Author Topic: NYC Mustachians Tricks  (Read 4438 times)

bobbyj

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NYC Mustachians Tricks
« on: January 27, 2015, 04:08:35 PM »
NYC Mustachians, what tricks do you use to reduce costs?

I realized that since I almost always just take the subway to and from work, that I should not be getting the monthly unlimited.  Saves about $12 a month.

Yankuba

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 06:01:44 PM »
Time Out New York magazine is a good source of free activities and events.

theonethatgotaway

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 07:13:16 PM »
We go to Costco or BJs to load up on staple items (eggs and organic milk are dirt cheap here, salt, spices). Our family friends from S. America think our grocery portion sizes are ridiculous so they actually buy them together and split things (like the cheese blocks). And these aren't low income people, one is in finance and the other is a surgeon.  !! That blew my mind for a minute over discussion at one of their dinner parties.

My husband gets his metro card paid for by his work and I'm home with the kids. We chose to live in the city, 2 stops from his work. We spend a bit more in rent, but commute is free and saves a LOT of time compared to living in suburbs. Time is another currency we live by.

Have you considered biking it? I'm about to purchase a bike to start using on the improved bike lanes.

Excited to read what other NYC hacks people are doing!



Yankuba

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 07:42:44 PM »
My old high school teacher from Queens liberates food thrown out by restaurants and supermarkets. I saw her on television.

Lentils5eva

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2015, 08:08:33 PM »
My old high school teacher from Queens liberates food thrown out by restaurants and supermarkets. I saw her on television.

NOPE NOPE NOPE.  oh god that is so gross to me. 

My tips are:
-outer borough + roommate(s)
-Costco for all meal staples
-Nudge yourself away from convenience purchases: create workable routines and spend money upfront on things that make those routines easy to stick to:  a programmable coffee pot, a good travel mug, decent tupperware for bringing lunch.
-cultivate cooking as a hobby, and make it something you enjoy.
-Entertain friends at your home instead of going out.
-Reserve cabs for extremely rare occasions.

Other than that, all the rules that apply in any city apply in NYC.  Control your biggest costs - housing and food; set aside savings first out of your paycheck so you limit how much you CAN spend; practice gratitude - even though there are hundreds of thousands of people in this city who might "have more" you do, there are also hundreds of thousands who probably have less.  Gratitude always helps me keep perspective and perspective helps me drive my mustachianism.

overlord34

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 08:09:14 PM »
For housing I like to find inexpensive solutions in high demand neighborhoods by choosing places in the neighborhood that are in less demand.  For example, I used to live in Williamsburg (Bedford Ave) and at that time you'd pay a lot more just to live north of Grand St.  I chose a place two blocks south of grand street and my walk to the train was still only 7 minutes.  I chose the smallest bedroom in a great 3br share with a balcony and got to enjoy the neighborhood at only $750/month.  This was back in 2006.

In 2007 I was looking in Clinton Hill because of its great architecture.  People pay big premiums here just because they want to live in brownstones.  Instead I chose a post-war building that is a little bit further from the train than most people like to walk.  I still only have a 7 minute walk to the train and it's a pleasant walk seeing beautiful brownstones along the way.  Mortgage interest payment (excluding amount that goes toward principal which I consider savings) + maintenance payment is $750.  And I bought before the crash.

Food I get from Trader Joe's, Costco, and farmers markets.  Transportation right now is NYC subway but I'm strongly considering going to biking for at least 80% of my trips.  Meals out I try to go with inexpensive hole in the wall ethnic places rather than the gourmet restaurants in Manhattan or the farm to table places in Brooklyn.  There's a great Mexican place around the corner from me with $2 tacos.  Queens has lots of these places.

After that the best way to reduce costs is to get your entertainment value just from enjoying the city itself.  Besides all the free events and gorgeous parks, there's nothing I enjoy more than aimlessly wandering around a new NYC neighborhood or walking by the East or Hudson rivers.  I've spent whole days just exploring places in NYC I haven't been before and enjoying the architecture, the things to see, and of course people watching.  In the summer I do picnics and board games in Central Park. 

Other fun things: My friends know a spot near Summer Stage in the Central Park, close enough where they can hear the concerts for free.  They bring wine and cheese and enjoy the city night.  I also like the Met and Natural History Museum which are suggested donation only.  If you happen to be a NYC employee you can also get big discounts on broadway shows, etc. through TKTS.  If you're interested in sailing, there's a lake in Flushing Meadows Park where you can join a club for $40/year (they also do learn to sail classes if you don't know how) and go sailing four days a week.  Today I went to the park and saw people spending the whole day sledding down hills after the snow we had last night.

As long as you choose an affordable place to live, there's lots of ways to entertain yourself for little to no cost in this city.




lise

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 08:53:10 PM »
Depending on your address, you can order goods at the nearest Costco (Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem) or Fairway for a very low delivery fee on Instacart.  You also don't have to be a member doing it this way, so that saves you the Costco membership fee.


lise

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 08:58:09 PM »
I don't buy a monthly unlimited metro card.  You basically have to show up at work every day and use it at least once during the weekend to make it worth your while.  For example with the snow day today that's a day lost on your unlimited!  Plus you may have had MLK day off etc.  Walk when you can!

