Posts Tagged ‘live cheap’

7 Ways to Save Money in the (Expensive) Big City

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008
Soon after arriving in Chicago, I came across a glorious book called The Cheap Bastard's Guide to Chicago (also available for New York, Boston and San Francisco). This guide has everything you need to live cheap (or at least entertain yourself for less)—free theater, free happy hours and buffets around the city, free acupuncture, free yoga, free educational events and all kinds of advice on saving money. The list just goes on and on. Since discovering the book, I have come up with a few big city money saving tips of my own, which I now pass on to you, dear reader. 1. Find a roommate. Preferably a non-creepy one. Since I didn't know anyone when I moved to the city, I used craigslist to find a roommate, followed by a thorough facebook stalking. It worked out great and we both save a ton of money on rent and utilities. 2. Ditch your car. Unless you need it to get to work, don't bother with a car. Big cities tend to have reliable public transportation (unless you live in Detroit), and car payments, insurance, maintenance, gas and parking can get pricey. For those occasions when you absolutely need a car, you can sign up for a car-sharing program like zipcar or something similar in your city. 3. Socialize outside of the bar. I have a group of friends that gets together on a regular basis to have a sort of potluck dinner at rotating apartments. It's a great way to get out and socialize without spending a fortune at the bar. 4. Eat out on Wednesdays. I can't tell you how many restaurants in my neighborhood have amazing deals in the middle of the week, from 25% off the bill for neighborhood residents to 50% off on pizza. This is definitely the day to explore your local eateries. 5. Actually look at all those coupons in your mailbox. I get all sorts of coupon mailers sent to my apartment. I used to just throw them away, until I realized that these mailers were filled with magnificent buy-one-get-one coupons from local restaurants. Dinner with a friend for half the price! Not a bad deal. 6. Get a library card. In Chicago, you can check out free family passes for museums all over the city (which works for a group of friends, not just family). The library is also a great resource for free happenings around the city. Oh yeah, books and movies too. 7. Read your local newspaper. Your local newspaper is another great place to find out what's going on around town, and it will usually have at least a few free events or good deals for your entertainment.