There’s not a girl in the world who doesn’t fantasize of leaving her Manhattan apartment in brand new Manolo Blahniks and ordering a cosmopolitan for brunch, while at the same time, the man of her dreams docks his yacht in Port de Monaco with sun on his cheeks and wind in his hair. It’s a rosy phantasy, indeed, but an extravagant one as well.
And, unfortunately, dreaming is all that us urban dwellers can do. Though surrounded by all kinds of shopping frenzies and expensive delights, a majority of those who live in the big cities are compelled to get comfortable with a frugal lifestyle. The good news is – it can be just as fun.
Here’s how to enjoy New York, Tokyo or London, while sticking to a reasonable budget.
1. Go Where the Bohemians Are
If you’ve already chosen to pursuit your dream in one of those picturesque metropolises, no one can or should try to change your mind. But, not all of New York is Fifth Avenue and not all of Paris is Champs-Élysées – in order to survive in the big city, you’ll need to be smart about your neighbourhood choices.
Luckily for you, large cities have plenty of inexpensive neighborhoods to choose from. Sure, most of them are quite far from all those postcard cityscapes you’ve been dreaming about, but they are equally enchanting. In fact, these suburbs are where the bohemian crowds choose to live, celebrate and create in peace, which is why you’ll never lack art and excitement if opting for one of them.
2. Share the Adventure
Nobody ever goes to a big city to be alone, and that’s something you can use to your advantage. Be sure to flip each one of the yellow pages before you settle for good and you’ll certainly find someone like-minded to share your adventure with.
Besides, living with a roommate – or a couple of them – is not only a convenient way of saving a few extra bucks, but the safest path to your complete integration into a new environment as well. However strong, you’ll always be in need of someone to talk to, seek advice, or brainstorm fresh, lucrative ideas.
3. Become Your Own Money Manager
Time flies in cities that never sleep, and so does money. Particularly if in a foreign country, you’ll need a couple of months to adjust to the standard and the currency, so start practicing your budget management skills as soon as possible.
Be sure to check your bank accounts once a week and manage your spending at the beginning of each month. Find online listings of discount voucher codes and bookmark them for good, buy only the necessities, and shop wherever the prices are lowest, at least until you get on your feet.
4. Get Creative with Your Leisure Activities
Entertainment is expensive, especially in the big city you’re trying to conquer. Soon enough, you’ll find that going to the movies costs three times as much as it does in your hometown and eating out is mostly out of the question. All that means that you’ll have to get creative with your leisure time.
Fortunately, you’ll get to experience a whole different culture – contrary to the popular belief, spontaneous get-togethers and home parties are the very soul of social life in these cities, so be sure to learn to cook, up your hosting game and discover new, alternative ways of having fun.
5. Earn Money Even When You’re Wasting Time
Which brings us directly to your hobbies schedule. Though an indispensable part of every fulfilling life, leisure activities cost money as well. And, even if you find those that are free of charge, the idea of making them as lucrative as you can seems like a pretty clever one.
Whether you’re into arts and crafts, amateur photography or social media mingling, there are always ways of charging for what you do out of pure passion. Starting a blog and promoting your business might cost you a small initial investment, but it will surely provide you with an additional cash flow, while simultaneously allowing you to spend your free time doing something you love.
After all, who knows? Maybe after a while, your frugal choices will earn you enough money to climb the big city ladder and fulfil your dreams, however lavishing they are.