An Artist’s NYC Survival Guide

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I haven’t lived in many other cities, but there is certainly a grain of truth in this popular saying. New York City is a big enough place to get lost in, but a small enough place to run into the same familiar faces. One thing is for sure though; it is becoming an increasingly expensive city. So much so, that many people are leaving it behind for more financially feasible waters. However, for those of us who choose to stay, here is a list of crucial points that can help you get by:

1. Don’t live in NYC. I know this is a contradictory statement. But hear me out. New York is extremely expensive. And unless you are making a cushy salary of 100,000 grand a year, most of the real estate in NYC is not within reach. If you are okay living out of a shoebox and paying exorbitant amounts of money, then NYC is the place for you. If not, places like the Bronx, Queens, and some parts of Brooklyn are still a good place to start your residential start. Dare I mention Jersey? I will. Unlike what most people may think, Jersey has very promising burgeoning cities that more native New Yorkers are calling home. Plus you get more bang for your buck. Think about it.

2. Find a job that pays more than 60K a year. I know this may be difficult for some. However, it is not impossible. If you have to fudge some skills on your resume. Do so. You will thank me later. Getting a job that pays this much and higher will allow you to keep your head above water, pay that bitch Sallie Mae, and if you did like I told you to and move to Jersey you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

3. Only shop sale items. I know it is hard to stick to the sale section when everyone around you is splurging on the latest and more expensive fashions. But, only shopping sale items and thrift will allow you to do more meaningful things like go on vacations, and excursions. Clothes are a great investment. However, not all of your threads must be designer.

4. Farmers markets are your best friend. Cheap, organic produce can save you from the enemy that is Whole Foods. Whole Foods means whole check. Trader Joe’s is also a pocket friendlier option.

5. Bring your lunch to work three times a week. At one point I was buying breakfast and lunch at work everyday, and when I did a final tally of my receipts for the week, realized I was spending close to $150 a week on food, not including groceries. When you factor in transportation you realize you are spending unnecessary money in places you don’t have to. Even if you have to pack a sandwich or a Lunchables, just make sure not all of your money is going to the Thai restaurant next door.

These are just some of the ways I’ve found to play the game and beat the system that is NYC. Employ some of these tips and break free of the rat race.


Ashley Akunna is the host and creator of The Grapevine, a talk show that focuses on the voice of millenials. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thegrapevinetv

'An Artist’s NYC Survival Guide' have 1 comment

  1. November 24, 2014 @ 5:50 pm lolzz

    “If not, places like the Bronx, Queens, and some parts of Brooklyn are still a good place to start your residential start.”

    hmm…those are all parts of New York City…


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

OogeeWoogee. All Rights Reserved.