This “How To Save Money In New York City” post discusses some tips and tricks on how to save money before and while you are in New York City. This post contains affiliate links/ads. See disclosure policy.
A couple of weeks ago, my family went to New York City for two things. First, we had to drop off my mom to the airport to go to the Philippines for Christmas time. Second, we wanted to do our Christmas vacation early because the city is not forgiving when it comes to snow during late December.
We did learn a thing or two though from that experience, one of which was never to go to New York city when it’s winter. It may sound pretty to visit this place when you see snow all over the city but the feeling of getting stuck because roads are closed, roads are under construction, people are fighting for cabs, etc. doesn’t sound so good.
We ended up staying for two days in the city, or I should say outside the city. We figured there were only a couple of places we needed to see.
How To Save Money In New York City
Overall, our experience in New York City was great. We did learn a lot of lessons that may or will help you save more when visiting the Big Apple or make your trip even better. Here they are:
Stay far away as you can from the city. The hotels in the city are so expensive and offer less than those outside the city. Most of the hotels we searched online that are in the city had no free parking and no free breakfast. Some charge for internet connection, too.
If your intention is to roam around the city and stay in the hotel just to sleep, then, it’s best for you (cost wise) to find other hotels that are cheaper and offer free amenities. If you are up for convenience, then, most certainly, book a hotel in the city. But chances are, you will be paying a lot more.
My family stayed close to LaGuardia Airport. It was convenient because the bus and train stations going to the heart of New York were close by where we stayed. We got free parking, free internet, and free breakfast. Those were all we needed anyways.
One way to save money is to use reward sites like Ebates and Swagbucks. I love these sites. The way these reward sites or cash back sites work is you get a % back when you buy something from a particular store. Before you get such cash back, you need to access the retailer’s online store using a link from that cash back site.
I live in Southern Maryland where food prices are comparable to those in the Washington D.C area. What I mean is food prices here are ridiculously high. But food prices in New York are way higher.
Bring your food. Bring your snacks. Bring your drinks especially water, which I think is a diamond in terms of price in New York. These alone will save a ton of money. It’s also a good thing if your hotel offers free breakfast. This way, you only need to worry about lunch, dinner, and some snacks in between.
I don’t say that you don’t spend anything at all for food. New York is a great place to try different foods from different countries. It’s a world within a city. There are a ton of great restaurants, food trucks, etc. out there. Just keep the food spending in check is all I’m saying.
If you do find the need to eat out, there is one of many things you can do to save money. You can visit the sites below to buy gift cards to save some more money. These sites offer discounted gift cards, which some offer up to 30% discount. I always have gift cards on hand just in case I need them. I buy all the gift cards from these following stores:
- Raise.com (Get $5 when you sign up through this link)
- Giftcards.com (Buy gift cards online and earn rewards)
- Cardpool.com (Buy gift cards for up to 35% off or sell yours for up to 92% cash back. Plus, you will get $5 when you sign up through this link)
- Restaurant.com (My wife uses restaurant.com when we dine out. I say, you never have to pay full price when you use this site)
The front desk suggested that we take the public transportation and not drive our car in the city. Thanks to her suggestion. We were able to save a ton of money just by doing that.
For those who want to drive their cars in the city, you will be faced with traffic and possibility of entering and exiting a number of tolls. Oh, by the way, the parking is so limited, and so, the parking fee is way too expensive.
I suggest that you take the public transportation. Buy a Metropass (not just the bus card). If you use the Metropass, you can transfer to a public bus transportation for free provided you transfer to a bus within 2 hours of using the Metropass for the train.
When we were in New York, the charge for a single trip was $2.75 per person. That’s an amazing price. If you were to take a cab or grab an Uber ride, the trip cost would be multiple times more expensive.
I was told that there’s an option of a weekly pass that allows you unlimited rides for just $30. If you think you are making more than 9 or 10 trips, then, this pass is for you and is more economical than if you pay the $2.75 per trip.
Pick the people who you are going with. Seriously.
You will do a lot of walking, talking, picture taking, running up and down the stairs, etc. New York is for people who are adventurous. If you are going with a person who doesn’t want to do so many things just because he/she thinks New York vacation is all about relaxation, then, you may want to think twice if you want to bring that person.
I managed to convince my wife to take our 3-year old daughter with us even though she kept saying that New York was not for little kids. I should have listened to her.
My daughter did not like walking. All throughout our vacation, I was carrying her. I will tell you that carrying her was like carrying two 45-lb barbell plates on my shoulder.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t bring your kids. What I am saying is that choose the people you are going with.
There are so many places to go to and attractions to see in New York. Whether you want to see the Statue of Liberty or go to the Times Square, New York offers a lot of free visitor attractions.
Plan where you want to go and don’t expect to see a lot in one day. Between a ton of walking and transporting from one place to another, you will find you have less amount of time on your plate when you are in New York.
Time flies so fast in New York. I am not kidding. My family managed to see 3 out of the many New York attractions in one day. Maybe we’re just too lazy or we didn’t make a good plan.
But yes, plan ahead of time. If you’re just there for a few days, just like we were, plan where you want to go and what to do. Once you are in New York, you get sucked into the fast pace life of that place and next thing you know, you are out of time to do some other things.
You can always go all day and night long without stopping but that’s tiring, and you might not have the same energy for the rest of the days you are there.
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Have you gone to New York City? What tips and tricks can you give to save some more money when you are in New York?