Inside New York City – On a Budget
By: Kendall Crepeau, MFF Intern
It all started on a normal night, catching up with my really good friend, Adam. We were just talking about the usual-music, my recent birthday, really anything that best friends talk about. And then he hits me with a crazy question that I would never have thought he would ask me: “Do you and Mike want to come to New York with me for my birthday?” Now picture me: broke, always homesick when I leave home for more than a day, and have never traveled alone before. I had to come up with something real quick.
I decided to throw caution to the wind, put my fears aside, and just go! Luckily my travel to get to NYC ended up as a birthday present, for which I was very grateful. However, once I arrived, I had to figure out how to budget in this expensive city. As a 17 year old girl who has not worked much, this was tricky. My boyfriend Mike and I ended up having a $300 budget between the both of us. it was originally $400 but of course unforeseen expenses had to have happened prior to the trip.
Of course, our AirBnb had to be in the center of Times Square…not that I’m complaining, obviously, but it was an absolute…money…trap. One of the first things we did was take a trip to the M&M factory. Thinking nothing of it, me and my boyfriend bought a small pouch of M&M’s for 15 dollars. Oh and also you know the amazing 2 for $22 deal at Applebees? Yeah well, in Times Square it was 2 for $40! Times Square is great for seeing a bunch of cool things, but keep your wallets in your bag around this area.
The thing I spent the most money on was surprisingly Uber. It was super hard for any Uber to find us anytime since the city is so big, so I got charged SO many cancellation fees. Uber drained at least $200 even when Adam and I split the rides. I would suggest just walking if the weather permits, but none of us really liked walking and it was cold and rainy out for most of the nights.
The last thing we did was visit Chinatown. We each bought a 2 hour metro card for $3 to get there. In Chinatown, everybody is trying to make a profit. There are people on the streets selling all types of stuff (I must admit, I caved and bought a bag for $50.) Adam also made some materialistic purchases in Chinatown, and after we were all done with shopping, we picked a really nice place to eat in Little Italy. The bill was about $100 between the 3 of us, and we split it down the middle.
So what I’ve learned from my first time ever traveling to New York alone is to keep your money away from Times Square. Do not give money to anybody selling stuff on the street, it’s a scam! Make sure if it’s the Uber’s fault that it can’t find you, you don’t get changed for their mistake. All in all, it was such an amazing trip! I’m so blessed I got to go to a great city with my two best friends in the whole world!