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Everything You Should Know About Cost of Living in New York Before Moving Cross Country

Posted in City Guides on June 13, 2022

Moving cross country to a financial, cultural, and educational hub comes with a price. Becoming a New Yorker will affect all parts of your life, including the monthly budget. That’s why long before hiring cross country movers, go over the cost of living in New York, and figure out just how much money you’ll need when you become a resident of the most populous city in the US.

You Should Get the Finances in Order Before Moving Across the Country

The long-distance moving process can easily be turned into a horror story if not done correctly. That’s why if you want to make it as smooth as possible, start by creating a to-do list, which will entail all of your relocation-related tasks. At the top of that list, besides hiring long-distance movers and using their cross-country moving services, should be creating a detailed relocation budget.

When it comes to budgeting, there are a lot of benefits to be had. For one, you can save money by planning ahead. This means that you can avoid costly last-minute expenses, and it also means that you can get a better deal when hiring cross-country movers.

Another big benefit of budgeting is getting your finances in order. By knowing exactly how much movers cost and how much money you have to spend, you won’t be taking on a lot of debt simply because you are relocating. This will save you even more money over the long term.

Finally, by budgeting for the move, you can ensure that you have everything in place when the big day finally comes. This means that there won’t be any last-minute surprises, and it also means that you can enjoy a stress-free move knowing everything is well organized.

Before Relocating to NYC, Compare It To Other Cities

Let’s say you are moving from the West Coast or even somewhere from the Midwest to the East Coast. The changes in the monthly budget will be expected, especially if you decide to settle in a metropolis such as NYC.

However, if you are on the fence about relocating to a new city because of high expenses, comparing it to other metropolises will inevitably show you all the ways you can save up. That’s why, to help you speed up the process, we compared the prices of utilities, transportation, rent, and salaries in major locations such as Los Angeles, NYC, San Francisco, and Miami.

City Utilities Transportation Rent (1BR Apartment) Monthly Salary
New York City $170 $130 $2,205 $6,430
Los Angeles $130 $95 $1,790 $6,080
San Francisco $220 $80 $2,580 $7,920
Miami $140 $110 $1,840 $4,340

The Average Cost of Living in New York City Is Affected by Housing Prices

When planning a move to a new location, putting a roof over your head is an unskippable step. That being said, housing expenses will play a huge role in the monthly budget. Just be aware that, in general, housing expenses in NYC tend to be higher than the national average. In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, they are roughly twice as high as those of the rest of the country.

One reason for this difference is that there is more demand than supply for housing in NYC. Housing prices are particularly impacted by limited available space for new construction. In addition, many buildings in the metropolis are very old and require significant renovation costs.

However, if you want to rent an apartment like 67% of residents do, some boroughs are more affordable than others. Just before relocating, go over all the documents needed to rent an apartment because you don’t want to lose the perfect home because of a badly filled-out application.

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Research and Pick the Borough That Fits Your Budget

We all know that there are five boroughs in NYC, and each of them comes with a long list of benefits. However, before settling in one, carefully consider the budget, needs, and overall wishes.

Queens is a great place to live for many reasons. It is centrally located, making it easy to get around. It is also home to a diverse population, with something for everyone. There are plenty of cultural attractions, restaurants, and shopping options around. And the cost of living in Queens, NY, is the closest to the city’s median of all the boroughs.

The Bronx is a wonderful place for families, so you should consider it if you are relocating with kids. Plenty of parks, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities make it easy to get out and enjoy the outdoors with your children. Also, the average cost of living in the Bronx is affordable due to the lower housing prices.

Brooklyn is a borough known for its vibrant culture and diverse population. There are many reasons why living here is a great choice. One of them is the fact that it is close to Manhattan, but the cost of living in Brooklyn is way more affordable. It is home to many different restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions to explore, so you’ll never get bored.

Staten Island has its own unique character, with plenty of parks, beaches, and other outdoor activities to enjoy. With so many great things to do and see, it’s no wonder that Staten Island is such a popular place to call home. Staten Island’s cost of living is impacted by affordable housing, so if you are house-hunting in NYC, start from here.

Manhattan is a place where you can always find something to do. Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a more low-key activity, like a museum visit or a walk through Central Park, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Manhattan. Public transportation is also excellent, making it easy to get around without a car. Although the cost of living in Manhattan leaves something to be desired, it is worth every cent.

Borough Median Rent Median Yearly Housing Cost
Queens $1,400 $29,250
Bronx $1,100 $28,550
Brooklyn $1,250 $31,900
Staten Island $1,200 $28,750
Manhattan $1,575 $36,250

You Can’t Avoid Paying for Utilities and Groceries

When you move to a new home, that doesn’t spare you from spending money on some basic day-to-day things such as food and utilities. That’s why you should not forget to write them down when budgeting.

Let’s start with utilities. In a metropolis such as NYC, you can’t really live without water and electricity. Add heating, cooling, and garbage expenses to that, and your monthly utility bill will be around $165 (according to Numbeo).

Also, we live in modern ages where everything is connected to the internet – not being connected is almost impossible. That’s why, if you want to stay on top of things, you’ll need an additional $65 for unlimited internet data.

When the bills are paid, you should hit the store and shop for groceries. Monthly you’ll need, on average, $490, which is almost $150 more than the US average. Of course, this amount can vary depending on your eating habits.

