nyc on a budget

NYC on a budget sounds like a fool’s pipe dream, especially if you’re the wellness type. TCM regular, Katie Horwitch of Women Against Negative Talk, knows about this first hand and is sharing her top tricks for living well in NYC without going broke or having a nervous breakdown…

It’s not anything you haven’t heard before, but living in New York is not cheap. While everyone tells you that it’s expensive to live in this big, beautiful metropolis, until you’re here, you don’t quite realize how crazy it actually is. A New York “budget” is everything everyone jokes about, times a million: And for someone who puts her well-being above all else, it’s forced me to really get creative when it comes to staying healthy and happy.

After securing an apartment (which involved about four different deposits and signing over our first-born) and settling into our new home, my partner and I quickly realized our Los Angeles-flavored wellness ways weren’t going to cut it out here. Just run out and grab something at the Whole Foods salad bar? That’ll be $10 per pound. Pop into a group fitness class twice a week? It’s either that or pay your gas bill.

The tiny luxuries we enjoyed (and frankly, took for granted) on the West Coast were seeming more luxurious than ever. The upside? We’re learning how to truly prioritize what matters most to us, and shifting the way those priorities look on the outside. Splurges now feel even more special – but we’ve learned to make the other stuff feel special, too. Here are my top five ways for staying healthy and happy in NYC – without breaking the bank…

Free or donation-based classes

With class prices skyrocketing (even ClassPass isn’t all that affordable anymore), these are a godsend! Many fitness stores, like Lululemon’s flagship on 5th Ave, will offer free (or cheap) classes to the community. Certain yoga studios, like Sky Ting, will also offer donation-based classes every so often. Most of the parks offer free fitness classes too, and organizations like The Rise make early mornings a whole lot more manageable.

CHECK IT OUT: HUBseventeen, Central Park Fitness, Sky Ting, Shape Up NYC, The Rise.

Outdoor Runs

If it’s not swamp-ass humid or bone-chillingly cold, running outdoors is my absolute favorite form of exercise in NYC. In L.A. I felt as if there was a “runner” archetype and I rarely fit into that mold. On any given day in New York, I’ll see dozens of different ages, races, body types, fitness levels, etc. being runners. It’s a good reminder that it’s not about how fast or slow you go, or how experienced you are: If you’re running, you’re a runner. Just don’t laugh when you see me running by singing along to my ’90s Spotify playlist.

CHECK IT OUT: Hudson River Park, Fort Tryon Park, Central Park (dat resevoir tho!) and Brooklyn Bridge Park all offer up a good few miles of runnable road, all with gorg views to boot.

Cheaper Green Juice

Coming from the mecca of all things bottled ‘n’ green, I thought I knew juice. Was I wrong! The juice scene here is less of a “scene” than in L.A., but I was surprised (and delighted) to arrive and find no less than five juice stores within four blocks of my apartment. The new cost of my juice habit wasn’t as pleasant of a surprise. Thank goodness Pressed Juicery is making its way out east: Not only is it the least expensive option here at $6.50 a pop, but it’s the most consistently stellar in quality. A store with Freeze just opened a mere 10 minutes away in Madison Square Park, which is making me sort of miss the oppressive heat wave we had this summer (I said sort of).

CHECK IT OUT: Find your local Pressed Juicery here.

CSAs + Farmer's Markets

Grocery shopping in NYC can be a pain in the neck. For someone who likes to handpick her own produce at the market, options like FreshDirect aren’t the most ideal (I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune when the snowstorms start to hit). If you’re like me and a weekly Whole Foods run isn’t in the cards, it’s all about getting creative: NYC has a wonderful CSA system in place with flexible memberships so you can find a payment plan that works for you. Not into a monthly membership? There are countless farmers markets across the city you can hit up as needed. Trader Joe’s also has a small corner of the store dedicated specifically to local farmers. Set up like a farmer’s market stand, I swing by here during my normal grocery run to pick up things like fresh, full heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers – all at Trader Joe’s prices. Score!

CHECK IT OUT: My favorite spots are the Union Square farmers market and the Abingdon Square Greenmarket (across from my favorite natural foods store, Mrs. Green’s – which also offers sweet deals and a pretty good membership program).

Compost Drop-Offs

It might not directly affect my day-to-day health in a noticeable way, but I love that the Hudson River Park has a compost drop-off! The compost helps make nutrient-rich soil for the park’s plants and trees, and contributes to a greener NYC – which, in the end, benefits us all.

CHECK IT OUT: For drop-off days, times, and location, click here.

For Katie’s insights on the emotional element of personal finances and budgeting, check out her TCM article here.

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