actual buy Broadway tickets at full price instead of doing rush!
      Per the rent point: as an Astoria resident, our prices (and definitely LIC rent) are hiking fast. Granted, you still get a lot more space for your dollar than you do in Manhattan, but it won’t be long before we go the way of Williamsburg. Newbies looking in Queens should also check out Sunnyside for slightly cheaper rent.

      P.S. I’d throw in breweries to the entertainment category! Such a cost-effective way to indulge in a fun afternoon.

      • Stefanie says:

        Yeah, I’ve noticed the Astoria and LIC prices climbing fast in more recent years :/ I just can’t wrap my brain around spending so much on the “high life” when you can get so much awesomeness for cheap or free here!

    2. Stefanie, this is an awesome and realistic budget!!! I think where people go overboard is in housing where they think they NEED to live in Manhattan which will add about $500 extra a month. And the go crazy with the entertainment. I know some people who will spend $100 for an evening out in NYC. It is obviously easy to eat and drink in NYC and it can be expensive, but if you are smart about it and look for happy hours, Groupon deals and just hang out at home with friends, you can get entertained for far less.

      • Stefanie says:

        I can’t imagine spending $100 on ONE evening. Even when I go see a Broadway show, it’s typically $30 with student rush.

        • I-Lin says:

          When I read the entertainment budget, I was like ????. Because I’m one of those people who have about 5 rounds of drinks/shots per night, and nyc cocktails are easily $15 a glass. Add that with a dinner for about $35-40 a meal. Article says for “single” guys, but often guys will be taking care of the bill for a girl on dates. $100-$200 an evening is not uncommon with cab rides :/

          am I just doing NYC wrong? I’ve noticed that girls spend noticeably less than guys, most of the girls I know don’t ever pay for drinks, when they do it’s for tips… let me know if this is common. Thanks!

    3. Will says:

      I watched a CNBC special where they followed the NYC garbage industry. Garbage men are getting paid $100,000 and complaining about not having any money leftover at the end of the month. Sounds like they could live a good life and save $60k a year! Go figure.

      I don’t live in NY but I appreciate the knowledge! Thanks!

    4. Queens never gets any love! =) You mention all of Brooklyn but only Astoria and LIC…it’s okay, everyone does it! Plenty of other neighborhoods with more affordable prices which are pretty convenient to Manhattan. Internet for me is about $42 after taxes…so $21 if split with a roommate and utilities…I actually only pay electric and not gas so it comes to about $50 total. As for cellphones, I’ve read a lot of bloggers mention Republic and Ting which is much more affordable…I’ll have to check it out.

      • Stefanie says:

        It’s definitely parts of Brooklyn (just like parts of Queens), but I don’t know the neighborhoods well enough there. I mention Astoria and LIC because they’re major actor hot spots- proximity to the city and low cost (though increasingly more expensive). Good to know I’m overestimating costs and it still comes out to be doable at 40k!

        • DhanYA says:

          I am so glad I came across this portal. I am extremely worried about living in New York with a student visa to study in Pratt, Brooklyn campus. Depsite the scholarship, the course is still expensive. A really big piece of advice I need is with respect to the stay. Mine is a 2 year course and i realised that on-campus lodging is way too expensive so i need some solid advice on where I should be staying and even 900$ per month for renting a room is expensive for me (Student loans and Indian Rupee conversion rate problems :P). Some tell me I should live in NJ and travel to Brooklyn. But some say that is a terrible idea as my chances of getting assistantships or on-campus jobs might reduce if i do that, Plus having the subway as the only option for traveling on and off campus(if i were to stay in NJ) seems troubling to me. MAJOR HELP REQUIRED

          • Stefanie says:

            I would look for sublets in more affordable Brooklyn neighborhoods – Flatbush, Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Crown Heights, Bushwick and Brighton Beach are good places to start your search.

    5. So many people are surviving in expensive cities and NOT making 6 figures. I think it’s ignorant if people think it cannot be done, because people are doing it all the time. I did it as a grad student. My rent and utilities in BK was $825 per month. I lived on a very minimal, student budget and I had fun. Most people think it can’t be done, because THEY couldn’t do it.

    6. Hi Stefanie,
      That’s awesome you’re spending less than $30,000 a year especially in New York. I might have to relearn how to budget properly eventually when I am done working oversea. I don’t have to worry about housing and food at the moment so we get a little bit spoil over here.

    7. AWESOME post! This budget is very realistic and allows for people to live the good life in NYC. For those who have health insurance with their jobs, these expenses go down even further. I feel as though rent is the biggie and you’re right – $900/month is very doable in NYC. Some people might scoff at that number, but it just means they didn’t do their homework.

    8. Thanks for sharing this! I love reading about how much it costs to live in another city, especially a place like New York City. Your budget seems completely reasonable and responsible. It’s encouraging to know that someone with a lower salary (like myself) could hack it!

    9. Kassandra says:

      You presented a realistic budget for NYC. Sure apartments are overall very expensive in relation to other parts of the country but if you are willing to share the space it becomes more manageable. If some people made an effort to contain their spending maybe they wouldn’t feel that living in NYC would be out of their reach.

      • Stefanie says:

        Agreed. I really don’t think it’s out of reach. There’s this perception that you have to live in a box and starve to get by and it’s simply not true. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s absolutely doable.

    10. It looks pretty similar to a London budget and the salary you stated is about right too! Cities are expensive to rent or to buy in but entertainment wise and food I don’t think they’re that bad. Great post!

    11. That’s pretty incredible you only have to do laundry every 3-4 weeks! I don’t own that much in clothes so I have to do it once per week for aprox $7. I know all those things are based on roommates, but I wonder what it would be like if I ever moved there at 43. There comes a time when you’re over roommates. lol!

    12. Cool post Stefanie 🙂

      I doubt I’d ever live in NYC, given that I am a staunch Canadian, but your break down is not as jarring as I was expecting. Although, like Tonya mentioned, I would definitely skip the roommates although I do realize that that would jack up the living expenses big time!

      Thanks for the info and take care. All the best.

    13. I’m moving to NYC! LOL J/K But its great to know that I could according to your budget. I am an extreme couponer so that may be a problem with housing my stockpile. I could actually live on less minus the $300 grocery bill (WOWzer) and personal items (freebies).

      Great post as always

    14. Nice post! I’d been waiting for someone to write the counterpoint on Financial Samurai’s post. I remember reading and really wondering where the heck that info was coming from. Honestly, there are some studios in Inwood/Harlem/the outer timbuktu areas of Brooklyn that are about $900/month to live on your own.

      • Stefanie says:

        The boyfriend lives in Inwood for super cheap. I think he pays $700, but again, roomie. I don’t really mind the roomie thing. I have my own room, I’m good.

    15. DivHut says:

      Cell phone is way high. I just wrote how I switched to Ting and couldn’t be happier. People are also going to Republic wireless too. Cell phone bills should be between $10 – $25 a month. That’s it. You should really drop your current provider.

    16. To me, when it comes to living in high cost areas like New York or LA, it’s a bit of mind over matter. It can be outrageously expensive or it can be reasonable, if you’re willing to make some compromises. The one thing in LA that I would guess would cost more is transportation. We just don’t have the same public transportation that you do and people are highly attached to their vehicles here, whereas in NYC, lots of people don’t even own cars. Of course, if people were more willing to give-up their vehicles, than maybe our public transportation would improve. 🙂

      • Stefanie says:

        I’m so grateful I don’t have to worry about buying a car and paying for all those additional things that come with car ownership. It really makes a huge difference in the monthly budget.

