How much to save when moving to NYC

Moving to NYC can be EXTREMELY expensive, and there are a lot of upfront cost that can break the bank. Below is an example of what it cost a 23 year old to move to NYC.

Renter: 23 year old, Cindy is moving to NYC from South Carolina. She is looking for a studio apartment for $2000 a month. Her new job has offered her a salary of $65,000. She doesn’t meet the 40x monthly rent and her parents do not want to be a guarantor, but will help her out financially if she needs it.  Cindy decided to buy all new furniture, as she figured it would cost too much to haul her things from South Carolina. Below are the upfront cost she had to endure. She’s also using a broker to help her find an apartment.

  1. Application fee: $100

-When you are applying for an apartment many landlords require an application fee. On average this cost around $100.

  1. Security deposit: $2000

-Every landlord requires a security deposit in case of damages to the apartment. Typically the landlords will only require one month. But if there is something on your record showing malicious behavior, or a bad reference from a previous landlord, then they will require additional security.

  1. First 3 months up front: $6000

-If you don’t qualify for the apartment (making 40x the mo rent), or have bad credit, then the landlords will require more rent upfront. If you do have bad credit, it’s very possible that a landlord will ask for the entire year upfront!

  1. Brokers fee: $3600

-The standard broker fee is 15% of the annual lease.

  1. New furniture: $2700

-Buying furniture is expensive. This number can be a lot high depending on where you purchase your furniture from.


Total: $14,700.00

The above is a very realistic number. And many people spend even more! But for those who don’t have $15,000 laying around below are ways to save big $$.

  1. Find roommates

-Living with roommates can cut your rent drastically. And the more roommates you have the less you will pay. This is because you have more people splitting up the cost of the common areas.

  1. Live in a borough

-Manhattan is the most expensive borough of NYC to live in. Renting in Queens or Brooklyn can reduce the cost of your apartment by hundreds. The same size one bedroom that Cindy rented in Murray Hill would have cost $1500 a month in Brooklyn or in Queens.

  1. Buy only the essentials

-Buying new things for your apartment is exciting, especially if this is your first apartment on your own. But don’t get too carried away with the nicknacks and other non essential things. It’s more important to be able to eat, than living in an all pink apartment.

  1. Find an apartment on your own

-If you have the time and the right resources, it is very possible to find an apartment on your own, without using a broker.

  1. Get a guarantor- if you don’t qualify for the apartment

-If you don’t make 40x the monthly rent (which many of us don’t), then ask a family member or close friend who does, to guarantor you. If you don’t qualify for the apartment, the landlord will require more rent upfront.

  1. Budget your cost and stick to it

-Figure out how much money you have to spend and what you need to buy with it.

  1. Sublet

-If you don’t qualify for an apartment or have bad credit and have no money, then find an apartment to sublet. Usually when you sublet the person you are subletting from will only request a security deposit and 1 months rent upfront.

  1. Negotiate the brokers fee to 1 month

-You can always get the broker’s down to one month.

  1. Find friends to help you move

-Treat your friends to a nice dinner or some beers for helping you, which is much cheaper then hiring a moving company.

  1. Buy furniture used, or from a local business

-There are tons of local business that sells furniture. Always negotiate with them! Also you can find some good used furniture on craigslist.

Happy hunting!

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