Another thing to consider is dining out. If you are a foodie who likes to try new dishes, you should know that a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around $25, while a meal for two in a mid-range eatery is $100.

Pro tip – Since food can be quite expensive if you want to save up on groceries, changing eating habits is the way to do it.

woman in a supermarket
The price of food is pretty high in NYC - that's why you should modify your eating habits

There Are Plenty Of Affordable Transportation Options

NYC is a large and bustling metropolis, with a population of over 8 million people. So it’s no surprise that getting around the city can be a bit challenging. However, there are a variety of transportation options available, including buses, trains, taxis, and cars.

Public transportation is the most popular way to get around. And depending on the borough you are located in, there will be many different public transport options available:

  • The subway is one of the most common ways to travel. However, it can be heavily used and crowded at times, making travel difficult and uncomfortable. But it will be able to get you from one place to another in no time.
  • Buses can be faster than the subway but have limited routes and less frequent stops. However, they can be a slower option if you are commuting through busy streets, especially during rush hour.
  • Trains are a fast way to travel within the city, but many lines don’t operate late at night, and depending on the borough you live in, you might not have access to them.

Besides public transport, taxis are available throughout the city in abundance, making it easy to hail one. However, taxis can get expensive, and their minimum fare is $2.50. On the other hand, if you want to ship your car to NYC, you’ll have to worry about gas and parking. According to the NYC government’s official website, hourly parking rates can be anywhere between $1.25 and $7.50, depending on the zone.

Times Square New York City
There are more than a few transportation options available to residents

Public Education System Is Free and One of the Best in the US

NYC is known for its excellent education system. There are a variety of schools to choose from, including public and private institutions. Students can also attend specialized schools, such as arts or science-focused academies.

Since there are not only public but private schools as well, your kids have additional options to choose from. Just be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it because a year in international primary schools costs around $42,000.

But if you opt for public institutions, know that the city’s Department of Education oversees the entire system. They work to ensure that all students receive a high-quality education. Teachers are well-trained, and they have access to a variety of resources that help them teach effectively.

One of the main advantages of the city’s schools is diversity. This means that students come from all over the world, creating an interesting and stimulating learning environment for everyone involved. Overall, it is clear that the education system here is one of the best in the US. It provides students with a great opportunity to learn and reach their full potential.

Higher Education Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune

If the main reason for your move was a pursuit of knowledge, you’ve certainly looked into all the tuition and additional expenses that come with all other costs of relocating for the first time. The amount of money needed to pursue higher education can be huge.

However, you can still move to a new state alone and attend one of the best colleges without breaking the bank. Just check out some of the most affordable schools in NYC:

  • Brooklyn College – Annual tuition and fees are around $7,000,
  • Hunter College – Annual tuition and fees are around $7,000,
  • Baruch College – Annual tuition and fees are around $7,000,
  • Queens College – Annual tuition and fees are around $8,000,
  • Fashion Institute of Technology – Annual tuition and fees are around $8,000.

If you want to learn more about Brooklyn College, which is known to be one of the best liberal arts schools in the state, check out the video below.

The Wealth of Opportunities Will Make A Job Hunting Exciting

One of the best relocation tips a person can get when going to NYC is to avoid relocating without a job. Even though there are many employment opportunities, competition is fierce. With so many people vying for jobs, it is important to make sure your resume and cover letter are top-notch.

Another thing to know about getting a job in a new city is that networking is key. Get connected with as many people as possible in your field, and attend industry events to meet potential employers. Finally, be prepared to work hard. NYC is a fast-paced environment, and employers expect their employees to be able to handle the pressure.

The metropolis is home to a vast number of businesses and corporations, and there are always new job openings available. Whether you are looking for a career in business, finance, the arts, or another field, there will be an opportunity that fits your needs.

However, even with all the opportunities at your fingertips, the main question remains – What salary do you need to live in NYC? Because when you know that it will be easier to pursue employment and organize the budget.

According to the website LivingWage, an adult should earn $52,865 a year so that they can live in NYC. On the other hand, a family of four (two adults and two kids) needs $122,965 annually.

The Amount of Money You Earn Will Depend on Your Career Choice

Not all jobs pay the same. The paycheck you earn depends on your knowledge, experience, and position. Here are some of the top paid professions in NYC. Check out if yours is one of them:

  • General Surgeon – Salary range: $281,200-$337,500 per year
  • Chief Technology Officer – Salary range: $151,300-$272,200 per year
  • Workers Compensation Attorney – Salary range: $112,500-$166,500 per year
  • Sonographer – Salary range: $102,900-$157,500 per year
  • Data Engineer – Salary range: $125,400-$156,900 per year

Some other professions that the LivingWage website listed as top paid ones are Healthcare Practitioners and technical and Life, Physical, and social Science. The variety of well-paid jobs makes NYC one of the best cities for millennials and other career chasers.

professionals in business attire
You'll find a job in no time in NYC

Becoming New Yorker Will Be a Start of an Unforgettable Adventure

Novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote, “one belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” With that in mind, you don’t have to worry about getting accepted by fellow residents. All the fuss about finances, going over the budget, and expenses will, in the end, be worth it. You’ll adapt easily to the speedy lifestyle of the metropolis.

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

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