    17. Josh @ CNA says:

      I don’t think you’re missing anything. Living in Oregon though, I couldn’t imagine paying a grand for a room, heck, I pay 1600 for four rooms, 2 living rooms, a kitchen, 3 bathrooms, and a back yard! Then again, city life isn’t for me anyway…to each his/her own there.

    18. One question though: What if I want a cozy two bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village and enjoy eating the occasional Nobu and Le Bernardin? 🙂
      Good to hear that getting a room for $900-$1,000 is common! Seriously, that is awesome and means that plenty of folks who make less than $100K can comfortably live.
      It’s weird, b/c I’m not sure how common a $900 a month room is in SF. It’s more like $1,200 here.


      • Stefanie says:

        Totally common. There are some pretty wild misconceptions about how expensive NYC living is. Yes, it’s still more expensive than I’d like it to be, and it’s likely that we will be priced out at some point, but certainly not yet.

    19. I agree, you can make it as affordable as you want or as expensive as you want. And that goes for people living in big cities or in the suburbs.
      True, you pay a lot for a tiny place in NYC, but if that’s all you need then why get four-five bedrooms? There are also a lot of cheap place to eat in NY and they are not that hard to find. Just stay away from Times Square.

      • Stefanie says:

        The lunch specials by my apartment are better than deals I’ve found in middle America. I think it’s because there’s so much competition, they’re all trying to undercut one another.

    20. Awesome breakdown! It’s great to hear that there are decent rooms for under $1,000/month in NYC and I have sometimes wondered myself how all $8 million can afford to live there. Definitely seems realistic based on your breakdown.

    21. Nell says:

      This is an informative post. I’d always imagined that New York would be so expensive, but then again both Sydney and Melbourne are actually more expensive to live in.
      Anyway, I’m visiting New York in July so it’s great to know that there are some free/cheap things to do there.

      • Stefanie says:

        Have a great trip. There’s a website called that has a daily list of all the free and affordable events in NYC on a daily basis. Definitely worth checking out.

    22. Pauline says:

      I was just thinking “wow, $900 just for a room is crazy” but with the exchange rate, my UK tenants pay over $1,000 for a room near London, so NY doesn’t seem that expensive anymore!
      Can you find a 2-bed for $2,000 then?
      I would be uncomfortable with so little savings, $100 a month I assume is for travel/holidays and car repairs, etc. would seem very low but I probably would skip health insurance and just pay as you go so that would be around $400 in savings which is better. $250 for retirement isn’t big either.
      But if you are well located you can rent your room on Airbnb while you are away and pay for the holidays!

      • Stefanie says:

        It totally depends on the location, but yes, a two bed can be found for $2,000. Air b n’ b and subletting in general is great for NY-ers. Any time I book work or vacation out of town, I can find someone to live in my apartment easily.

    23. Stefanie, yours is the perfect example of how one can live their dreams IF they’re willing to work at it and make some sacrifices. I’m certain that most people would think one couldn’t live in NYC on $40k a year, but you’ve outlined in great detail that it can be done. Great job!

      • Stefanie says:

        Thanks Laurie, it’s totally doable with some planning and research. I hope anyone who wants to do it, now sees that it’s possible and will just go for it.

    24. Thanks for the great breakdown Stefanie! I think it just goes to show you that it most definitely can be done, especially if you know what your priorities are as opposed to trying to spend crazily. I love that your entertainment budget is so low, as I’m positive you could spend so much more in NYC but there’s obviously quite a number of opportunities for ways to hack it.

      • Stefanie says:

        While there are lots of ways to spend a lot on entertainment in NYC there are TONS of ways to spend next to nothing on entertainment too. I’ve never experience so much free and affordable programming anywhere else.

    25. I’ve always wanted to live in NYC, and your posts and Dave’s posts at NYBudget really make me want to take the leap. The rent alone is much lower than I thought. Thanks for the realistic breakdown!

    26. […] absolute favorite was from Stefanie at The Broke and Beautiful Life. She gave a great budget breakdown of living in New York City. I have a number of clients in New […]

    27. NYC is very big city and I heard that it is very expensive to live there. But no matter what, would definitely want to live in there. Thanks for sharing.

    28. claudia colmer says:

      Well I thought this budget funny. I was born and raised in Manhattan. Lived in Tribeca. Left in 2001 since quality of life can be pretty bad in low rent districts. Also roommates come and go. A lot of your readers are not in the real world. Yes there are wonderful free cultural events in NY, but it does not make up for living in a tenement.

      • Stefanie says:

        95% of the people I know in NYC pay less than 1k per month in rent and have beautiful apartments with fantastic quality of life.

        • Marie says:

          i dont think so stephanie . i live in one bedroom apt for 1417 a month

          • Stefanie says:

            Exactly. If you shared with a roommate, your rent would be just over $700. There are trade offs for cheap NYC housing, but it’s certainly available.

            • Emmie says:

              How do you know that your roommates won’t be jerks? How can you be sure, when coming into the city alone, that you won’t end up with a roommate who mooches off your food, doesn’t do their share of the cleaning and maybe bring in questionable guests? I had 2 moocher slob roommates before I gave up and got my own apartment. A friend was raped by a guy her stupid roommate picked up at a bar. As far as I am concerned, the trade off is too great unless the roommate is a trusted frien

            • Stefanie says:

              A bad roommate can happen anywhere. I’ve lived with around 20 roommates throughout my life and vetted each without an issue. Dismissing a major money saver as on option because of the slim possibility of worst case scenario seems very limiting, in any environment.

    29. Poor Student says:

      Interesting breakdown — it makes Manhattan a feasible place to live in with modest income. I think what really makes a dent in your budget is your rent price, so I guess if you’re willing to live in low-rent neighborhoods it doesn’t seem too scary anymore to live in NYC, at least financially.

    30. debs says:

      Actually the prices look more reasonable than I expected. $900 for rent is pretty good. The cell phone seems a bit high based on what The Irishman pays which is about $45/month but geographical differences may account for that. Have a great weekend, Stefanie!

    31. […] How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City? […]

    32. Cool post! I did a similar post on one of my blogs once about the cost of living in Vancouver. It’s pretty comparable if you live in the actual city, though it’s possible to get cheaper accommodation if you are willing to live outside of it.

    33. I should send this post to my niece. She thinks she needs to earn $100k/year to live in NYC. She’s actually looking to live in Union City/West New York, NJ area.

    34. […] How Much Do You Need to Live in New York City? @ The Broke and Beautiful Life […]

    35. interesting breakdown and completely doable. thanks for laying it out like this as i always thought you needed to be pretty wealthy to live in nyc. that said, i do think $100/month for entertainment is low. $25/week for happy hour and entertainment. 2 glasses of wine and i’ve already met my allotment for the week.

      • Stefanie says:

        My happy hour spots are usually about $4 per drink so $5 after tip and standing room or rush on Broadway is only $30. There’s also SO much free entertainment, especially in summer.

    36. […] cost of living in New York City can be painful- sky high rents and a premium on just about everything from groceries to […]

    37. Jessica says:

      Hi. i am hoping to move to NYC in a little over 4 years. So far I have been saving for the past two months and taking about 100 dollars into my NYC savings envelope. I am predicting I will have about 4,800 dollars in savings. If I plan to live with a roommate ( who I also think is saving up money but I think i will have a bit more saved up then her because i started saving before her) or maybe two roommates, do you think that will be enough saved up to get a apartment and live until we find jobs ( we will probably get like waitressing or whatever we can start out with to make ends meet and then once we get jobs that are related to what field we are interested in going in we will do those jobs instead)? I am not very picky and the place we get does not need to be fancy. Just in a safe place and not be like gross or freakishly small. I would love Manhattan but I am okay with any part of NYC really as long as it would be a easy commute to Manhattan. Do you think the money will be a good amount saved and where do you think would be best place to look for apartments with my budget?

