Living in NYC can be hard. Everything costs more money here. Rent is outta hand, with small one room apartments in the outer boroughs renting for $900-$1000 without even a separate kitchen.
So what's a hard-working girl like me to do. Stretch your budget.
Neccesity is the mother of invention....
If you're willing to take a train ride out of your neighborhood or if you have a car a great place to go food shopping is National Wholesale Liquidators.
OK they suck in that store. There is no customer service and it's almost always a mad house BUT it's like the be all and end all of 99 cent and up stores.
Notice there are 24 items on the table and only one of them is not a well-known brand name.
And yes this is what I will be eating for this weeks menu.
D.O.M. will be happy to see the soap and shampoo products I bought.
Another tip which I shared earlier today with him is to go to the store without showering, brushing your hair etc...because people will happily part the way for you and you can get to whatever item you need first. Helps to get through a very crowded store faster.
Favorite find today was the tuna. None of that chunk lite in oil crap. It was solid in water for only $1.29 a can. Woohoo.
Second tip for today comes from being a temp. If you don't know what that is, it's what so many people in NYC do for a living. I work for a temp agency and get sent around to many places. It pays ok enough and I get to see different corporate cultures and basically sit on my ass all day and blog for a few dollars a day.
Many companies put food out for their employees, especially those in the creative industries. No one will think twice if you grab a whole stack of M&M packs and bring them to your desk, not even as the temp. If you score an assignment at a company that has these things in their kitchen -- take as many as you can each day and take them home with you. No one needs to know that sometimes the candy is your lunch, so that you can save your small temp paycheck for your bills instead. Recently I was at a place that had granola bars, pretzels and all kinds of chocolate candy plus bagels each morning and often brought in lunch. They were more than happy to make sure I was included in the breakfasts and lunches and even offered me a free manicure from the woman who comes each week. I partook in every meal offered and made those M&M's last a few days after the assignment was over.
Shit chocolate is a food group anyway isn't it?
Baggies are your friend! Divy everything you bought up into little baggies and make them last for as many days in advance as possible, taking those treats with you to work. That box of cookies in the photo today are going to last me at least 2 weeks and be my sugar wake me upper snack at work. When those run out or I am bored, the little prepacked fruit cups will be my sugary treat for my work day.
I almost never buy trash bags. I'm all about saving the environment as well as my money. So I take those plastic bags that all my goodies came in and I use them for the trash. I throw out that bag every day, so I don't let the bugs have something to eat in my home. The only bags I buy are for changing the cat litter. Those require industrial size. Nothing I can do about that.
If you have a pet, Petco is your friend. It's a larger store and can offer the same items at slightly less money than your local pet store and sometimes they run specials. This week I hit a super find. Since my kitties are special needs I only buy them the top of the line food, Wellness. The bag was already $3 less than my local guy and with it was a FREE item called Pure Delights meaty cat treats. There's over 300 little pieces inside and the bag was 3 oz. Usually this item is $5 but was free with the dry food I had to buy anyway.
And last tip for today on how to live on the cheap in NYC -- BARTER. Do you have a skill someone else wants? Make an exchange. I often don't have the money for a massage or energy session. But since I too am an energy worker I often do exchanges with other professionals. Saves me at least $85 a session and I get to stay in good mental and phsyical working healthly order...well at least I think so, but I guess that is subjective ;-)
Well it's time for me to go make some noodles and peas for lunch.