In order to avoid monstrous financial mistakes while living in the city, you must have a plan in place. With so much to do and overpriced stuff to spend your money on, city living is equivalent to a vacuum cleaner sucking money from your pockets. Your goal of enjoying affordable city living can turn into a nightmare, causing you to feel like you’re sinking in debt faster than the Titanic.
City residents love city living for its conveniences, but hate it for its expenses.
The 5 Tips To Affordable City Living We’re Going To Provide Will Give You Money-Saving Super Powers
City life can be convenient, because everything you need and want is within easy reach. Jobs, grocery stores, shopping, nightlife, restaurants, home delivery of food and entertainment. And of course, ready access to the trains, buses, cabs, and rideshare services like Uber or Lyft that will take you to your destination.
What makes city living convenient also makes it very expensive. Due to the convenience of city living, more people want to live in the city. And the high demand drives up the market cost of everything.
Renting or buying a house, transportation, and groceries are far more expensive. Buying a coffee, eating out or ordering in can drain your wallet faster than a Japanese Bullet Train.
Fortunately, there are so many ways to save money, that are going to prevent you and your family from accumulating a lot of financial debt.
The following tips are going to help you, especially if you have student loans.
Outstanding credit card debt.
Ridiculous car loans.
Or just want to avoid getting into debt in the first place.
We’re going to help you get on a budget, and stay on it, while still being able to enjoy everything the city has to offer.
Don’t fall into the same trap as 68% of households in the U.S. by not preparing a budget and sticking to it.
Let’s Begin With Our 5 Outstanding Tips On Affordable City Living
Your Affordable City Living Plan Starts With Saving On Groceries
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average family of four spends around $700 to $1,000 a month on food.
Wouldn’t be nice if you could eat healthier?
And still save a huge amount on your grocery bills, instead of wasting 40% of your food each month?
Shop At Places Like Walmart
In my recent post, “Walmart For Minimalist Urbanites,” I talked about how shopping at Walmart is smart.
Walmart offers a huge choice of groceries for amazing prices. They have generic brands that cost over half as much as name brands. And they always have promotional savings going on, which save you even more.
Just follow the simple rules I’m going to offer below.
- Never go shopping when you’re hungry.
- Always bring a grocery list.
- Buy cheaper less known brands.
- Use coupons and take advantage of sales.
- Learn where everything is located in the store.
- Plan your meals so that you don’t overbuy, resulting in waste when you throw out food.
Which Brings Us To Our Next Affordable City Living Tip, Eating At Home
At one point I was spending over $100 a week on lunches. This was not only extremely expensive, it also caused me to accumulate some credit card debt.
Fortunately, I smarted up and started to pack my lunches instead. Not only did this save me money, I also lost weight from eating healthier, and was able to pay back my credit card debt in no time.
It’s amazing how these small everyday expenses can add up. But if you do decide to go out to eat once in a while, make sure you pick a place that has decent prices, such as the “East Ridge Diner & Steak House.”
My family and myself have enjoyed eating at this restaurant on the weekends, and many holidays when we didn’t feel like cooking at home.
Just don’t make going out to eat a habit
Every Affordable City Living Plan Involves Public Transportation
Besides owning a home, car ownership is the largest expense for people living in the city.
Gas can be super expensive from stopping and going at red lights. And yearly maintenance can really add up. Plus, paying for parking is outrageous.
But that’s not all.
You’re going to get socked with paying for plates, inspections, and good old car insurance.
According to TheSimpleDollar.com, average car insurance costs around $815 per year. Of course, there are many factors that can affect this, something they explain very clearly in the article.
Factor in the rising cost of gas, something Time.com estimates to be rising faster than all other consumer goods, and you’ll understand why I preferred riding the RTS bus to the RTS Transit Center when I worked downtown.
At $15 per week for 52 weeks out of the year, you’d still be paying only $780 to ride the bus.
To find out more, read my post, “Bus Versus Car, And Why the Bus Is Cheaper.”
If Your Truly Want To Experience Affordable City Living, Ride A Folding Bike
A while back, before I entered into the world of entrepreneurship, I worked in Greece, working all kinds of crazy hours.
Many times, the RTS bus would either run only every hour, especially during the evening and weekends. Or wouldn’t run at all.
I’d either have to leave the house extremely early, or take an Uber home during late hours.
