There are some major expenses that ordinary people have no direct control over. In recent years, rental costs in major American cities have skyrocketed. Unfortunately, New York City is leading the charge.
Collective action is a powerful and transformative tool. That said, organizing effective policy change takes immense effort and dedication. So, while plans are brewing to stop the unsustainable cost of living increases, consider ways to reduce your household expenses in the short term.
If your landlord is hiking up your rent in NYC or anywhere across the country, here are a few steps you can implement to soften the blow.
Rethink Your Energy Use
Renewable energy is becoming increasingly more accessible and less expensive when compared to dirtier energy sources such as fossil fuels. Even still, buying the world’s best solar generator may not be in your budget right now. That’s OK! There are other creative ways to reduce your utility expenses.
New York is one of the leading states in the U.S. when it comes to community choice aggregation, commonly called CCA. This program empowers communities to make decisions about their energy and uses collective bargaining power to reduce costs. Do some research to see if CCA is an option in your area!
On a smaller scale, you can upgrade your lightbulbs to LEDs, take shorter showers, and talk to your landlord about weatherproofing your apartment. Incremental changes to daily habits can go a long way.
Thrifting is officially trendy! Luckily, NYC is a great place to peruse secondhand stores. Before you buy new furniture, clothing, kitchenware, or appliances, check out your local thrift shop. You can keep up with trends and your bank account with thank you.
When it comes to grocery stores, New York has myriad options. Take advantage of that by identifying the more affordable items at different stores. While it takes time and planning, you can save hefty sums of money if you are intentional about where you shop for food.
If you can, buying in bulk is a great way to cut costs. Plus, it reduces the number of trips you have to make to the store!
Find Free Fun
In the city that never sleeps, there is always something to do. This is true even if you are trying to have fun on a budget.
While museums and galleries often come with a steep ticket price, many venues offer free admission to residents throughout the year. For example, the Bronx Zoo is free on Wednesdays!
Enjoy working out? New York is full of beautiful parks that are great for outdoor recreation and sports, but the city also boasts plenty of free group fitness classes if you know how to find them. Join local social media groups wherein people share gym promos, free or donation-based fitness classes, or opportunities to join in on a team sport.
Stay Two Steps Ahead
Don’t let rising rent costs stop you from living in the city you love. Systemic change takes time, but these quick fixes can make an impact fast.