      • Stefanie says:

        First of all, I think it’s fantastic that you’re planning ahead and saving now. I think starting out with around 5k is completely doable in NYC, but I would caution against “floating” around once you move here for too long before committing to a survival job. The sooner you can bring in a significant income and hit what I like to call your make or break number, the better.

        • Jessica says:

          I agree about trying to find a job immediately which I really want to do. What exactly do you mean by “floating” though? Do you mean going from different jobs or do you mean waiting to get a job?

    38. Josh says:

      Me, my boyfriend, and a good friend are considering moving to NYC (likely Brooklyn) next fall and this was the most honest, refreshing, and seemingly realistic approach to live in NYC. We currently live in Chicago and the first comment out of anyone’s mouth in the midwest when you say you want to move to New York is, “Oh my gosh, it’s so expensive!”. Being a life coach and all and after starting two businesses, I guess I don’t get that logic of fear. If you want to live somewhere, MAKE IT WORK! That being said, thank you for this practical advice. Super helpful as we get more serious about the move.

      • Stefanie says:

        Thanks Josh. I’m glad you found it helpful. My motto is… “New York is as expensive as you want it to be”. Sure, there are trade offs (living with roommates, etc), but the chance to live here is a pretty spectacular pay off. I’m all about making it work as long as it makes you happy!

    39. jude Lives says:

      Hi…what a great post!! Are you on instagram? My main question is it possible to buy housing for under 100k anywhere in Manhattan? If not how close could I get to city at that price range? Fyi…New Jersey is not an option and actual neighborhoods would be appreciated. Thanks so much for your blog and time. Namaste ;*)

    40. em says:

      Hello! Absolutely love your page. I, just like plenty people out there, need your advice. I am currently in my first year at university but am considering moving to the city next August for a one year break from everything. I was talking with my cousin and it has been our dream to live in NYC for ever! I feel as if I don’t do this now I never will. What do you think? Should I just go and work and experience NYC and leave everything behind? i mean it’s just one year…

      PS: What are some cheap and safe-ish places to live in? I am so confused and don’t known
      what to do. Also, is finding jobs easy in NY? thanks!!!!

    41. Paul Rubinstein says:

      This is total B.S. Who wants to live with three people, especially as an adult? To get a decent apartment in NYC is $3,000 a month. Of course you could cut that cost in half by living in well gentrified and re-zones areas like Harlem, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, Williamsburg Brooklyn, etc where rent would be $1,500-$1,800 for a more sizable and comfortable apartment. So in that case, you need $3,500 – $5,000 NET CASH to live comfortably ANYWHERE in the NYC Metro area. That equals approximately $98,000 – $125,000 annual gross salary.

      • Stefanie says:

        There are plenty of people for whom the trade off is well worth it. I lived in West New York, NJ in my own room in a large shared 3 bedroom for $500/month. My boyfriend lives in a large one bedroom converted to a two bed in Inwood for $700/month. These living situations are quite common for young and even not so young professionals.

    42. Sam says:

      Hey. This is really helpful with budgeting, but I don’t follow your taxes. If you make 40k, are you really going to see 31k take home? I mean with fed, ny state, NYC tax, and ss? Also I do want to caution young professionals that this budget is based on the debt free life. If you have student loans or credit card debt, you will have to add that to the expenses. Student loan repayment can be a lot.

      • Stefanie says:

        Hi Sam I used paycheck city to estimate how much you’d need to make before taxes (really cool resource if you want to check it out). Yes, this budget does not have a specific debt payoff category but there is $350 per month dedicated towards short and long term savings goals that can be split up to include debt. Alternatively (or additionally), the miscellaneous, personal care, and entertainment categories can also be scaled back to add more to debt payoff.

    43. gggg says:

      The question is then why would you want to live in such expensive city when you can only make it barely and can’t enjoy a lot of the entertainment? unless of course if you have some good long term plan to get richer or better in some profession. I think it is completely waste of money.

      • Stefanie says:

        I know that for me and for many, the trade off is well worth it. There’s plenty of free entertainment and the experience of New York City living is truly unmatched in terms of opportunity, culture, and energy- just as other cities are unmatched for other things.

    44. Courtney says:

      Great post! I’m just wondering – what percentage of your income would you pay in taxes? I’m applying to a teaching program in NYC that would require me to stay for 4 years with a salary of ~$50,000 – how much of that would I actually take home?

    45. CS says:

      This is a really interesting post!

      I lived on Long Island for awhile, met my husband there and moved back to my home in the midwest and settled down here… but I miss New York and so does my husband, we now have a child as well – so my numbers would be slightly different from yours. We’ve had the discussion quite a bit lately of what is the minimum we’d be comfortable living on to move back. I’m totally open to Brooklyn, especially for my family – it’s a family-friendly area in most parts and looking at rent I could find something for $1500.

      But we make near the salary you posted but in the midwest and it’s hard ot live on. Partly because of expenses with a kid (dang they grow out of their clothes so fast!), we have a car here so factor in repairs, gas, insurance, etc. We’d really have to weigh the worth of having a car in the city or not..

      For us though, the culture and life of NYC is the biggest draw- LOVE the energy and all the happenings… but frankly if I live there I want to be able to enjoy it! Concerts, amazing food, classes and activities for my child, etc.

      Anyway – this was a good post and I like seeing another perspective.

    46. […] How Much Does It Cost to Live in NYC? New York City: As Expensive As You Want it To Be Affordable NYC Housing: It’s Real! […]

    47. confused douche says:

      I’ll be coming to New York in march to work as a intern for a year, will be given 1000 dollar stipend and accommodation is provided. Will have around 950 dollars after taxes and utilities. You think this much be enough for food (vegan), travelling and other expenses.

      • Stefanie says:

        If your housing is already covered, $950 should be more than enough to live on. Transportation will cost you $112/monthly and food between $300-400, leaving you plenty for other expenses.

    48. Nina says:

      Hey! I’m 17 and living in England and it is my goal to become a counsellor (psyhology-wise, not the politics kind) so obviously my move would be well away from now but your post was really interesting and pretty helpful. Obviously, I’m aware that house prices will change by the time I’m living in NYC but on a counsellor’s wage of around £35-50k (I don’t know what USD conversion is), would that cover everything? Moving away is one thing but movie to a whole different continent is another – so I want to start planning now.

      • Dj says:

        The conversion from pounds to dollars is 1.5 as of this post. You would be comfortable on this budget. (£32k would be around $50k)

      • Kathy says:

        I’m a social worker who used to live both in London and NYC. Miss London so very much. And I am happy to have left NYC. My income in London was almost 40K in GBP when I left after 8 years living there. In NYC I had a hard time finding work, but the avg salary was $55K for Licensed Masters Social Work job. It was much easier living in London for me compared to NYC. Today I am living in Boston and make $75K, a much better lifestyle. NYC was by far where I felt the poorest of these cities and wouldn’t ever want to go back to that feeling of really struggling and worrying if I was going to make rent. I was in between jobs in NYC so I actually there were a few months without any income. That was the scariest feeling in the world. Don’t move to NYC without securing a job first. I did have a job the day I showed up in NYC, but lost it after a couple weeks because I got sick and the boss dismissed me because he didn’t feel it was working out. After 2 weeks! And employers can do that to you. I wasn’t entitled to anything, not unemployment insurance, no such thing as income support or benefits for a single person in the US. I slept on friend’s couches to survive, but yes, it was a scary time. I moved to a shared house way out on Staten Island. I even applied for food stamps and went to a food pantry. And this pattern of getting a job and losing it shortly thereafter kept happening over and over as I was doing temporary assignments. The permanent job I did get was one of the worst work environments I’d ever been in. Finally I left and got a great job in Boston. Compared to how I lived in NYC, I feel rich. I live in a nice apartment in a nice neighborhood. I have a car. My savings account is healthy. I don’t worry about losing my job. I never want to go back to NYC. It’s a really painful city to be in when you are struggling and are like the masses of poor people there. But then you have no excuse and no one is going to care, especially if you have a masters degree and white.

