How To Make City Living Affordable

Friday, November 13, 2020


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There are many perks to living in a city: you can meet people from all walks of life, access a broader range of job opportunities and enjoy a broader range of activities in your free time.

One big downside to city living however is the cost. Everything in a city is expensive - you can spend twice as much as you would living in a remote town or village. While wages tend to be higher in cities, they’re not relative to the cost of living.  This means that, unless you’ve got a well-paid job, you have to find inventive ways to spend less.

If you’ve recently moved to a city or are thinking of moving to a city, here are a few ways in which you may be able to make city living affordable.

Be smart about where you live

By far the biggest cost of living in a city is accommodation. You can rent a three bedroom house in the sticks for the same price of renting a bedsit in a trendy city area. For some people moving to the city, this can be a big shock.

Sharing property is the only way to survive for many people on lower wages. This involves several people sharing a rented apartment or a rented house. Sharing allows you to split the rent, while giving you access to more living space than you would be able to access living alone, although it does involve sharing it with others (often strangers if you haven’t got a partner, friends or family to move in with).

Buying property in a city is much harder. Unless you’re making big bucks, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to save up for a down payment on a house, however you might be able to find a condo for sale that’s in your budget. Others get creative, choosing to buy alternative properties such as houseboats.

Prices of properties can vary a lot by area and you may be able to save money simply by moving to a less attractive district. This could however mean putting up with higher crime rates, fewer local amenities or higher noise levels (i.e. if you decided to live near a train line or an airport).

Ask yourself, do you need a car?

If you drive, you might want to consider whether owning a car in a city is worthwhile. A car is the second most expensive thing you’ll spend money on - and there may not be much use in having one at all in a city.

Public transport is often cheaper and quicker in a city than using a car. Large cities also have convenient public transport links to the rest of the country - including national rail routes, bus links and even domestic flights. Unless you’re living in the suburbs, there may be very little benefits to have a car.

Scope out the best places to shop

Cities can have a great range of places to shop, but you’re also likely to spend more in them than you would elsewhere in the country. It’s worth doing local research to find the cheapest places to buy groceries and other goods - it may be worth travelling to a cheaper district to do your shopping.

Online shopping can also save you money. Even with the added cost of delivery, you could find that it’s still cheaper than buying from your local store.

Start a side hustle

Another way to make city life more affordable is to find ways of earning more money. A bonus of living in a city is that you can cater to practically any niche and there will always be an audience on your doorstep. For instance, you may struggle to find customers doing steel drum lessons or teaching Portuguese in a village, however in a city there are certain to be people interested due to the larger and more diverse population.

Take advantage of free activities

There’s always something new to do in a city. While there are plenty of expensive activities to choose from, you could find that there’s also a broader range of free activities to choose from than your average town. By taking advantage of these activities, you could spend less on leisure than you might do living elsewhere.

A few examples of free activities include taking a stroll in the park, visiting free museums, browsing shops and markets (without buying anything), attending free local events and trying free taster classes and taster experiences. Don’t assume that there’s nothing to do just because you’ve got less disposable income.

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