11 Money-Saving Tips I Learned About Living In New York City Thanks To TikTok

·7 min read

As a senior in high school, I've been looking at a bunch of college campuses all over the country, especially those on the East Coast. Some colleges in New York City were at the top of my list for a while — who could resist the beautiful skyline and bustling city life?

NBC / Via media.giphy.com

But as I was talking to friends and people already going to college in NYC, I quickly realized that the cost of living is quite high.

Peacock / Via media.giphy.com

So I turned to TikTok. From discounted manicures to free activities, New York City TikTokers have been sharing their know-how on how to live the good life in the city on a budget.

Here are 11 tips on saving money in the city that I've learned from TikTok:

1.Visit pop-up shops.

Woman holding glass with text noting all the freebies you can get at pop-up shops: makeup samples, vitamin supplements, iced coffee, charcuterie, and so on

Pop-up shops are the perfect place to get free merchandise and have a good time. There are a ton all over New York City, ranging from weekend- to monthlong shops. Well-known brands like Victoria's Secret will often hold pop-ups to promote new launches and give out free goodies to try.

You can find these pop-ups through @explorenewyorkcity on TikTok, where Dasom Lee often posts videos about upcoming pop-ups around New York City. You can also head over to Eventbrite and filter the results to pop-ups in New York to see which ones are in your area and to RSVP.

@explorenewyorkcity / Via tiktok.com

2.Ride Citi Bikes around the city.

Woman riding Citi Bike with text saying they rode electric bikes from Manhattan to Brooklyn

Citi Bikes are the perfect way to get around the city without the hassle of ordering an Uber or riding the subway. They have different pricing plans you can explore, with a single ride of up to 30 minutes costing you $3.99 and an annual membership of unlimited 45-minute rides costing $15 per month. TikTokers do say that if you live in New York and commute to school or work, the annual membership will cost less than individual rides in the long run. There are over 1,500 bike stations and 24,500 bikes in New York City, which means you can ride Citi Bikes within a few miles of each station and park.

@clairesmitthh / Via tiktok.com

3.Get manicures at Glosslab.

Woman showing her nails

If you're like me, you love a good gel manicure. Glosslab offers quick and efficient gel manicure and pedicure services through different subscriptions. There are three membership options, each at a different price point depending on the duration of the membership. All of these subscriptions include unlimited manicures and pedicures, touch-ups, and gel removals. You can use your membership at any of the seven locations throughout New York City.

If you're not someone who gets their nails done often, you can also opt in for Glosslab's special package where, if you buy one manicure, you get another one for free. This could be great for someone who gets their nails done for special occasions but still wants to save money on them.

@sharmedlife / Via tiktok.com

4.Get a Pret a Manger coffee subscription.

Woman drinking coffee with the text "Getting 5 coffees a day for less than $1 in NYC!"

The Pret a Manger coffee membership is the perfect subscription for coffee and tea lovers. They offer two subscription plans that allow members to get up to five drinks per day. With the Classic Plan at $19.99 per month, members can enjoy coffees and teas. The Premium Plan is essentially the upgraded version of the Classic Plan and offers members espresso-based drinks, cold brew, and barista-made drinks for $29.99 per month.

As @jullia.mrtz on TikTok reasons out in her video, if you get five coffees per day, that means you're getting each coffee for less than $1. There are 62 Pret a Manger locations all over New York City, making it easy to get coffee wherever you are in the city.

@jullia.mrtz / Via tiktok.com

5.Use an NYPL card for free activities.

Culture Pass poster

If you have a library card to the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, or Queens Public Library, this summer is the perfect place to bust it out. Not only do you have access to books and resources at the NYPL, BPL, or QPL, but your card also allows you to get into various museums and events. From society museums to heritage centers to botanic gardens, there are so many participating organizations where you can use your card. Also, if you're looking to take your friends, you can borrow free passes for up to four people at those participating locations.

If you want to visit any of these locations, you'll need to make a reservation through the Culture Pass website using your library card's information.

The New York Public Library / Via nypl.org

6.Gallery-hop in Chelsea.

Woman looking at artwork

From paintings to abstract art, there are a ton of galleries in Chelsea you can visit for free. A majority of them run from West 20th Street to West 27th Street, though you can find a couple on 10th and 7th avenues. Most of them are pretty close to each other, so you can spend the day walking around and browsing art pieces. Also, the exhibitions frequently change on a monthly basis, so you'll always see something new.

@museumtiktok / Via tiktok.com

7.Use fashion rental services.

Woman walking at a crosswalk

Fashion rental services will allow you to rent hundreds of clothes and outfits without the burden of buying each one. As Kelsey points out in her TikTok video, there are a variety of rental services you can use, such as Rent the Runway, Nuuly, and Fashion Pass.

Specifically for Rent the Runway, there are three plans you can choose from: 4, 8, and 16 items per month. Each plan ranges from $69 per month to $149 per month. All memberships include free shipping, free returns, and cleaning coverage. You can pick the clothes or accessories from the hundreds of items on the website and keep the items for as long as you want. When you're ready for something new, just return your rentals and swap them out. Fun fact: All of the clothes from Rent the Runway are from designer and luxury brands.

@kelseyinthecity / Via tiktok.com

8.Browse Facebook Marketplace for furniture.

Furniture in a room with the text "How I furnished my apartment on a tight budget"

If you're looking to decorate or furnish your apartment on a budget, you should check out Facebook Marketplace. A lot of sellers will post used home goods in good condition, often for under $200, so you're bound to get a good deal. But as TikToker @nancteby shows in her video, you should contact the seller for additional photos or information about the product if you're interested in buying. This way, you'll know what condition the item is in and you can coordinate other logistics, such as the delivery or pickup.

@nancteby / Via tiktok.com

9.Buy a Blink gym membership.

Rhett and Link / Via media.giphy.com

Blink gym memberships can be great, depending on whether you go to the gym consistently or you like working out with a friend. Blink offers two membership plans: The Green plan is $32 per month with a 12-month commitment, and the Gray plan is $33 per month with no commitment.

With the Green plan, you can visit any of the 100-plus locations and bring a friend every time you work out. Since you can bring a friend, you could conceivably split the cost of this membership with a pal and you'd be spending only about 50 cents on the gym every day. The Gray plan allows you single gym access and a free personal training session. With the Gray plan, if you're going to the gym every day, that means you're spending close to $1 per day on the gym.

10.Move during an "off-season" in the market.

For sale sign in front of a house

Off-seasons in the real estate market are usually during the winter months, when Realtors with more extravagant or desirable houses may be waiting for spring to put them on the market. So the houses in the off-seasons are usually ones that have been on the market since last spring, and they may not be the first choice in terms of beautiful exteriors and locations. But moving during an off-season can help you save money because most agents want to get those houses off the market, which can help you in the negotiation process.

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

11.Watch movies for $5 with AMC deals.

CBS / Via media.giphy.com

AMC offers special Discount Tuesday deals for all levels of AMC Stubs members. At participating locations, you can watch movies for $5 or discounted prices every Tuesday. This means tickets are generally around 50% off on Tuesdays, which is a total steal — especially if you love going to the theater.

Do you know of any more great tips for saving money in NYC? Share your faves in the comments!