This post originally appeared on the blog MakingManhattan.com.
By Zoey Woldman
Saving money is hard, especially when it means saying no to that new bag you’ve been eyeing. I’ve pretty much mastered the art of making money stretch all by creating a new spending plan that’s sure to suit even the most addicted shopaholic. With a few easy tricks, saving money in the city is suddenly simple. Heck, you might even save enough for that bag.
Walk to work. If you’re taking the train to and from work everyday, you are spending at least $5 a day on transportation. Even though that doesn’t sound like a lot, it really adds up. In fact, if you buy a 30-day unlimited pass every month, you will spend $1,440 on transportation in just one year! Imagine all the clothing you could buy with that money. If you live close enough to your office, walk! Not only does this save money, but it’s also great exercise. I walk to and from work everyday, and I like to use the time to catch up with my parents, grandma, or old friends. With just one simple tweak, I’m saving money, getting in an easy workout, and avoiding complaints that I don’t call home enough.
Pack your lunch. Buying lunch every day adds up so quickly, especially if you work in a pricey area where a salad costs $20. Try packing your lunch everyday. Very often — unless I’m feeling like Martha Stewart — I just make a simple sandwich or pack my dinner leftovers from the night before. If the reason you’re leaving the office is because you just need to get out, take your lunch with you. I like to find a park or bench nearby to sit and eat. The (semi) fresh air wakes me up, and I am given the perfect opportunity to people watch. And honestly, who doesn’t love people watching?
Do your own laundry. I’m sure we can all agree that after going to the dentist, doing laundry is pretty much the least fun thing to do. Throw in the fact that your building doesn’t have a laundry room, and yeah, you can forget about it! Laundry services in the city are super convenient, but pretty expensive. Those kind of laundry services charge by the pound, and if you’re anything like me, you always have an insanely large amount of laundry to do. If I had to pay based on weight, I’d be living in a shoebox. Oh wait…I basically already do. Welcome to New York? Anyway, my suggestion is just deal with the six blocks of schlepping because honestly you can shove way more laundry into one of those machines than what the companies would charge you for one pound of clothing. Plus, all that time waiting around is the perfect opportunity to catch up on some reading.
Thrift shop. If you’re worried about spending, chances are you’re probably shopping too much (guilty as charged). Initiating a savings plan doesn’t mean you have to cut out all of your shopping, but it does mean being more price conscious. Try shopping at thrift stores. Aside from having amazing prices, thrifting can be so rewarding when you find a spectacular piece!
Swap out drinks for coffee or tea. Pretty much any time I make plans with friends, drinks are proposed. And while I love a good marg, I don’t love the price tag. Drinks in the Big Apple are seriously expensive. I’m still trying to understand how so many young professionals manage to afford multiple Happy Hours in a week or the hangover afterwards. (If anyone has the answer, let your girl know!) If you’re tired of drink dates too, or just reserving your alcohol consumption for club nights, try switching to coffee or tea dates. Instead of wasting $17 on a sugary concoction, you can fuel your mind and body while only spending $3-$5. Also, it’s pretty hard to network while slurring. Just saying…
Caroline Vazzana is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of MakingManhattan.com where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC.