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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 July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

Reference

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