15 Proven Tips To Make Living In An Expensive City Cheaper (That Actually Work)

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According to the U.N., over 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by the year 2050.

Cities aren’t getting cheaper, and the desire to move to a city is getting stronger.

I lived in Austin, Texas and Chicago, Illinois for a long time. The cities are known to be some of the more expensive in the country, so I did what I could do save money. It’s worth the little extra work to save some money!

If you currently live or plan on moving to a city soon, use these 15 tips below to make living in a city more affordable.

Take action now: Before we begin, take action now, and download the FREE Ultimate Financial Planner. Paying off debt and managing your finances can be FUN. Included is a bonus debt thermometer. 

1. Get a side hustle

Side hustles can give you a few extra hundred bucks every month with little commitment.

When I lived in Chicago, I hosted my nanny services on Care.com and found a full-time nanny position through the site.

I also worked as a Rover dog walker and walked dogs in my free time.

These were easy 30-minute walks that paid me $20 per walk while also giving me some extra steps in the day.

You could also work as an online English Teacher.

You can even make money by filling out surveys on Springboard America with your honest opinion.

Interested in real work from home careers? Check out this great list.

2. Lower your bills and save money (I saved $290)

Billshark is a MUST for anyone who has a cell phone, cable, internet, or insurance bill and wants to lower their bill.

And trust me, it works because I’ve used it myself on 3 different bills and I’ve saved $290.

Here’s how Billshark works:

  1. Send copies of your bills to Billshark. (I did this by uploading an online PDF of each bill).
  2. Billshark negotiates all of the bills you send in.
  3. You get notified if Billshark was successful. If they are, they take 40% of the savings. Ex. Billshark saved me $290 over the course of 6 months, so I pay them $116. I can do this in a monthly payment plan or all at once.

It’s definitely worth the savings and it was such an easy process. 

You can start lowering your bills with Billshark here.

3. Manage Your Money

Are you overwhelmed by finances? Are you sick of managing 6 six money apps?

Cinch takes care of everything all in one place.

Cinch monitors your credit score, if you have missed payments or unauthorized use, to how much insurance you need, and a lot more.

There are so many money apps out there, why use so many when you can organize everything in one place?

4. Rent your space

Major cities are always in need of Airbnb hosts.

Do you have a spare room in your home, or do you not use your house year-round?

You could potentially make thousands per year just by renting out this space out.

All you need to do is log on to Airbnb and click “Become A Host,” and it should tell you how much you could be making in your city.

5. Negotiate and ask for discounts

A simple call can make a huge difference in your bills each month.

I negotiate on everything! From cars, utility bills, deposits, car insurance bills, you name it!

You’ll be surprised as to what kind of discounts you may be missing out on.

Trim helps you negotiate cable and internet bills, analyzes and gives you spending updates via text, and will find and cancel unwanted subscriptions for you.

Trim users saved over $1,000,000 last month alone. That’s crazy!

6. Increase your credit

Increasing your credit can make it easier to waive deposits.

Your landlord may also ask for a cheaper deposit if you have good credit.

Do you know your credit score? Get your free credit score here (and no it doesn’t hurt your credit score!).

You’ll also learn strategies to improve your credit score.

A high credit score will save you money when you purchase a car, rent or buy a house, take out a loan, or when you apply for a credit card.

Having a high credit score could land you your dream apartment.

If the landlord received several applications for an apartment, they are most likely to choose the person with the best credit as it shows they may be the most reliable to pay bills on time.

7. Take advantage of free or cheap things

Living in a city offers so many free resources that need to be taken advantage of.

Do you live near a tech school?

You could get your car worked on for very cheap or free just by having students work on them.

Do you live near a school hair salon?

You could pay less than $20 for services like haircuts, manicures, and even facials.

When I lived in St. Louis, we had a variety of free museums to choose from, ranging from art, science, and even a free history museum. You have to do some digging to see what’s available in your area!

8. Learn how to cook

With the abundance of restaurants in cities, it’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars every month on outings.

Do you have trouble cooking at home or not sure what to make?

HelloFresh delivers all the ingredients you’ll need (so you waste no food) and step by step instructions to make cooking easy.

11. Take advantage of the library

Libraries offer so much more than just books.

Depending on your library, you may access to renting household items, workout DVD’s, free language learning classes, conference rooms, and more.

Libraries also have free or discounted tickets to entertainment events such as concerts, museums, sporting events, and more.

Even if you don’t want to make the trip to the library, you can take advantage of Overdrive which connects you to your library and their available eBooks.

12. Travel cheaper

One of the best things about living in a major city is getting access to one-way flights to awesome destinations around the world.

To make traveling even cheaper, I recommend using Hopper, a site that tells you when to fly and buy.

After you decide when you’re buying your ticket, use Ebates to get cash back on your flight.

Many major cities offer cheap round-trip flights to awesome destinations all around the world. This is something I miss now that I live in a small town!

13. Reduce energy

Take advantage of energy saving light bulbs, and use an eco-friendly showerhead to help preserve water without sacrificing the quality of a shower.

You could potentially save hundreds of dollars per year along with hundreds of gallons of water just by replacing your showerhead. It’s that easy.

14. Get rid of unnecessary fees

Cushion is a new finance app that is unlike any other app on the market.

Cushion is an app that refunds bank and credit card fees.

You can expect refunds on things like late fees, overdraft fees, monthly service fees, account maintenance fees, ATM fees, credit card interest charges, late fees, and more

15. Incorporate vegetarian or vegan meals

One of my all-time favorite parts of living in a city is access to vegan meals.

Meat is incredibly expensive, not to mention the environmental toll it takes to produce meat.

Here is a list of 10 vegan lunch recipes you can try that are easy on the wallet and your waist!

What to read next: How I Make $10,000+ Per Month With These 4 Side Hustles

What do you do to make living in a city cheaper?

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alexis,

    Great tips. I really liked the idea to cut down on unnecessary cost. There are so many small costs we don’t really pay attention to.

    Presently, I have a seamless internet plan, so I have started using WhatsApp calls more often. It has reduced my phone bills drastically. I pay lesser than $5 for phone bills now. ha!

    thank you for the post

    1. That’s so true – there are a lot of small purchases that we don’t pay attention to that can quickly add up!

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