My First Apartment in NYC | The Young. Broke. Uptown Girl
MY FIRST APARTMENT IN NYC
Date: March 2016
Monthly rent: $1700
Studio Apartment: 350 sqft
Location: Upper East Side, New York
TOP 10 QUESTIONS WHEN MOVING TO NEW YORK
How MUCH TIME DID YOU TAKE TO LOOK FOR YOUR apartment?
48 hours. Sleeping on a girlfriend’s couch in the Lower East Side, I had one weekend to find a studio apartment before starting my new job on Monday. Lining up appointments and open houses before my visit really helped save time.
Tip: Best place to start looking for apartments in NYC is StreetEasy.
WHAT IS THE RENTERS MARKET LOOK LIKE IN NEW YORK?
It is fast paced people! If you see a place you like, you need to jump on it that day - before it’s gone.
Give yourself 2-3 weeks before you intend to move to find an apartment.
HAD YOU BEEN TO NEW YORK CITY BEFORE?
Boston was my home after college & I had made a few trips down to the City before. But honestly, I didn’t know where anything was ?! I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between TriBeCa & Times Square, Brooklyn & the Bronx… all jumbled up pieces only pieced together with the help of my iphone.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO LIVE IN NEW YORK?
NO! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d end up here. Growing up in Ohio and moving to Boston for college, I felt at home in those two cities. New York City seemed like the big bad wolf that would gobble me whole. But after interviewing around, my dream job at the time was hiring in NYC and since that felt right for my career - I had to face my fear. But in my heart I gave myself a timeline, “Caila - you have to promise yourself, you’ll only stay for 2 years.” I’d give it a shot, then leave so I wouldn’t get attached… boy was I mistaken, because now I’m in love with NYC!😝
Now that you’ve decided to live in NYC, here are a few articles that will help your transition:
How do you afford an apartment in Manhattan?
Before I moved I had enough saved up for first month’s rent + 3 months of expenses. It totaled about $16,000. This gave me a comfortable enough cushion to figure out this whole City living thing. For those wondering where that $16K was from… it was a mix off college graduation gifts, selling my car, and my savings + last bonus after quitting my job of 2 years in Software Sales.
IT’s SO EASy TO SPEND MONEY IN NEW YORK, HOW DO YOU CREATE A BUDGET?
I am far from perfect, when it comes to creating and sticking to a budget. But here are three tips that friends have shared with me that work for them:
Cash Only Method - Budget out how much you allow yourself to spend on food + clothing + travel for the week. On Sunday take that amount out in cash and once your wallet is empty, you’re done spending for the week.
Work Week Rule - Create a rule that you need to follow Monday though Friday or Sunday through Thursday, since Friday nights definitely count as the weekend.
Work Week Rule examples: cook dinner at home, no ubers until the weekend, join the free workout classes in the park. By sticking to your one rule, you won’t feel like you are cutting back in all areas, but also can be proud of the effort you’re making to spend less.
Tip: Trader Joe’s is the best place to grocery shop for the week! I usually spend less than $100 on our Sunday TJ’s trip and feed Nick & myself for the whole work week.
Track Daily Expenses - Create an excel spreadsheet that you fill in at the end of each day. Kind of like a game! This will make you more aware of what you spend and will make you feel proud on those days that you spend $0 - promise they do exist! Here’s a quick article too, if you want to find an app to help you track your expenses.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A STUDIO APARTMENT INSTEAD OF ROOMMATES?
This was a personal choice. I enjoy my freedom, being a Sagittarius and all. It was really important to me that I didn’t become dependent on another person to fill time that I could use to better myself.
I do see the benefits though… you get a bigger/nicer apartment, someone to talk to when you get home, and someone to make sure your stuff is ok when you travel!
Tip: In need of a roommate? Try the Roomi App.
WHAT AREAS OF NEW YORK ARE SAFE TO LIVE IN?
Here are a few of the articles I read to pick my neighborhood.
MY PERSONAL FAVORITE AREA TO LIVE IN MANHATTAN?
If you ask my personal opinion, the best places in Manhattan to live in are the Upper East & West Sides. They both border Central Park to give you your fix of the outdoors and each have a charming personality of their own. The Upper East Side is known to be family oriented and have the Gossip Girl living with quaint coffee shops & Museums on every corner. The Upper West side is known to be the neighborhood for the cultured… writers, Broadway actors, and the like, enjoy it’s trendy restaurants and night life. Both Upper neighborhoods are out of the bustle, but conveniently have multiple subway lines to get you wherever you need to go… and fast!
Favorite places to shop for furniture?
Looking for studio apartment decor ideas? Start by checking out this blog post ✨
Hope you all enjoyed a little peak into my life when I first moved to New York. There are 8.5 people making it work in this urban jungle. It might seem like a lot, but you will learn quickly once you make the move. Plus you’ll have the greatest stories to tell for the rest of your life! Before I go, the most important tip I could share with you when moving to New York is,
Don’t be afraid to tell people, “No.”
“No - I can’t make it, No - I’m not interested, No - that’s not me.”
There are going to be people inviting you to coffee, events, parties every night and you are going to feel obligated to go and not let people down.
This city will push you around if you let it, but the only way to survive is to have time to yourself… to rest & recharge.
p.s. It took me about a year and a half to fall in love with the city and call it my home.. so don’t feel pressure to love it right away.
Staying Organized in a Small Studio Apartment
Key: Make Items You Use Most Often Easily Accessible
How I organize my drawers in the images below:
Top Drawer: Camera Equipment
Bottom Drawer: Hair tools
Photographer: Clarence Chan Photography