I started riding my Tern Link D8 for the round trip of 10 miles. This amazing folding bicycle saved me lots of time, by not having to wait hours for the bus.
Plus, a considerable amount of money from not having to take a Uber home on late nights.
For those who live too far to walk, but not far enough to drive, a folding bicycle is way cheaper, plus more enjoyable.
You’ll save a fortune on car insurance, maintenance, and doctor bills, because you’ll lose weight and become healthier.
And as an added bonus. A folding bicycle is great for socializing or exploring the city, such as the time I went to Dad’s house for pasta. Or the other time when I rode the Brompton folding bike to explore some mysterious abandoned steps.
Then when you’re done using it, fold it up to bring into the house, a restaurant, or put in the trunk of a Uber if the weather gets bad.
But if the Tern Link D8 is not compact enough for you when folded, you can always try a Brompton Folding Bicycle like I did. Now I own both!
If you can’t afford a bicycle, or don’t prefer to own one, you can always use a bicycle rental service, such as Pace. Or Citibike in New York City.
Which leads us to our next affordable city living tip.
An Uber Is Still Way Cheaper Than A Regular Taxi
Uber is an amazing ride-share program that is a blessing for those who don’t own a car.
It’s way cheaper and faster than a taxi. Many would argue that Uber and other ride-sharing services are ruining the taxi industry by driving down industry prices.
And will make it harder for commuters in the long run by driving taxi companies out of business.
I disagree with this argument, because my experience with Uber has been nothing but positive.
Just don’t leave your phone behind like I did one time, which I explain in detail in “What Happened When I Left My Phone In An Uber.”
And as an extra bonus, I’ve added a section below with tips for all you city dwellers who have to travel for business.
An Affordable City Living Plan Also Works While Traveling For Business
Recently I had to take a trip to New York City for business. Yes, life as an entrepreneur isn’t always easy, but I somehow cope.
Actually, I love flying into JFK International Airport, as long as I plan my trips properly and bring the right travel gear.
A Cheap Airline is the First Step to a Successful Trip
Whenever I fly into JFK International Airport, I use JetBlue as my preferred airline.
JetBlue usually has the cheapest flights.
Has 7” more leg room (that’s up to 38”!), in the Even More Space seats section, available on all JetBlue planes.
Free snacks and WiFi.
Non stop entertainment.
And Trublue points that allow you to earn free flights (I’ve flown for $11 round trip before).
A Carry On, Such as a Backpack, is the Easiest, Plus Cheapest Way to Travel
In order to avoid paying for checked luggage, and preventing the airlines from losing my luggage, I travel with a backpack instead.
With a backpack, I’m able to put it under the seat in front of me on the plane, and carry it on my back while traveling around New York City, hands-free.
The secret is to pick a backpack that’s expandable.
Has plenty of pockets.
And of course is waterproof, to protect all your personal belongings.
My favorite so far is the Origaudio El Dorado Roll Top Backpack. This backpack has plenty of room to fit all my clothing, folded up military style of course.
And is very lightweight while still being extremely durable.
Pack Clothes That Are Versatile
Another great tip is to pack clothes that are versatile for many occasions. Clothes that can be worn to restaurants, meetings, and for exploring a city, will take up less room in your luggage.
And while you’re at it, wear a comfortable pair of footwear that can be used for all occasions. My favorite footwear to wear are Nike sneakers with Lock Laces.
The look great whether I’m at meetings or going out to explore. Plus they are more comfortable than regular shoes, and are easy to slip on and off while going through airport security.
City living can be great, because everything you need and want is within easy reach.
Jobs, grocery stores, shopping, nightlife, home delivery of food, and entertainment. And of course, ready access to trains, buses, and rideshare services like Uber or Lyft that will take you to your destination.
Unfortunately, what makes city living convenient also makes it very expensive. Everybody wants to live in the city. And the high demand drives up the cost of everything.
Add in the temptation of having too much overpriced stuff to spend money on, it’s very easy to get into debt.
This debt can cause you to both love and hate living in the city.
Fortunately, the Affordable City Living plan you just read will help you cut expenses.
Help you eliminate that awful, stressful debt.
Just make sure that you get a good wallet, such as my favorite, the Trek mule, to hold all that cash you’re going to be saving, because this Affordable City Living guide is truly that powerful.