No matter where you choose to teach, once you've acquired your TEFL certification, your going to want to start working and earning. But the unavoidable reality is in order to make money, you have to spend some first. So the race is on to start earning before that dreaded phonecall ... "Hi - don't tell Dad, but can I borrow $1000?"
The cost of living in the Big Apple can be shockingly high, and all the lights, fun, and adrenaline of the city can sometimes make even the most spendthrift gasp when they see their monthly spending.
But don’t worry, you're in the same boat as virtually any student studying in NYC, and we’ve compiled a list of totally practical tips for living on a budget from TEFL students in NYC right now.
A bit of insider knowledge can help you save a boatload of cash, and that with a little bit of planning, you’ll be able to have the time of your life, without breaking the bank.
Food - eating in and going out:
You're teaching, you're learning, and you're soaking in the vibe while people watching at Rockafeller Center. But you also have to make time to eat! If you want to budget, one of the best ways to cut costs without feeling the pinch is being smart with your food.
One word (well, two) will save you while in NYC: Trader Joe’s
- Fruits and Veggies are generally great quality and the lettuce mixes are super convenient.
- Instead of takeout, try Trader Joe's frozen dinners and pizza.
- $3 Buck Chuck - cheap wine. Does the trick.
- Rainbow falafel on Union Square costs under $5.
- 24oz Yuengling is the cheapest beer around.
- Say no to the temptation of grabbing a coffee on the run! Buy a cute travel cup and make your own coffee and tea.
-Initiate a weekly potluck dinner with friends and roommates, then make sure everyone makes enough for leftovers.
Getting around NYC:
You know you are at home in a new country when you can use the public transportation system without a flinch. New York makes it easy, plus you'll get to see the 'real' New Yorkers passing through those subway turnstiles. So embrace the rush hour crush, and become a true New Yorker.
- Buy a monthly subway pass instead of paying for individual rides. The savings really add up over time.
- If you need to get across town, which is difficult to do on the subway, there are always buses.
- Unless it is pouring rain, don't hail down that yellow taxi! Walk. It's good exercise, and you'll get to see the most amazing storefronts.
Time out and socialising on the cheap:
You're sure to make lots of new friends on your New York escapade, and there is no shortage of fun things to do together.
- lots of under $10 museums: The Tenement Museum, 5 Points Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art are all budget friendly.
- Jogging, soccer, Tai Chi, and handball in the park area free alternatives to an underused gym pass.
- Gather up your girlfriends and head over to Spa Castle. $35 for the entire day of spa experiences. Wacky, relaxing, and fun!
Settling down - apartment hunting and furniture collecting:
There is more to finding a great deal then endlessly browsing through Craigslist!
- Soho and Chelsea often have great furniture on the street after people move out.
- Chinatown in Flushings, Queens is cheaper and more “authentic” than in Manhattan.
- Astoria is a cheaper and more relaxed alternative to Williamsburg.
- Found the perfect couch on craigslist? When bargaining cash is king, remember that you have the upper hand!
It always helps to prepare at least a little before heading to a big, bright city like NYC. Being budget savvy will buy you the most priceless commodity of all, more time and relaxation to enjoy your experience! Now, go buy that plane ticket!