        Depends on what type of counseling job you are describing. If you don’t have a Masters degree and looking for a counselor’s job, like a residential counselor job, you are looking at $30K in NYC. Very difficult, but you could make it, if you share in the most undesirable parts of NYC, like Staten Island or the Bronx.

        Anyway if I were you and living in England. Get a job in London, it’ll be better than trying to find a job in NYC.

    49. Chris says:

      I’ve lived in Harlem for 2 years and this is a GREAT and accurate post. This is the most honest one I’ve seen in a while. Thank you. You’ve gained a new reader of your blog.

      • Stefanie says:

        Thanks Chris. I’ve got lots of friends with amazing places in Harlem. Excellent quality of life for reasonable cost. It’s available for those willing to find it- like you have.

    50. Pam says:

      Thank you all of this is so helpful as I want to move to NYC so badly. Outer areas like Astoria, LIC and Sunnyside thank you I am still researching living and job hunting.

    51. Ben says:

      Very helpful info, especially for people who plans to move in NYC.
      In a couple of months I’m moving as well in NYC. Previously lived there for only three months so can’t say that know much about it. As my plans are to move with my family, I’m interesting to know more about schools and entertainment for my kids. Do you have any post on this issues.

      • Stefanie says:

        Hi Ben,

        My experience in NYC has been as a singleton, but there are TONS of resources available for families, from healthcare to entertainment. I would search some of the discount NYC and mommy/daddy blogs.

    52. Thanks for writing this article, Stefanie! Reading it was the perfect companion to Financial Samurai’s more liberal estimates of living comfortably. I think the biggest difference I noticed between the budgets was that you could save on entertainment, food, and rent in tremendous ways. You don’t need to have a one bedroom apartment, eat out for a 1/3 of meals, etc.

      • Stefanie says:

        When we talk NYC cost of living, it’s almost always the housing where people fail to understand how much savings there are to be had. Yes, there are trade offs for those savings- living outside of midtown or having roommates- but they’re rather small in the scheme of things.

    53. […] How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City? […]

    54. Nina says:

      Dear all,
      I need an updated info – is it 39.500$ annual salary enough to “survive” on northwestern part of Long Island for 3 years? How much are the taxes?

    55. Dan says:

      Ummm… this is a load of crap! $100 a month for happy hour, dinner and netflix?? One dinner at a mediocre restaurant in Brooklyn is about $50 !!

      • Stefanie says:

        I’ve lived in the city for ten years and typically spend about $20 on a nice meal.

        • Jake says:

          LOL!!!! Where?! Please price me out a $20 sit down dinner with drink and tip;) fine I agree that if we make a game of this, a magical place like this exists in Manhattan but your options would probably be so limited as to make them impractical.

      • Fei says:

        Yes, I do think that the estimation seems low here. With $900/mo, you can only live around the edge of Manhattan. It’d be very hard to find a place for under $1000/mo that you can share with roommates and live comfortably from anywhere upper east/west side to downtown Manhattan. $20 dinner is hard to find too – the New York sales tax is 8.875%, the tips is usually 18% – 20%, so with a $20 budget, you can really just afford $15 to $16 of food/drink, that means only one dish in a relatively cheap restaurant. You’d have to be very disciplined to limit the entertainment within $100/mo – I’m pretty careful with money, but I find it hard to go out with friends just once a week(especially if you plan to network with people). A trip to theater, let’s be honest, I’ve never been to a free theater in Manhattan. There’s no mention about any travelling cost and the $350/mo saving is on the low side too. Overall, I think $2515/mo is a pretty low budget. Let’s put it this way, do you think $40k can afford a comfortable life in most of the big cities in the country? If not, then definitely not in NYC. I’d think that people should be making at least $60k-70k to live relatively reasonably(with roommates) and if they want to put away some money for savings/retirement (and don’t forget the NYS tax, NYC tax and social security)

        • Stefanie says:

          This estimation is to show that living in NYC is possible on less than people think- and the tradeoffs (a 20 minute commute from Astoria or Washington Heights for more affordable rent) are not all that much in the grand scheme of things.

        • Ari says:

          I live with two other roommates in Astoria, Queens in a three bedroom apartment. My rent is $900 (it’s the smallest room), but we have a very decent sized kitchen, dining room, and living room. It’s a nice place in a nice neighborhood. We split utilities (electricity and gas for cooking). I’m not sure how much I make yearly because I’m not yet on salary, but I think it’s around $30000 after taxes. My entertainment for the month is budgeted at $200. Granted I am still on my parents insurance plan, so I don’t have to pay for that, but otherwise, it’s pretty doable. Go to the park, bookstores, play D&D with a group of friends, and other free stuff. You can find shows to go to for $25-40 if you look. I can get a nice dinner for about $20 (I guess that depends on what “nice” means to different people). I’m not a huge people person, though, so it might be easier for me to not go out every weekend. I also don’t drink or smoke. So there’s that. Lots of money saved.
          That being said, this month, I was able to save $500, which some of could have been used for insurance or other costs if I needed to use it differently, and I was also able to donate $100 to Girl Scouts (#ForEVERYGirl).

    56. […] How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City? […]

    57. […] How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City? […]

    58. […] How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City? […]

    59. […] Previous post: How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City? […]

    60. […] How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City? […]

    61. Your rent is less than I expected! Comparable to Los Angeles.

    62. Amir says:

      I heard quite a lot about NYC myth, like I was very young, living in Iran, I thout it’d be great to live in an illusive city of NYC. So before you know it, I made it to the NYC, U.s to work as a hairstylist while studying for my major in civil engineering.
      But now I am back to my country where I can save some money off to the side so I am not going to be giving up 2/3 of my income on rents alon. (Like I used to in NYC).
      NYC and some of the other flamboyant western cities are a ploy to attract as many as tourists and immigrants to balance out the country budget.

    63. momandwife says:

      Ummm yeaaah no this may be right if ur single try having a family and living on minimum wage with a college degree and still barley making it hell its hard to find affordable living and when u do ur income is STILL TOO LOW!sry sweetie but this blog was definitely for a single person with barley any responsibilities. Hell i agree with the other guy u can do a two for twenty at Applebees and ur check still comes out tp more than twenty!!

      • Stefanie says:

        Yes, this is a budget for a single person. I can’t imagine the cost of having a family in New York City (which is probably why I won’t have one- unless I strike it rich 😉 )

    64. shanky says:

      you have been living for ten years may i ask u how much u amount u saved and is it possible to have own house in new york.

    65. shanky says:

      if a person with his wife making in between 80-120k. what will be inhand salary after taxes and what will be living life for minimum and maximum amount.
      if someone want to have a house there than also tell the cost.

    66. Mary says:

      Is rent in NYC really $900/month for a shared apartment? My friend recently moved to a (fairly) inland apartment in Santa Monica (nothing to write home about), and is paying about $1000 to share the space. I always had this image that NYC was much, much more expensive than LA or anywhere else in the USA. If rent in NYC is really 900, then that makes it substantially cheaper than LA because you save on car/gas costs. Living in NYC was always a dream for me (like most young people), but I always told myself it was too expensive to live there. Now I live in LA and it’s ridiculously costly.

      • Stefanie says:

        Rent varies dramatically depending on where you are. If you insist on a spacious two bedroom in midtown, no $900 each is not doable. Share a few bedrooms with friends in inwood or washington heights, absolutely doable and done by MANY New Yorkers.

