When the Clampetts moved from Tennessee to Beverly Hills in the 1960’s, the fictitious TV family had $83 million in the bank as a result of their backyard oil strike. Jed and his kin had no money worries, but most people who move to the big city find it hard to adapt to the much higher price levels. In places like New York City, Chicago, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles, the cost of living is escalated than in medium sized towns. If you have recently found yourself dwelling in one of the larger urban areas, here are some reliable tips for how to handle money and, hopefully, end up with some left when the last day of the month rolls around.
Use Public Transit
The golden rule of city life is using public transportation. Even if you own a car, it’s best to use it judiciously and take the bus, train or rapid transit to your destination. In New York, for example, you can spend as much as $2,500 more each year using your car instead of taking public transit. It’s not always a glamorous or convenient way to get from point A to point B, but buses and trains are cheap, and if you reside in the Big Apple or the big anything else, saving cash on in-city travel is a bargain you shouldn’t pass up.
Find No Cost Entertainment Options
One of the many great things about live in highly populated areas is free entertainment. It seems like whenever large groups reside near each other, they somehow figure out that it makes perfect sense to put on free concerts, circuses and public performances of all kinds. There are also museums, vast parks and lots of historic sites to see in the metropolis. That means you can spend at least the first couple years acting like a tourist and seeing the sights of the place you now call home.
Refinance Student Loans
Moving from a smaller town to a larger one entails cost-cutting. One of the most efficient ways to reduce your monthly expenses is by refinancing student loans. Not only will you have more available cash due to the lower monthly payments, but you’ll likely have a lower interest rate and much more time to pay off the entire debt. A refi makes solid sense for anyone contemplating a move to a major metro area.
Track All Spending
When you first arrive in your new residence, sit down and make a simple spreadsheet to track spending. It’s easy to leak money from your budget when you arrive in a place like Dallas, Miami or San Francisco. It’s important to watch every penny for the first month or two so you know where all the cash is going and what tourist traps you need to avoid.
Plan Meals a Week or Two in Advance
One of the most efficient ways to conserve your funds is to only eat out one or two times per week. Plan all other meals as eating in, and shop accordingly. Remember, a written weekly meal plan can save you more than any other lifestyle change.