Happy Friday! Sadly, I have to work today because I took Monday off to make it an extra long weekend. Poor me, working a Friday, I know. But since it’s Friday its time to bring back FYI Friday! If you’re a blogger don’t forget to link-up at the end of the post.
When Tom and I travel we like to do it on the cheap, this allows us to travel as much as we do. If we can find any way to cut cost, we will do it. New York is an expensive city. Although flights there can be rather inexpensive everything else is absurdly priced. However, during our recent trip, we still managed to find ways to trim our budget and still do what we wanted.
1. Discount Broadway tickets
Broadway was something I knew I wanted to see in New York. There are so many good shows playing at any one time in New York. If you’re not too picky about which show you see, you can save some serious money on tickets. Each day, tickets for that day’s shows (matinee & evening) go on sale at discounted prices (up to 50% off) at the TKTS booths.
Now, this does require waiting in line. The booth for evening show opens up at 3pm and the line starts to form an hour or so before that. Tom and I waited in the rain for an hour to get tickets.
However, the great news is once you’ve bought tickets through TKTS once, you can keep your ticket stubs and use them to skip the line if you want to go to another show in the same week!
We ended up buying discount tickets for Chicago and it was absolutely fantastic!! If you want to see classic Broadway with amazing singing and jazz dancing, I highly recommend this show.
Now one word of caution, not every show has discount tickets available. Some shows sell out all the time such as Book of Mormon, Lion King and Wicked. If you want tickets to these shows you are going to have to buy in advance and shell out some serious cash.
Tom and I knew we wanted to go to Book of Mormon so we booked our tickets months in advance. They were super expensive, over $200 a ticket, but the show was soooo worth it. I laughed so hard and the whole production was just phenomenal. The Broadway theaters are very small and truly every seat is a good seat. So when booking tickets in advance, I suggest going for the cheaper options. Paying for the higher priced floor seats are not worth it, in my opinion.
2. Rent an apartment
I mentioned this yesterday that Tom and I rented an apartment through Air BnB. Hotels in New York are ridiculously priced. By renting an apartment you can save a lot of money upfront and you can save money on eating out. Tom and I picked up breakfast items like fruit & yogurt to have breakfast at our apartment saving at least $30 daily that would have been spent out for breakfast.
With an apartment you also have more of a home feeling. You can head back to your apartment after a long day of sightseeing with a bottle of Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes and enjoy some cheap wine in a comfortable atmosphere rather than heading out to a pub.
3. Use public transportation
Taking taxi’s seems very “New York” but the cost adds up quickly. New York has an extensive subway system that will get you most places you are hoping to go. And for where it doesn’t reach, walk! There is no better way to experience New York than on foot.
You can get a metro-pass from any subway station. You can either pre-load it with money and pay per ride ($2.50) or buy a week pass which gets you unlimited rides for $30.
4. Discount Shopping
I like to shop but I’m also incredibly cheap when it comes to shopping. Obviously New York is known for its high end shopping and if that’s your bag then have at it. Tom and I instead were looking for discount stores and ways to stretch our dollar further.
We visited Burlington, Nordstrom Rack & Century 21 which are all stores with brand name designs for discounted prices.
I didn’t end up doing a ton of shopping because our time for shopping was limited but I did manage to snag a Steve Madden purse, Michael Kors Jacket & Michael Kors Wallet for a total of $215. Not too bad I think!
5. New York Pass
The New York pass is a one-time purchase pass that gets you into most of the major New York city attractions. If you plan to do a lot of attractions per day then I think the pass is worth it. You also get skip the line privileges with the pass so when it comes to Empire State or Top of the Rock, this pass can be really worthwhile.
Tom and I actually didn’t purchase the pass because we didn’t think we would get enough use out of it to justify the cost but his family did and felt it was worth the cost. Online they often have sales for the passes so check out the website and pre-buy the pass before you go.
6. Eating out cheaper
New York has some amazing restaurants and I knew that for some places we would just have to suck up a higher cost. That’s part of the New York experience.
But it’s still possible to save money on food. As I mentioned, grabbing your own breakfast from a supermarket is a great way to save money right off the bat. Or even grabbing a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks will save you a lot of money compared to going to a sit-down restaurant.
For lunch again, going to markets is another great option. We also checked out places like Panera which was fairly inexpensive but completely delicious. And of course, there is street food! It’s a great New York experience to grab food from a street cart.
For reference restaurants we visited:
This was recommended to us. Overall I found the food was good but not fantastic. For the price, it’s not a place I would recommend as a “must-go” when in New York.
We went here the night of the marathon. It’s an italian place that serves family style. The portions were huge and the prices completely reasonable. The food was delicious! I highly recommend this place.
If you are a chocaholic like me, you MUST go here. Don’t even think about it, just go. My order was called illegal chocolate, chocolate, chocolate pancakes. Probably the most amazing thing I have ever tasted.
This is a fast food restaurant. There are locations outside of New York as well but I had never visited one before. OMG the BEST burger of my life. I feel like I’ve had a lot of good burgers in my life but I dream of this burger.
Ellen’s is a New York experience in itself. Broadway hopefuls are the waiters and waitresses and dance and sing as you eat. It’s a ton of fun to experience. The menu is huge so there is something for everyone and prices are reasonable.
Bonus Tip: Buy in Bulk
No, I didn’t really buy the chocolate bar but I’m sure it would have saved money over the year compared to all the chocolate I buy!
How do you save money when you travel?