    67. Stuart says:


      I have been offered a job in NYC on a salary of $83,500. Is this enough to be able to go and have a socialable lifestyle?

      Also is there way of working out what would be my monthly take home pay after tax etc?

      What are the best places to search for somewhere to live? My office location would be downtown Manhattan in the financial district.

      Thanks in advance


      • Stefanie says:

        Hi Stuart, NYC is ABSOLUTELY doable on 83.5k. Use this site to calculate your net pay then divide by 12 to see how much you have to budget for each month In terms of convenience to the financial district and affordability. Jersey City might be a good place to start your search.

    68. Maaz says:

      Hi, i am 19 and was wondering, how much do 1 and 2 bedroom apartments cost in manhattan? Now most definitely i would have a roommate or two in order to pay off but i was curious. thanks 🙂

    69. Mercy says:

      Is there any area in Brooklyn that would be similar or the same on cost as what you describe in thus article? :/ (great article btw, extremely helpful, as I’m wanting really badly to move to NYC when I finish college!)

      • Pamela says:

        I live in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, right on the ocean and I’m a 30 min train ride to Manhattan or a 40 min express bus ride. I pay $1500 for a gorgeous 1 bedroom that overlooks the New York Harbor, Staten Island, Manhattan, NJ and statue of liberty and Verrazzano Bridge. I used to live in a studio here on the ocean for $1000 per month. It’s the most beautiful part of NYC if you ask me.

    70. Rachel says:

      I’m considering moving to NYC for a job and the housing situation is one of my biggest concerns. I’m single with 2 small dogs and fortunately haven’t had a roommate for about 7 years so I’m used to my own space. I really don’t want a roommate, especially one I don’t know, but I don’t think I could afford to live in NYC comfortably without having one. Any recommendations for finding a roommate or is there a way that I could live alone and still not be totally broke?

      • Stefanie says:

        I definitely recommend getting a roommate. Check out the facebook group “gypsy housing”.

      • yankeesgirl says:

        Hi Rachel, it takes quite a few hours of searching online, but there are people out there looking for someone to do light cleaning of their apartment or run errands such as grocery shopping , pet walking ,in exchange for rent. Even if a rooming with someone isn’t ideally what you are looking for, it doesn’t have to be permanent. As far as you having pets, that would have to be something to discuss with whomever you lived with . Good Luck in your search !

    71. Mahaj says:

      I am planning to move to NYC with my family, husband and baby daughter.
      I was wondering how can I find a cheap apartment in a safe place and close to my work. Can you suggest some reliable websites? And how much should the minimum income be in order to be able to support my family there and live ok?

    72. […] looking to bring in some extra cash is to sell their unnecessary “stuff” on eBay. Thankfully, New York City living has given me an appreciation for minimalism and a constant need for more money, so this strategy […]

    73. Melissa says:

      This is net income, though. Taking taxes into account is super-important, especially since NYC residents (I am one!) pay not just federal and state taxes, but NYC taxes as well. A gross-up calculator is useful here. A single person taking 2 exemptions on their taxes would need to be bringing home $55,789/year to have $40,000 net income.

    74. hani says:

      Thanks Stefanie for your very sensible post. I have a job offer in New jersey, North Bergan for 67000 USD. Do you think it is a decent/ manageable budget? What area would you suggest could I look for housing in. Also what is the best way to commute within New Jersey? I dont think I will be buying a car for the initial 6 months.

    75. […] Being a college graduate at the height of the financial crisis certainly didn’t help.  Nor does being an actor in one of the most expensive cities in the world- New York City. […]

    76. […] Sunday morning off before the chaos of weekly classes, aimlessly wandering around campus, i.e. New York City, acquiring items that caught my eye. By the end of my four years I had amassed more candles, […]

    77. Ed says:

      Hi Stefanie,

      Many thanks for this post, it’s been extremely helpful for someone who is hoping to move to NYC in September this year. It’s been my dream since I was about 11 years so getting pretty excited. I am from London so I’m used to paying over the odds for accommodation! I’m happy to flat share as a means of saving money, but also think it would be a good way to meet people. I did have a few questions which I am hoping you can help with:

      1) Is the unlimited metro card still $110? And would that take me anywhere in NYC? If so you New Yorkers don’t know how lucky you are! In London it’s at least double that.

      2) $100 a month for entertainment seems really light compared to what I spend in London, but admittedly my social life revolves around alcohol, which is expensive.

      3) Your budget includes $328 for health insurance. We have a different system in the UK so I’m not entirely sure how the American version works. I’ve been told my employer is providing my healthcare, so presumably I don’t need to allow for this amount?

      4) I get everyone has different tastes, but presumably you feel Manhattan is worth the extra cost compared to say Brooklyn / Queens?



      • Sabrina says:

        Hey I saw this and I living in New York for about 12 years just wanted to answer a couple of your questions

        1) a monthly metro card has increased to 116 with in the past couple of years and increases steadily very 3-4 years

        2) your type of fun ultimate depends on you but I agree with the original post it’s just best to keep it around 100-200 for entertainment since it’s pretty easy to lose yourself in nyc. The money you don’t spend will go into savings which can really really help.

        3) health insurance In America depending on your plan and the company you have health insurance with. it can be significantly less then what the original post had suggested. When talking about my own healthy I’m a pretty healthy person and my health insurance is provided by my job and I pay about. 160 every month going through my annual check ups for my docs ( eye , dental primary health and obgyn) for about 150 for fees in co- payments for all in a year but I have a great health insurance plan. co payments which is your share you pay to the doctors office when you visit. This fluctuates greatly depending on the health insurance plan you are provided with but take mines for example I don’t pay Emergancey room fees and all testing is free I only pay the co pay so I luck out however this may drastically different for you

    78. […] How Much Do You Need to Live in New York City? […]

    79. […] Breaking news (for me): I’m thinking of moving back to New York. I’ve been doing heaps of research regarding just how affordable this city that I’ve lived in my mother’s house in, actually is (if I were, you know, to be a real life grownup). Brick Underground shares the most affordable NYC neighborhoods for recent college grads. And the Broke and Beautiful Life shares how much one really needs to live in NYC. […]

    80. Martin says:

      For a $100 in NYC you’re going to be “entertained” for exactly 1 day out of themonth.

      • Martin says:

        And if you’re a guy prepare to never date because of course most girls can never be bothered to pay their share…

        • Ron says:

          Stefanie have you ever been in NYC? looool

          Entertainment/Play: $100/month !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or you haven’t been out yet, Or one of those girls who never pays.

          Personal Care/ Cleaning Products: $50/month,,, you kidding? dude a pack of condom costs $10, and you even consider your make up too.

          and RENT was the joke id say.

          • Stefanie says:

            Hi Ron, I’ve lived here for eleven years. This budget is not only representative of my own, but also those of many of my peers. You can always pay more, but there is no shortage of options and strategies for paying less.

    81. Sarah says:

      Where do I start?

      $100 for entertainment?? PER MONTH?? This means that you are going out for dinner or drinks once a week. And only to happy hour. No weekends out. Seriously, one movie ticket costs $15. And no way are you going to the theater.

      I would love to see a list of the places Stephanie frequents on this $100/month budget.

      $900 for rent?? This means you are living in Inwood/Central Harlem or way out in one of the boroughs. Rule out Astoria or LIC, which will cost you upwards of $1000 for a share.

      A Metro Card is now up to $116.50.

      And God forbid you have any kind of student loan debt on this budget.

