How Much Does It Really Cost To Live In NYC?

NYC is known for being expensive, but is it really? This analysis compares necessary expenses and optional costs to determine how much living in the Big Apple really costs.
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How Much Does It Really Cost To Live In NYC?
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The actual cost to live in NYC ranges between 50K-100K+ annually depending on your living situation, dependents, and lifestyle. Other factors such as owning a car, transportation, and personal expenses also factor into the true overall costs of living in the Big Apple.

The truth is that while NYC is often credited for higher costs of living, there are many ways to live in the city comfortably or at least within your means. In fact, with the help of affordable NYC movers, many singles, couples, and families across all economic brackets have been able to settle into the Big Apple for a life filled with all of their favorite passions, activities, and personal needs.

To understand what you will need to live in the city, check out this detailed cost breakdown that will help give you an idea of the actual costs of living in NYC.

1. Rent in NYC

Rent will be the most significant cost of living in NYC. While rents in trendy neighborhoods in Manhattan and in other boroughs may be as high as $7,000 per month, other areas in the city can be far more affordable for those of us in a regular income bracket.

For example, Riverdale in the Bronx is a mix of professionals and families who enjoy affordable rents. Monthly rents for 2-bedroom apartments in Riverdale start at $2,000 and can go up to $2,500, depending on amenities and location.

Those that want to be adjacent to Manhattan for work or entertainment should consider Roosevelt Island. This small inlet tucked inside the East River has monthly rents for studio apartments ranging from $1,100-$2,200. Two-bedroom units go for between $1,900 and-2,500 per month. Additionally, the subway station on the island can drop you off right in the heart of Manhattan within 30 minutes.

Even areas of Manhattan such as Inwood can be pretty affordable, with rents ranging from $1,350- $3,000 per month. This is ideal for those that want to use moving companies in NYC to be close to the action but don’t want to break the bank doing it.

All of these prices mean that anyone wanting to move to and live in NYC will need at least $25K-$35K per year to dedicate to rent.

Be aware that moving into an NYC apartment will require a few upfront costs in addition to the local or long-distance movers you hire to help you relocate. Many landlords will require that you pay the first month’s rent plus a security deposit upfront before moving in. The average price of a one-bedroom apartment, including the upfront fees, is roughly $3,000, with two bedrooms coming in at around $4,500.

2. Food in NYC

Eating will be the next highest essential cost. While NYC is known as the epicenter for cultured cuisine from around the world, it is also known for the high prices that come with these delicacies. On average, a meal out in NYC will cost $10-$20 per person, depending on where you go and what you order. But, of course, those prices will vary based on the cuisine and location you choose.

In short, if you plan on having all of your meals at restaurants, you can expect to spend anywhere from $210-$420 per week or $800-$1600 per month.

To better afford eating out more often, it’s recommended to cook some of your meals at home to cut down on costs. Groceries are far more affordable per meal than eating out, with the average monthly expenditures at local grocery stores totaling around $300 per month for a single person.

Families may end up spending closer to $1000 per month on groceries, which is still significantly lower than the amount they would spend eating out for every meal.

These numbers mean that in addition to rent, those looking to relocate using NYC movers would need to budget approximately $5K-$15K per year on a combination of groceries and dining out.

3. Transportation in NYC

Transportation is the next biggest expense for those living and working in NYC. Fortunately, NYC’s expansive transit system is super affordable for any budget. Single rides on the metro, subway, and buses cost $2.75, with express services costing $6.75. In addition, riders can save on transport by purchasing monthly unlimited ride passes for $127. This means that to get to just about any part of New York City, residents will need approximately $1500 per year.

Living costs can increase exponentially for those who have or need a car. The densely packed city is not very car-friendly. Parking in garages can cost around $400-$800 per month, depending on the location.

Additionally, other costs for metered parking may be incurred in addition to the overall cost of gas and insurance. This means that to live in New York City with a car, you’ll need to budget anywhere between $12K-$20K per year.

4. Entertainment in NYC

Not necessarily an essential factor in the cost of living, but an important one nonetheless is entertainment. NYC is home to some of the best museums, concerts, plays, and shows on the planet. The average cost for an entry-level ticket to a Broadway musical ranges between $80-$120. Depending on the production, this price can go up or down. For example, Hamilton tickets are some of the most expensive in town at over $300 each.

Fortunately, many of NYC’s amazing museums, parks, and other entertainment options are free or reduced-price on certain days of the week. This means you really only need to budget for transportation, food, and beverages to enjoy some of the most incredible entertainment New York City has to offer.

Other costs to consider in NYC

In addition to rent, food, transportation, and entertainment, there are a few other costs to consider when living in the city.

  • Utilities: In addition to your monthly rent, you need to consider the cost of utilities. On average, NYC residents spend approximately $273 per month on utilities that include internet, cable, and electricity – adding an additional $3200 to your yearly salary requirements to live in the city.
  • Insurance: In addition to car insurance, it’s a good idea to get renters insurance in case of theft or damage to your personal items. An average renter’s policy costs approximately $15-$30 per month, adding an additional $180-$360 per year to your budget. Be aware that rentors insurance may or may not cover damage caused by interstate moving companies loading or unloading your belongings into an apartment.
  • Laundry: Keeping your clothes clean will require a load of laundry every few days. Laundry services will charge anywhere between $1-and $2 per pound of clothing. Coin-operated services will charge approximately $2-$5 per wash and slightly less for drying.
  • Gym Membership: Staying fit and healthy in the city will require a membership to a gym. Monthly fees for most gyms are around $50 per month or less for a yearly membership, depending on the location. This adds an additional $540 to your annual budget requirements for NYC living.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a cup of coffee in NYC?

A regular cup of coffee will cost approximately $2-$4. Fancier coffee beverages such as lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos will run you anywhere between $4-$8.

How do I save money in NYC?

To reduce costs, consider living with roommates, taking advantage of NYC’s many free or reduced-price entertainment options, and cooking your own meals.

How much does it cost to move to NYC?

The cost to move to NYC can be as little as a few hundred dollars to as high as several thousand dollars. The total price will depend on the distance traveled, the total amount of stuff you own, and the services you hire from a moving company.

The True Cost to Live in NYC is More Affordable Than You'd Think

Although it may seem like the cost to live in NYC is out of this world, it can actually be relatively affordable moving to NYC and living there. Living there can be very fulfilling and fun, provided you know how to manage your money well. By anticipating your needs and planning ahead, you should be able to live a great city life without breaking the bank.

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