Living on a budget in Brooklyn – 2020 guide

For years people have been looking at Brooklyn as a cheap alternative to Manhattan. And it certainly was attracting plenty of new residents every year. Being that living in such an expensive city like NYC means you are in the middle of everything at a price, Brooklyn was synonymous with affordability. Today, it seems that the capital of all things hipsterish is losing its touch. The cost of living is rising and it’s not easy to manage your finance like it once was, but living on a budget in Brooklyn is still possible.

Living on a budget in Brooklyn

As difficult as it may seem, living comfortably on a budget is not easy anywhere, not only in Brooklyn. Sometimes it seems like a struggle, sometimes it looks like a constant compromise between what you wish for and what you are able to. And if you are up for living in Brooklyn for any convenient reason, it is important to be informed when moving. Your monthly budget calculation is your best friend, and the right information at the right moment will mean a lot. Here is a couple of things you need to know about, if you plan on living in Brooklyn, in general:

  • Public transit is your transportation on the budget in Brooklyn
  • The location does matter in Brooklyn
  • Getting a roommate is a good way to save money
  • Save money with storage options
  • Don’t be lazy with food
  • Ditch some of the subscriptions

Public transit is your transportation on the budget in Brooklyn

It may seem impossible, but the subway is still fast and usually a reliable way to get around Brooklyn, and NYC in general. Car owners should consider if they want to keep it or not when moving in Brooklyn. Constantly occupying yourself with worrying about parking space might not be worth it. And let’s not forget that car insurance only increases your monthly bills. On the other hand, public transportation doesn’t come with any obligation besides your MetroCard. Bicycle is also a viable and cheap solution for those who don’t mind using it. And if you will take the additional advice, private car pickups will only get you stuck in traffic while you still have to pay for it. So, commuting is a way to go.

People walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.
People still enjoy taking a long walk to relax.

The location does matter in Brooklyn

If you planning on living on a budget in Brooklyn, you should consider your options before you move there. Your apartment hunting can be quite challenging and will require you to react quickly. You may miss the opportunity for an affordable listing in a matter of hours. Also, like in Manhattan, your concept of what is a large place might not be convenient for observing places in Brooklyn. Apartments are exceptionally small for a price, and it’s just the way it is. For anything affordable, you might want to look in parts of Brooklyn that are further from Manhattan. Everything close will have unreasonably high prices thanks to many workers that live there and work in Manhattan. Your best chance is to do solid research about Brooklyn neighborhoods before rushing in to rent anything. Here is a list of a few best neighborhoods to live in, considering affordability:

  • Flatbush – pretty affordable median rent for living in the heart of Brooklyn. Convenient train service that will get you to Manhattan in about 40 minutes. Diverse, not overpopulated, and interesting neighborhood overall.
  • Bay Ridge – one of the neighborhoods with the lowest median rents. Not so convenient if you are working in Manhattan since you will need almost an hour to get there. However, it’s very friendly, has a close community, and will give you a remarkable feel of the old Brooklyn.
  • Sunset Park – for an average rent of about $2,100 per month, you get a culturally rich and diverse neighborhood. If you work in Manhattan, you will need about 40 minutes.

Getting a roommate is a good way of living on a budget in Brooklyn

If you are not a family with multiple incomes, but a single, you still have a way to enjoy living in Brooklyn on a budget. All you have to do is to be ready to find a roommate. One will suffice, but nothing stops you from renting a place and get a couple of roommates. Even though it’s not the best way for people who enjoy the solitude, it’s definitely a great way to cut your monthly expenses. Just be careful with finding an appropriate roommate since NYC is crawled with all types of people.

Save money with storage options

You may not realize at once how small apartments in Brooklyn can be, or you are coming with a lot of possessions. Either way, it’s always better to rent an additional storage space from companies like U. Santini Moving and Storage, that to pay a higher rent for a larger space. It’s a more budget-friendly option since, obviously, the square of storage space is much cheaper than the square of apartment space. There is no point in paying a higher price for a space you will not use anyway. This is a good tactic for people who want to downsize in order to reduce their monthly bills.

Don’t be lazy with food

We all know how tempting is to have your food delivered at your doorstep, but is there another way to get a proper meal? One of the solutions is to prepare your own food. Of course, not everyone has the time, but many of us just use it as an excuse for laziness. Try, at least once a week, to take a few hours to prepare your own food, just as an experiment. You never know, but you might actually love it. Some will swear there is something therapeutic in cooking, especially if you are preparing your favorite meals. It may last you for more than a day. Another way is to take a walk and get your food, don’t wait for someone to deliver it. On the way from work, or as an exercise, it will be quite beneficial to your wallet and health as well.

A man enjoying the smell of food on a plate.
The food will taste much better once you figure out how to prepare it properly.

Ditch some of the subscriptions

Take a deep breath and think about it. Do you really need all those things you subscribe to? It might be as simple as a magazine, or as big as a cable TV subscription. God forbid someone touches your Cable TV, but… are you really using its full potential? Or like many people are searching for the most precise and selective information over the internet. Get a decent and stable internet connection that will replace everything else, and you will save some money every month. Even better, if you have a roommate or a good neighbor, you can share your wifi and split the bills.

A woman using a tablet in front of a laptop screen.
Today, people mostly find everything they need online.

Living on a budget in Brooklyn is not the art of survival. It’s the art of being able to tune up your life by practicing many little things that can matter on a greater scale. It is a great place for living, you only need to know how to adjust to it.

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