      • Stefanie says:

        I live in Central Harlem and it’s lovely. In terms of entertainment it’s all about perspective. $100 is plenty when you adopt the bottom up approach. Also, this budget is meant to show that it’s possible to live here inexpensively if living in NYC is your priority. If entertainment is your priority, sure, move to a lower cost area or work to increase income- it’s all about realizing trade offs.

        • Maritza says:


          My husband and I are making the big jump from the west coast to the east coast this September. We aren’t looking for anything fancy for apartments. We are looking for a studio or small one bedroom in Brooklyn or queens. We heard that it’s best to do long distance move with a broker. But are there any other sources to look at for rentals aside from brokers? Our budget as of now is between 1,500-1,700. I’m scared of getting screwed over or scamed. I’m kinda freaking out help!!!!!

          • Stefanie says:

            It’s hard if you’re not in town. You might want to get a short term sublet when you first arrive so you can have time to see apartments for yourself. Check out sites like, and

          • Maritza says:

            Thank you, We will look into those sites!:-)

    82. Vinny says:

      Hi Stefanie…. great post! I’m a Canadian living in Toronto and I’ve always wanted to live in NYC. It’s extremely difficult getting a work permit to work and live in the US but reading your post gives me back a bit of a spark to pursue it again. I absolutely love NYC and admire people like yourself that can make it work regardless of what others say is or isn’t possible based on income. I make about $85k here in Toronto and if I can create the same opportunity in NYC I’ll move in a heartbeat. Keep up the great work!

    83. Sebastian says:

      For the really cheap visitor or someone wanting to survive after they decimate you:

      If you drove here, have at least $50 before you enter for tolls, and do the speed limit as they have cameras and will ticket you.
      If you arrived by plane/bus/ or car, Buy a metrocard unlimited. IT works for both the bus and subway and is $117-139 for a month. The subway goes about everywhere you’ll need, making driving pointless, and you might want the subway map-app for your phone.

      Establish a living arrangement: There are places such as Delta Rentals, that are $150 a week but you will need $500 down to begin. Some Hostels as low as $400 a month. Airbnb which could run $25-50 a day, or $175-350 a week. And a place called, that offers potentially free living on a couch.Sun Bright Hotel has a nice cage deal for $10 a day in Manhattan.
      If you have a vehicle, 3rd ave in Sunset Park area has a nice underbridge parking away from residential areas, along with Flatbush Ave next to Prospect Park for you to park and sleep.

      Food: Bodegas run about $3.50-8 a meal. Wendy’s and Mcdonald’s are still about $5 from the value side. There are also quite a few soup Kitchens and food pantries through out New York. Masbia is the best in my opinioin and free.
      Plus Farmers Markets for cheaper groceries. Finally a place called Sky Force, on top of a Building that has full meals for $1 donation, music, and you can crash there.

      Places to shower: Missions and Shelters obviously, but also in Gym’s and the Beach (At least at Coney Island) posts free gym passes around New York, but if you wanted to join I would go with Blink as it’s about $15 a month and has showers.

      Laundry: There’s a laundromat off of every corner mostly, but I prefer Clean city laundry off Myrtle n Bushwick ave as it’s $3.29 a load and free dryers but good environment.

      Extra cash: Postmates usually makes good starting cash, or working in chinatown on a delivery bike.

      Storage:I’d go with Cubesmart, it’s around $50 a month and has security, plus insurance.

      Otherwise on a whole, be courteous and humble, everything should go well. Maybe carry a dummy phone for the subway. Cheers!

      • psakref says:

        Sebastian; Your post is a prediction and should be written down by all who plan to relocate there. Stefanie; Thank you for the down to Earth honest research of renting/buying of apts. I’m 63, comfortably retired in NEPA, Scranton, (home of the AAA Yankees) with the plan of the wife and I becoming Manhattan New Yorkers. I could sell my bi level house on 8 acres for 750K, combine my liquid assets of 400K that produces 7K in interest/dividends.That translates into 38 months rent at 3K per month, leaving us to survive the Sebastian Plan as our income would be gone. StefanIe, I thank you for making us realize that dream would be a mistake. We’ll just visit NYC as often as we can. Sincerely,good luck to all the others who intend to settle in this great city.

    84. […] clarity and context, I propose a $100 entertainment budget in my most popular post, “How Much Do You Need to Live In New York City?” – the purpose of which is to demonstrate that the cost of living (even in NYC) is far more […]

    85. Brian says:

      My boyfriend and I have also started seriously planning out NYC living for after we graduate he with a Bachelors(musical theatre) and I with a Masters(voice/opera). We are both actors (quelle surprise) he on the Musical Theatre side and I on the Operatic side. The daunting nature of our business and costs of living in New York can be a bit much (we chose the vocation so that is not a complaint 🙂 )but it’s where all the job opportunities and contacts are concentrated so it is almost impossible not to be drawn there to get work. As performers and recent college students we can be quite thrifty and don’t mind living with others, but this list makes saving up the right amount seem much less impossible of a task which is very nice :). We have looked at places in Washington Heights, Harlem and Astoria and have found some amazing deals, but its harder to know what to expect for other items on the budget, as this list provided. We are coming from Phoenix so the cost of living adjustment is larger in some places more than others but like you said, the biggest adjustment is housing, and with 2 or 3 of us that is less of an issue,. Granted everyone’s expenses are different but this seems like a solid average list and makes it seem more realistic all itemized this way. It saves going to so many different sources trying to figure it out so thanks so much for your post!

    86. meca says:

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      i graduated from college of commerce in alexandria univ
      and now i want to get bk
      but i dont have a place to stay
      or job to work
      sooo thats all i just think 4 a place to stay tell i start a work then i will move
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    87. Ankit says:


      Thanks for the post. I have got an job offer of 120K per annum in NYC. I am married, I would stay with my wife and I would need to have some savings after my expenses every month.

      Is it possible to stay in NYC with the figure I have stated OR is it a good idea to stay in NJ and come to work in NYC to save more money?

      When I use this calculator :-

      It’s saying above 150K or in Manhattan 200k? Should I be worried about this cal?

      • Stefanie says:

        You can go either way. NYC is totally doable on six figures.

      • Sagarika says:

        Hello Ankit
        In my opinion a 120k salary is barely doable in New York City if you want to lead a comfortable lifestyle.
        It is difficult to save money in this salary but once you’ll be here your salary will increase(anuual bonus,annual hikes) so it’ll get better.

        Lot of Indians-married couples stay in Newport.Nj in a 1 bedroom apartment which costs $2400 or so a month.
        also being from india(since india has a maid system) it depends how comfortable are you and your wife in doing all household activities yourself.If you call a cleaner once in 2 weeks its costs about $60 every visit or little more.

        also entertainment, food, gym is not so cheap I would say; and if you move here you have to buy furniture and stuff for home and clothes to suit NYC weather and culture so savings are very tough for the first year or two i believe.
        Dont underestimate miscellaneous bills-since you are in a home and not sharing with a roomate–all the electricity ,2 phone bills, proabaly india calling extra $15*2 mnthly,netflix, cable,yr wifes cosmetics,laundry( a family laundry is diff than a single mans since u cant live on socks and underwears for long,you need to wash blankets ,sheets etc), haircuts, etc..etc

        again it depends on your lifestyle, when i was single my salary was 70k I lead a goodlife with savings but with a family a comfortable and decent life financially so to say starts at 200k in NYC

        Reference:- My husband earns 125k annually and it is barely meeting ends for us ; and i am studying, though I have a seperate loan for that for which we have’nt started paying yet.

    88. So interesting article! I am going to move to New York in a few months and now I am making a research on living in this city. Thank you for the interesting article!

    89. Howdy! Thiis post could not be written much better! Looking at this post reminds me of
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    90. Anna says:

      Great post! I have a questions:
      I am student and single mom with 2 elementary school-age children, planning to move to NYC from DC. My income is roughly $50k, no debt, plus savings for my school. I rent place for $1700 now and ready to jump up to $2400 for NY for 2 bedroom (my mom will move in to help). QUESTION 1): what is the point to live in Brooklyn rather than Upper East Side if rent is same and public schools rating is equally high? QUESTION 2) What else besides rent is expensive?
      Ps. I plan to sell car, not to go out at all and send kids to 2-3 activities a week (skating, fencing). Will appreciate any answer

    91. […] I hear the stories over and over again- the $11 grilled cheese in Time Square, the $3,000/month 400 square foot studio apartment, the $400/month parking garage space- these are the tales that have come to represent New York City and it’s seemingly impossible cost of living. […]

    92. Samantha says:

      Hey, I continue to find this post and the comments very interesting. I was looking at the original post again, and I’m not sure your estimate accurately takes in taxes. I mean it’s tricky b/c different income amounts pay different percentage of taxes, but it’s not unheard of to see close to 40 percent of your paycheck gone to taxes (fed, state, city) and soc sec and what not. Seriously If you need to make roughly 30234. You’re going need to have a pretax income closer to 55k.

    93. Ed says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks again for your post, it’s been very informative. I’m relocating from London to NYC in about 3 weeks (very excited). You guys seem to have much more of a “broker culture” than we do when it comes to renting a place. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to avoid these fees? I have been looking at Craigslist and but are there any there any other good websites?

      My other issue is that I will have no credit score in the US and I have heard my credit score in the UK is pretty irrelevant. Does this rule out a lot of apartments, or will proof of income help?

      • Stefanie says:

        Not having credit will definitely prove to be a challenge. In that case, it might make more sense for you to look into sublets- where you rent from the leaseholder. These can typically be found on craigslist under temporary/shared housing.

      • Kate says:

        Hi Ed,

        This might be a little late – but just in case I catch you. I have a good friend who was also relocating from London and you don’t necessarily have to sublet if you have no credit (though, of course that’s a good option). About 30-40% of places will consider you as long as you are able to put up a few months of pre-paid rent, as well as show proof of employment.

        Also, finding an apartment with no broker fee is going to be the most difficult task for you. I just moved to the city and was desperately looking for places with no broker fees and it just ended up not being feasible. I ended up with an amazing broker who is the reason I found such a wonderful place and who advocated for me as a student (I have good credit, but also had to put up pre-paid rent for this reason). This same broker told me in apartments with no broker fees, that money ends up being part of the rent in the long term, so you end up paying that extra few thousand dollars either way. It’s a bummer, but the advantage to a broker is having someone help you navigate nyc real estate, especially if you don’t have a huge amount of previous knowledge coming into it (as long as you have a good one).

        Hope this helps!


        • Ed says:

          Hi Kate,

          Thanks for responding, it’s much appreciated. You’re not too late either as I fly out later today! I definitely won’t rule out using a broker.

          I hope your own move has gone well.


    94. Jose says:

      I am an international student planning to move to US for graduate studies in finance. I have two campus options – either study at a Midtown Manhattan campus or at North Brunswick, NJ. I’m confused on which one to chose. I’m thinking that if I chose Manhattan I will have more opportunities for networking with people and for job hunting later, but finding low budget housing would a major problem. On the other hand if I chose the North Brunswick campus, will I be able to find more affordable and cheaper housing at the same time build up my professional network? Please give me suggestions.

      • Stefanie says:

        Jersey is certainly cheaper than Manhattan and like you said, an entirely different experience. If budget is a major restriction, know that Manhattan is only an hour or so train ride away.

    95. […] Related Reading: How Much Does It Cost to Live In New York City? […]

    96. kerry says:

      Hi, I will move to NYC next year. I will earn around 80K$(including taxes). what kind of life style I can have? What will be the disposable I will be left with after removing all the taxes?

      • Nick says:

        I bartend at two places and freelance in lim and real estate. I make around 75k a year. Clear around 55 after taxes. I put Money into an Ira, buy groceries, can afford my hobbies, and going out on the weekends / my evenings off. 80k will be fine. You most likely will have a roommate to cut costs down, but if you nab a two bedroom for 2600 on your salary can afford to live in a decent part of green point or Williamsburg and have spending / savings. Remember without a car you eliminate 500-800 a month in transportation bills. The unlimited passes are 116 a month and if you use a bike in the summer you can pay as you go and save more. NYC isn’t that expensive if you learn to be thrifty, find places you like within budget and join hobbies that don’t cost rediculous amounts of money to do.

        • Stefanie says:

          Thanks for sharing Nick, couldn’t agree more!

        • Nicole says:


          I’ve always had this dream of living in New York for quite some time but always afraid of not being able to make it there. I’m currently in school and I’ve lived in Cleveland, Ohio since childhood. My question is, if I wanted to live in New York next year, how would I go about transferring all that I have established here ( Cleveland ) ex. Car, school credits, and all that jazz? Or, is it best for me to finish school here then move? I really want to be in New York because I feel that I can branch out more ( do more with my life ). Your advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank You?.

        • Pearl says:

          2,600 for a two bedroom a month?! That’s outrage! I could live in my two bedroom for 2 years and 8 months for your one month. Where I’m from the internet is higher though and if you don’t have a car your pretty much screwed cause there’s no other way to get around. There isn’t any subways or taxis and stores are spread out. You don’t have to worry about people pick pocketing because everyone is driving you won’t see anyone walking and at 11 pm roads are dead everything is closed. I personally could not live there because noise at night would keep me up, ect but I’m sure some people could not imagine living without a taxi or fine dining every corner. It would be nice to visit but I’d rather have more money in my pocket.

    97. […] a new york author and blogger, described the reality of living in New York. She created a sample budget meant to reflect a comfortable (yet frugal) New York lifestyle for a single […]

    98. Phang says:

      Thank you for this information. I am a recent grad living in CA and want to move to NYC. My calculations came close, Roughly for me it’s $3,000 to survive on a month to month basis, considering I have car payments but will not be taking my car to NYC. My idea of fine dining is an amazing home cooked meal. So thank you for this useful information, it’s definitely given me more hopes about moving next fall.

    99. Sam says:

      $2,524.50/month to survive is a 2 years old estimation. With the hidden inflation and rent inflation, it needs to be updated to at least $3,000/month. The salesperson make in a store in Manhattan a $13/h after tax. These people survive. Let me break it down for you : as any other employees, they work less than 50hours/week so it gives us $2,340/month. If they are lucky, MTA and health care card are paid by the company. But what about other little companies that can’t afford paying health care ? Anyways, let’s add a $200/month on health insurance plus the rent at least $1100(if you don’t want to live like a rat and you are lucky to find a flatshare) plus $500 on groceries, plus $75 on phone plus $35 on conedison you have a remaining $400. But if you are not lucky finding a flatshare, the studio costs at least $1500. Means at the end of the month you have absolutely nothing left on your savings account. And what about saving on studies, savings for personnal care, going out with friends, having a girlfriend ? Impossible !

      • Stefanie says:

        Most of my friends share apartments (with their own bedroom) for about $700-900/month, and they live very well.

        $500 is also extraordinarily high for a single person’s grocery bill.

        • John says:

          I would have to agree with him on having to raise it just ever so slightly if you want to term it as comfortable, because there isn’t enough to borrow from from savings and discretionary spending for emergencies. Something as simple as a bad landlord not giving back a deposit, your computer or phone breaking, or having emergency dental work out could ruin a person. I live off of $45k and make it work but don’t think of it as a realistic long term wage for most people who want to save for retirement or have mid-sized luxuries like vacations, etc.

