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How to Experience the Best of NYC for Under $100

How to Experience the Best of NYC for Under $100

It’s no secret that New York City isn’t exactly one of the cheapest places to visit. If you’re heading to the Big Apple, you’ll have to pay for travel and accommodations, which can be costly themselves. Then, you’ll want to have some extra cash if you plan to take in any of the sites or do a little shopping while you’re there. When it’s all said and done, it can be pretty expensive!

However, there is some great news for those of you traveling to the city. Here’s why: it is absolutely possible to visit New York City on a budget and still have a great time. How is it possible, you ask? Well, I’m going to tell you! In this post, I’m sharing exactly how you can experience the best of New York City for under $100.

1. Transportation

One of the great things about New York City is that there are multiple modes of transportation you have access to. You can choose which one is right for you depending on where you’re going and how much you want to spend. If your destination isn’t far from your hotel accommodations, you can easily walk the city sidewalks to get there. Not only is this a great way to take in the sights and really experience the city, but it’s great exercise as well. And the best part? Walking is totally free!

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However, you will likely need to use public transportation at some point, especially if you’re traveling a farther distance. You have three options for public transportation: a taxi cab, the subway, or a bus. While those New York taxis may be iconic, they aren’t always the most cost effective way to get around the city. Instead, you will likely want to check out the subway or the bus.

One of the best ways to navigate the often confusing NYC metro system is by downloading the official MTA app on your phone. Here are the iOS and Android versions.

For riding the subway or bus, you can purchase a Metrocard to get where you need to go. A regular Metrocard charges you $2.50 per ride, which can add up if you’re anticipating using public transportation often. So, if you know you’ll be riding the bus or subway more than eight times during your stay, spring for the seven-day Metrocard pass, which is $30. While it may seem like a lot of that $100 budget, it’s actually the most affordable option in the end.

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2. Things to Do: Parks, Museums, & More

There are so many things to do in New York that it can be hard to fit it all into one trip. If the weather is great during your stay in New York, you might want to get some fresh air and soak up the sun at one of the popular parks in the area. Some of the free parks you can visit include Central Park, The High Line, and Prospect Park. All three are great locations to check out! If you’re in the city during the summertime, you could enjoy a concert at Central Park or even pay a visit to the zoo there, which would only cost $18.

If you’re just itching to get out on the water, the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park allows you to rent a boat for $15 per hour. However, if you’re looking for an absolutely free option, there are boathouses that provide free kayaking. Check out the Downtown Boathouse and Manhattan Community Boathouse, just to name a few, to find free kayaking. It’s a great way to get out on the water and get in a little exercise, too!

You can even head to Coney Island for a day of fun with Luna Park and the New York Aquarium in the area. At Luna Park, you can ride all the rides you want for four hours at just $32. While you’re there, you can even play games and grab a delicious snack. Over at the aquarium, you’ll find sea lions, penguins, and more with a $11.95 entrance fee.

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For beautiful scenery, head to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which actually offers free admission depending on the day and hours. All you have to do is check their website to see when they’re opening, based on the season, and check for the times they offer free admission. It’s a gorgeous place to visit, especially when the weather is nice out. If you can’t get in with free admission, you are suggested to pay $12 as a donation to the park.

If you’re in the mood for a more cultural experience, there are plenty of museums to visit in New York. Both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History have an entrance fee that is a suggested donation. Donate what you can to support the museums and enjoy seeing all the exhibits they have on display. Suggested donation for adults at the Met is $25, and it’s $22 at the American Museum of Natural History.

3. Where to Eat

Of course, New York City is home to some of the finest restaurants in town. While they’re great to dine at if you’re willing to splurge a little, you’ll likely have to make a reservation in advance to even get a table at these popular restaurants. If you’re looking to save, there are plenty of options around the city for affordable, yet delicious, food. You just have to look for it.

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There are a number of great pizza joints throughout the city, some of which will allow you to grab a “New York slice” for just $1. Who could resist that? If you’re a foodie and in the city on the weekend, you can head to Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg food fair. It takes place every Saturday and Sunday and is located in the East River State Park and the Brooklyn Bridge Park. They bill themselves as a “food flea market”, you’ll see why when you get there. The best part is you can find amazing food there for under $10.

If you’re looking to grab a drink at one of the local bars, keep your eyes peeled for ones that offer free drinks or discounts at happy hour. There are plenty around the city that will allow you to save the cash while enjoying a cool drink. One of the best resources for finding happy hours in NYC is NYHappyHours.com.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Dan Scalco

Director of Marketing

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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