Getting by financially is hard to anywhere, but doing it in a big city is a whole different story.
According to research, four out of five American adults are faced with economic insecurity at some point during their lives. This means that 80 percent of the population have either felt the worry and anxiety associated with losing a job, got by on an income that didn’t meet their needs, or was reliant on some form of welfare.
Not everyone can prosper in places where the job market is more competitive and the cost of living is sky-high. Besides, money is getting harder to earn, but much easier to spend.
Living in big cities isn’t for everyone, but those who choose it often find themselves never wanting to leave. For that, we offer three tips to use as a guide for navigating life in the city.
Side Gigs Make it Easier
Back in the day, people believed that having one career and being excellent at it was enough to give them a comfortable life. Today, it’s no longer the case.
Side gigs and freelance jobs are practically part of most people’s professional lives as they provide extra money for them to spend socially. This is one of the more common options now simply because relying on one job may no longer be enough to get by.
Last year, Fast Company covered this topic with significant data from the IRS. They found that the number of 1099 tax forms filed per year were increasing dramatically. They jumped from 82 million in 2010 to 91 million in 2014. This means that people are earning money from gigs (for which you file a 1099, not a W4) more and more every year.
There are many types of high-paying opportunities out there and plenty of places to find them.
The most obvious reason to pick up some additional part-time work on the side is the opportunity to grow one’s skill set. The cool part of having more than one job is not just increasing your one skill — it’s about increasing a multitude of skills.
It’s just a matter of finding what you’re interested in. Just like any other day job, side projects start off with passion. From there, It could grow into something bigger that could make all the difference in the world.
Split the Bill, Find a Roommate
Most big city dwellers deal with astronomical rent.
New York and San Francisco have long since been notorious for their sky-high rent rate. According to a study by SmartAsset, the annual income needed to pay rent in these cities is $158,229 for New York and $216,129 for San Francisco. In San Francisco, the median income is only $78,378.
For many, the high cost of rent isn’t enough of a deterrent to stay out of a big city – and it doesn’t have to be. Whether an individual is enticed by the career opportunities of New York or feeling the pull of the tech culture in the Bay Area, there are ways to make rent work.
Some think that living independently means living alone. This is not necessarily true. Anyone can enjoy the benefits of independence while also taking into consideration the finances he or she has. While it is so easy to get devoured by the cost of rent, the best way to address this and live comfortably is to get a roommate.
It’s an easy to way to cut expenses in half, or even in thirds. If it’s feasible, two or three roommates work even better. Of course, that’s a matter of personal preference and comfort level.
According to SmartAsset analysis, a renter who shares a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate realizes savings of more than $800 per month compared to someone who lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment.
Even beyond rent, they can also split the cost of utilities, internet, cable and energy.
Frugality is a Must
While living in a big city, frugality is one thing a person should embrace.
Americans are saving their money at the lowest rate in 73 years – the lowest rate since the Great Depression. But people have gotten used to a certain lifestyle, and tend to continuing living it.
Taking all these into consideration, to start off, big city dwellers should consider going for more affordable options in their daily lives. Take transportation for example.
Urban professionals can take advantage of access to affordable public transportation. In some cases, it doesn’t even make sense to own a car, which means no spending on gas, parking and insurance.
Then again, ditching the car might require some adjustment. It also helps to be an educated transportation consumer.
In San Francisco, the bus costs $2.25, much better than the $7 ride on a cable car. In Boston, it’s $2.25 a trip for the bus and subway, but going for an unlimited travel pass for a month at $84.50 might be a wise option.
In New York, the subway is $3 for each ride, but there’s a 25-cent discount for multiple rides and an 11 percent bonus for every $5.50 purchased. Think of it like a discount supermarket. Sometimes, it’s best to buy in bulk.
Another great alternative – get a bicycle.