Gary and I knew after living in a small city our freshman year of college that we definitely wanted to live downtown in a bigger city once we were married. There’s just something about all the different architecture, restaurants, and people around that I love. We do sacrifice a few things to live downtown, but the biggest is extra money. Today I thought I’d share how to save money while living in a city.
01. Budget. I feel like budgeting is a no-brainer, but some people simply don’t know how to do it. My parents taught me how to budget at a very young age and I’ve always kept it in the back of my mind. However, it wasn’t until I read Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace book that I realized how important budgeting was. I’ll talk about budgeting another time, but I do think it’s important to see where your money is going – that way, you know how much money you have per month to go to events or get drinks downtown. If you want an easy way to keep track of your money, set up a budget on the EveryDollar app!
02. Walk. Gary and I really enjoy walking to different destinations, so before we go anywhere, I always put our destination in google maps and see how long the walk is. If our destination is within a reasonable walking distance, we’ll walk. Walking is not only exercise, but it can also save you from paying for parking downtown.
03. Do free activities. In a larger city, there are always free activities. Take advantage of them! Instead of eating out frequently, Gary and I will eat at home and then go to parks or walk around and buy ice cream or frozen yogurt. This will save you so much money!
04. Bring your own drink. If you’re meeting up with a friend for coffee, instead of paying $5 for one out, just bring your own. All of those Starbucks lattes will add up, so skip the drink and save your money. You’ll be thankful in the long run.
05. Afford where you’re living. If you want to live downtown but don’t like the price tag, see what you can afford and go from there. Gary and I really wanted to live downtown, but the price made it seem almost unreachable. We wanted at least a one bedroom apartment, but we knew that if we wanted to live downtown and not pay an arm and a leg for a place (and have more money for activities), we’d have to compromise. And compromise, we did. Though sometimes I wish we had a bigger place with two rooms and a balcony, I have to remind myself that right now, we don’t have a need for more space. Our tiny studio apartment is the perfect size for us in this stage of our life. Plus, it’s easier to clean and we only have what we need.
06. Don’t pay for cable. With so many amazing streaming capabilities like YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix, don’t pay for cable! When you buy cable, you buy so many channels that you just won’t end up watching. It’s a much better idea to buy a Netflix subscription – that way, you can have a myriad of shows and movies at your disposal. Plus, it’ll save a pretty penny.
07. Don’t buy expensive furniture. While you’re in a smaller place, it’s a good idea to skimp on the really expensive furniture. You most likely won’t be living in an apartment for years and years, which means you’ll have to move in and out of your place. Don’t pay a lot of money for really nice furniture that may get damaged during your move through an apartment. Plus, if you want to buy a house, you may want to completely change the theme of your place or have way more room to decorate.
08. Coupon. Couponing is something that I still struggle with, but it definitely pays off when I’m diligent with it. I think it’s obvious what the benefits of couponing are – it saves you money – so why wouldn’t you try to have a few more dollars at the end of each month?
If you live in a city, how do you keep your expenses to a minimum?