This post is part of our celebration of Financial Literacy Month this April.
According to Council for Community and Economic Research, New York City is ranked as the No. 1 most expensive city in America with the average cup of coffee costing $6.14 and average rent at $3,783.
In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we asked our Account Coordinators how they are able to survive in the city that is phenomenally good at stealing their money. Here is what our ACs believe is the most valuable money management lesson they’ve learned since starting their career.
Moving to New York City after graduating college was a great opportunity, but it doesn’t come easy. The best financial advice I've received was to make a monthly budget and start adding to my 401k right away. Although it's difficult to plan and track your spending, using apps like Mint and HomeBudget helps me manage my finances and allows me to receive notifications of my progress. Lastly, give back to the community, in time or monetarily; it's a personal best practice!
It’s definitely not easy to live in this crazy city as a young professional; however, the best advice I’ve ever received is to live it up within your means. New York City is an amazing place, we work hard, and we have great jobs. While some of us are probably not ready to put a down payment on a house, we can (and should!) take that weekend hiking trip, even if it means camping instead of staying in a hotel. We should make reservations at the new restaurant up the block, even if we just get appetizers. We should buy tickets to that Brewers / Mets game, even if we’re in the nosebleeds. While we do need to be conscious of our spending habits, we should also find ways to have a little fun without breaking the bank.
Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap – it probably isn’t worth it. This applies to everything in life, but especially fashion and housing. Since starting my career, I’ve been investing in quality pieces that will last a few years rather than hopping on every trend. Maybe I won’t be featured on any of the street style Instagram accounts, but I’m also not going broke for trends!
With housing, it’s a little different, but my rule has been that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is – especially with the New York housing market. Renting in the city is enough of a nightmare as is – make an investment in your safety and comfort that will help support your mental and physical health. That being said, if you’re never home, you might not need the world’s biggest room or the most beautiful view, so spend your rent money smartly and live as cheaply as you can. Just remember put aside some money in your 401k, too!
The most valuable (and most difficult) money management lesson is definitely learning how to live within your means and feel comfortable doing it. As much as we’d all love exotic getaways and fine dining every night, I find it’s much more satisfying to restrain yourself from the extras in order to ensure you can save a sizeable portion of every paycheck. In the end, this will be much more rewarding as you see your savings account grow over time!
Also, you should always pay off as much of your credit card debt as you can each month. The amount we accumulate in interest adds up quicker than we realize. If you can pay in full each month, it will certainly pay off in the end and will leave you with some extra bucks to treat yourself with in the future!
If I could give one piece of advice to young professionals starting their career, it would be to move back home after college. Now I know not everyone has the leisure to do this, but if it is possible, and your parents allow it, I would highly recommend it.
While some may see this as a step backward, I really feel that living at home and saving up is the smarter choice in the long run. You can still do fun things with your friends on the weekend and avoid the stress of mounting living expenses. Coming from the girl who is currently living under her parent’s roof, it really isn’t so bad. I mean when it comes down to it, who can pass up home-cooked meals?
It’s no secret that New York City is expensive. Luckily, our city is filled with thousands of other twenty-somethings trying to make it work! This strength in numbers lends itself to tons of money-saving deals that make it easy to indulge in the best parts of NYC. Broadway for Broke People lists every show currently on Broadway with instructions and prices to help find you the cheapest tickets (hello, $32 lottery tickets!). doNYC has countless events from concerts to comedy, film to fashion, and charity events to drink specials in various price ranges – many of the events are free! Plus, the site is organized by date, so you can fill your calendar with as many free concerts and reduced-price happy hours as you’d like. Sometimes I just grab my metro card and go!
Follow CooperKatz on social media for PR / marketing insights and client & company news.