          You might also want to run these numbers against statistics for average student loan debt, average medical cost out of pocket, etc. or maybe revise the title to ‘Doable Conservative Budget’ vs comfortable.

    100. Hviezda says:

      We are considering to visit NYC for 2 month, so this post helped a lots, at least now we have a breaf overview about the living costs. Thank you Stephanie and have a nice day.

    101. Maxmaxed says:

      I’m 27 and I’m a graphic designer with a degree and near 4.0 gpa and I make around 1200/month living in Brooklyn and working no days off. So I share a room with someone and eat once a day and I pretty much survive like that. I also work from home so no mta expenses at all. Several months of job search and I didn’t get a single reply for more than a hundred emails. So I have to stick to a freelance job that pays less than a dishwasher in hopes that one day someone replies and hires me.

      • Stefanie says:

        It’s awesome that you’re able to live on so little – especially in a city like NYC, but remember that personal finance is a two sided equation, spending and earning. You can be just as proactive about increasing your earnings as you are about cutting spending. Graphic design is an in demand skill set – you just gotta keep working to find that perfect target market/client that will pay a premium for what you have to offer (take it from a writer 🙂 )

    102. Lauren Conrad says:

      Fantastic list/article. This was a huge comfort for someone like me with the salary I have and the expenses I predict I’ll have once I move out my Westchester family home and into NYC. Thanks for a good read.

    103. mege says:

      ok I’m 15 years old and I’m thinking about moving to new york when i move out my house and i really
      don’t want to get a roommate. after reading all this I’m staring to rethink my decision but i think if i get a good job i could mange. but if i don’t i think ill move somewhere else. i really don’t want to struggle my whole life.

      • Stefanie says:

        It’s extremely difficult to live in NYC without a roommate. I’d recommend sharing a place to start, just to get a sense of it. You can still have your own room, but you’d share your kitchen/common space. And remember, it’s not forever.

    104. Anh says:

      I knew someone who paid $1,600 for rent sharing a room with three other people in New York City and it not even in Manhattan. Plus complaining about not have any money when she made $75K per year. How is that possible if all you need is $40K per year to live in New York City and the person I knew made $75K and saying she have no money?

      • Stefanie says:

        Sounds like a luxury apartment. I had a Manhattan studio at one point for $1600. I also had a three bedroom in West New York that I shared with three people, for $1600 total. It’s all about choices.

    105. Heidi says:

      This is such a great and realistic breakdown. Definitely accurate for a 20- or 30- something. Although a higher salary is always a good thing in NYC. Good work!

    106. […] How Much Money Do You Need to Live in New York City? – How much money do you need to make to live in New York City comfortably while still planning for a. The rent alone is much lower than I thought. Thanks for the. […]

    107. […] still plenty of rooms to be had for less than $1000 a month. For a more detailed breakout, I think Stefanie’s is pretty […]

    108. me says:

      Hmm. The cost of comfortable living in NYC is much much higher than that… Do not be fooled by this. Me and my husband had 125.000 annual household income (for 2) and could not afford many many things which we think are crucial for comfort. So left NYC for South. Better nature, better environment and no more ugly people.

    109. Susan says:

      Idk what New York city she’s referring to. Maybe NYC in the early 90s but not really. This so article is bullshit! There is no place in NYC where rent is 900 dollars unless you’re in affordable housing which is a dream. You have a better chance at getting struck by lightning before actually getting chosen from the affordable housing list. And now with all the gentrification going on, minorities are being pushed out of their communities because hipsters think it’s cool to live in the “” Hood “”. These hipsters are even trying to rename Spanish Harlem to SOHA!! What a f-in joke. As a born and breed New Yorker I am so offended by this article. We don’t need any more transplants thinking that they can make it work here, what we need is more housing for the millions that already live here. Put your money where your mouth is. Come see how well you can live here on 30k a year. I can guarantee you this; you won’t be living on the upper east side unless it’s in the project’s.

    110. […] The reality is that living in NYC for less than that is very doable and the best article I’ve ever read that breaks down a decent New York City budget for someone in the arts (written by someone is the arts), is by Stefanie O’Connell and you can check it out here. […]

    111. Parisienne New Yorker says:

      Just wanted that to confirm that in 2019 this still holds. I have a take home pay of $3,000/month, I live alone in a 2-bedroom basement apartment in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Rent is $900 Phone is $50, Netflix/DirectTV is $60. Grocery $200. Internet $30. Gym $11. Savings $700. Travel/Hobbies budget $200. Shopping budget $200. Events/Going out $200. Credit card $50. Laundry $50 Subway $120. Uber allocation $50. Whatever is left over is miscellaneous. Sometimes when the weather is great, I ride my bike to work. I did a little remodelling on the apartment by painting the walls myself etc since everything is
      bit old.

    112. LO says:

      This article and budget is obviously incredibly outdated. I was shocked when I saw the budget, but then saw the comments start from 2014, so that made more sense. There is absolutely no way to get a place for $900, and you’d have to live way out in Sheepshead Bay which is a significant ride if you work in Manhattan. With that transit ride, you might as well move to a NJ suburb of NY like Weehawken, Jersey City, Hoboken or North Bergen. To live comfortably and not live hand to mouth, or to follow the 50/30/20 rule, you need a minimum of 85,000 a year. Or else good luck making every buck count.

    113. […] Favorite Post: How Much Does it Cost to Live in NYC? and The Danger of “Keeping Up With the […]

    114. Leelee says:

      I’m a few years late, but as a born and bred New Yorker, living in NJ is *not* living in NYC. Sure, it’s more affordable if you only need to be near the city, but I don’t think it’s fair to list it as an option in a post about living *in* NYC. NYC is the five boroughs; the surrounding suburbs are just the metro area.

    115. Joe says:

      This is ridiculous that as an adult roommates is needed to live in NYC. The fact of the matter is the way you put it you should barely get by. This isn’t comfortable. Also people should stop encouraging this type of living. If you’re a college student it’s one thing but a grown adult with a full time job in NY needs at least 80k gross to cover a decent (not baller) lifestyle.

      Thanks to articles like this I’m sure big corporations are laughing their ass’s to the bank hoping people fall for this crap. Good way to encourage Corporate America to find even more reason to screw the middle class by convincing people it’s normal to want to live in a city with roommates. Is it really too much to ask an employer to pay a person who works in the city enough to have a crappy studio in their own. That should be living wage. If you need to live in an apartment with multiple roommates that should be a sign that you’re living below the poverty line.

      • Stefanie says:

        Hey Joe, I agree. American workers should be paid a living wage. That living wage should also be reflective of the city they live in and the average cost of living of someone with debt, because in all honesty, this is how it is. 23% of Americans are ashamed of their debt and it’s because the world isn’t keeping up with basic financial needs like cost of living, housing, etc. It isn’t too much to ask an employer to pay someone a salary that 100% covers their needs. I really honed in on this point in a recent YouTube video, linked here:

        Some people like to live with roommates, especially those who may be single and choose to surround themselves with a community. We all live differently and for those who might be moving to New York City, in order to ramp up their new life, a roommate can help alleviate a financial burden.

    116. MsK says:

      Honestly I do not know anyone who makes 30 or 40 K and manages to live on that in NYC. Rents are at least 1900 and to cover the basics even without going out a lot you need a minimum of 75- 90 K and even then you will constantly feel broke.

    117. Adrien says:

      How is this up to date now in June 2020 ?
      I’m thinking to work in NY for a job around 115k.
      I have never lived in the US although I’m american, I wonder how feasible it is to get a flat ? Do I need money as a caution ? Can I break a lease and leave earlier ?
      I’ve never been a fancy spender, even in Paris which can be as expensive as NY on some aspects.
      If you consider living without room mates, how expensive does it get ?

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