WESTOFTHEHUDSON

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2015, 05:09:39 PM »
I used to shop the green market on 8th ave ( I was a vegetarian & bought loads of veggies for cheaper than any farmer's market. And from my local supermarket, never a Whole foods or a Trader Joe's ( except for wine). I would rely on free entertainment which us everywhere and biked lots. I Aldo volunteered with groups like downtown boathouse. I met friends, got to improve my kayak skills and go in free or very cheap excursions.

  I would suggest a small slow cooker if that would make eating out/ takeout less tempting. My job also provided us with dinner and car ride home if we worked past a certain time.

Living in NYC doesn't have to be expensive. Finding ways to spend less are largely dependent on how you currently spend now and then finding ways to reduce that.

I love to knit so I found a group that provided yarn if I knit hats for preemies. My hobby fed for free. I also really loved Freecy le ( especially when I taught ).

alice76

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2015, 06:27:58 PM »
Craigslist is so awesome here in NYC, and don't forget curbside. Space is at such a premium that, with patience, you can find pretty much whatever you need cheap. We've scored nearly new crockpots, strollers, baby gates, furniture, you name it, for very little money. Public transportation is cheaper than a car; walking and biking are cheaper than public transportation.

+1 on the free entertainment. We do Friday nights picnicking outside of SummerStage, too, and have enjoyed concerts ranging from Jimmy Cliff to The Black Keys. Our UES apartment is under market, and it allows us to enjoy Central Park like our backyard. We use the free city pools, too. Savvy parents sign up for free swimming lessons as well as toy soccer and basketball in Riverside Park. Programming at the library branches is awesome and free, as well (story time, science club, summer reading scavenger hunts, movie nights, etc). Staten Island (!) has good beaches. Really.

In winter, you can skate for free at Bryant Park if you bring your own skates and a lock. Show up early, and it's not crowded. Lasker Rink isn't free, but it's not expensive and no tourists go to Harlem to skate. Get a museum membership and use it to its fullest. AMNH is a good one with kids. We have family days where we're out all day, and we just pack fruit and pb&j's for lunch. We may or may not spring for an inexpensive treat, depending on our budget.

We use our crockpot religiously and entertain friends at our apartment (a junior four) on a weekly basis. Yesterday (snow day) was sledding in CP, followed by chicken soup and grilled cheese for about 10.

Remember that just because *someone* paid top dollar for an item or service, it doesn't mean there isn't a cheaper alternative.

lise

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2015, 06:53:18 PM »
I shop at Whole Foods for meat and produce.  I find it reasonably priced for the quality.  A recent survey found Whole Foods Bowery the second cheapest supermarket in NYC after Fairway (I don't have a Fairway near me).  The survey did not include Trader Joes though.

http://ny.racked.com/archives/2014/09/04/whole_foods_cheap.php#more

I buy processed food at Trader Joes (coffee, peanut butter, etc) but to me, their fresh food is not the quality of Whole Foods or a Fairway. 

bobbyj

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2015, 07:56:01 PM »
Wow, great to see all the replies!

Natural History Museum is a great way to entertain kids, if you work at a big company check out if you can get free admission to museums by showing your work ID.  I think a lot of companies also have healthclub and Verizon discounts.

Right now I'm living in the suburbs after living in Manhattan for 12 years and I'm considering getting a City Bike membership to further reduce commuting costs.  Not sure if I'm ready to make a commitment to it, so I'll probably just get a few day passes and try it out first.

The west side park also used to have some good entertainment options, live music by the pier and summer movie nights, that was a few years ago so I'm not sure if they're still doing that.

And my favorite, booze cruise the Staten Island Ferry, cheap beers and a nice view of the harbor and statue of liberty.  There is a bit of a wait between ferries coming back, so you'll need to kill a few minutes in the ferry terminal.

brooklynmoney

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2015, 09:10:00 PM »
My mom buys my protein (meat, fish) at BJ's by her house in NJ and brings it to me in a cooler (I am spoiled, I know). I never take taxis because they make me car sick and they cost too much and half the time the driver can't find where I live. I take public transportation to the beach (Rockaway) every weekend in the spring/summer. I halve a corporate discount for NYSC and pay $60 a month. I go to classes w/ my friends which is healthy and cheap and fun. I do group runs with my friends on the street for free.  I invested in sports equipment that I use every weekend making my weekend activities a sunk cost. I don't own a car. I live in a one bed plus office. Until recently, I always lived in 4th floor walkups with no amenities. I've never had a doorman or an elevator. Better for the body and the wallet.

theonethatgotaway

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Re: NYC Mustachians Tricks
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2015, 09:10:49 AM »
Can I ask what you are paying for the under market junior 4 in upper east side? My friend just listed their real 3 bed in Astoria for 2800.

I used to live on UES with my kids and central park is amazing. Also we had membership to the children's museum for cold winter days. Used that fully.

Free tennis lessons in the summer as well!