Insider Tips on Living in NYC: What They Don’t Tell You!

Insider Tips on Living in NYC: What They Don’t Tell You!

So you’re one of those crazy Aussies that wants to give New York living a try, congratulations! Preparing to move to a new city is scary, preparing to move to New York city is downright terrifying. Here are some tips to keep in mind before your big move:

Rent, Location, Size: Choose One.

Truth be told; unless you are one of the lucky few who has copious amounts of money to spend upon your move to one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., you will have to throw your idea of the perfect place out the window. (Tip #1… start saving, now!).

The cheapest, most liveable two bedroom apartment will run between $2,300 to $4,000 per month.

Median Rents in New York City


The three main selling points to an apartment; rent, location, size — most places only have one of these features. The best piece of advice when looking at apartments, is “use your imagination”! NYC is a consistently bad market for renters, with the price skyrocketing each year. If you need to find an apartment, be prepared. Have your deposit and first month’s rent money on hand, and make sure you have references and proof of a steady income. Use whatever social networks you have here to find out about places that haven’t been listed yet, or try some of these no fee apartment sites. (The Listings Project is definitely worth a look.) And when the search breaks you, as it does everyone, commiserate with your friends but then buck up and keep looking.

Get Rid of 75% of Your Belongings

New York City is not a city that offers a wealthy supply of space. So when you are moving, try your best to get rid of everything that you can live without. That goes for apartment amenities, too. Many New Yorkers go without a dishwasher or elevator (In my second apartment, we had no dishwasher or oven). If you love your large, amenity-packed apartment, you may want to stay put, or at least consider an apartment outside Manhattan. If you truly love living in Manhattan, however, you’ll probably find any number of little conveniences that you can do without for the sake of immersing yourself in a vibrant lifestyle that you love.

You may have unexpected roommates.

We’re talking roaches, mice, and the centipedes. Sorry to burst your bubble, but these roomies live rent free without your consent, and could care less about your fears! 

Commuting: Plan it out.

Plan your trip beforehand. The trains here are temperamental, they practically do not run on the weekends. Oh, and not all stations or train routes have service. Taxi drivers sometimes will take advantage and take a roundabout route. For your sanity (and your pockets) look up directions beforehand.  Oh and your commute time? Budget an extra 10 to 20 minutes. Just in case! You’ll know all about the J line when you get here!

Learn To Manage Your Money

Write everything down. Mint is a great app that helps you budget and keep track of where your money goes. Sign up for one, force yourself to log in every week, set some goals, take a personal finance class. Living in the city is not cheap. A box of cereal is around $6 or $7, the $1 dollar menu is awful, and the subway fare goes up every year without fail. Living in the city without a budget is the quickest way to Broke-City, and aint nobody got time for that! Get creative, COOK your own meals, and take advantage of all the free summer events.

The weather is extreme. Seriously!

Be prepared to commute in extreme weather. You can never have too many umbrellas or snow boots! And when it’s hot… it’s HOT. We’re talking sticky, humid Queensland weather with a touch of desert heatwave. The subways also have very limited air conditioner and resemble a sauna in the summertime so bring a bottle of water with you everywhere. 

Now, you’re on your own. Good luck!

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