How to Save on Living in the City


RelayRides blogger Amanda L. Grossman is a pro when it comes to shaving living costs, even if you are living in a big city.

Living in a city can be exciting. There are new restaurants to try, a huge pool of people to meet, and endless forms of entertainment you won’t likely find in smaller towns.

However, with that excitement oftentimes comes a higher cost of living. When you live in an area where there is more demand for everything from housing to groceries, then your costs will be higher whether you are spending impulsively or not.

So let’s highlight several ways in which you can take advantage of what a city has to offer in a way that saves you money.

Look for Free Internet

Cities are opening up the floodgates of free WiFi Hot Spots (click here for a growing list of cities and areas with free, open WiFi networks). It’s an exciting time, and a great way to save money on traditional internet costs.

Another great way to save on internet costs is to use your neighbor’s WiFi. You will need their permission, you must adhere to their internet provider’s terms of service, and you will also need to work out an agreement for how much you will pay them for the privilege (we did this for a few years, and paid half of our neighbor’s monthly internet bill).

Finally, if your job is one where you need the internet and you also work from home at least part of the time, ask your HR department if you qualify for a partial or full reimbursement of your monthly internet costs at home.

Use Public Transportation + P2P Car Rentals

Public transportation can be an affordable option, especially if your employer helps to subsidize part of the expense (be sure to check with your HR department to see about possible transportation benefits). By using public transportation, you can save money on the typical car ownership costs such as annual inspections, registration, insurance, gas, parking fees, oil changes, and basic upkeep.

And if you want to get out of the city for the weekend or are moving and need to rent a vehicle, be smart with your rental choice. RelayRides is a peer-to-peer rental company that is 40% cheaper across the board and has no hidden fees typically littering a traditional car rental bill. You’ll be keeping your dollars in your neighborhood, and choosing from a great selection of vehicles. Plus, if you own a car, it can pay for itself if you simply list it on RelayRides.

Live with Others in Group Housing

Instead of living in a traditional apartment or owning a home outside of the city with a long commute, you can do what Anita does in Washington D.C. and rent out a room in a beautiful home. In some cities these are known as group houses, and there are many benefits besides just saving you money. These include potential companionship you won’t necessarily get from neighbors in an apartment complex, living in a nicer area of the city than you could afford on your own, and in some cases, having a yard instead of a park to unwind in.

Use Craigslist and Community Online Boards to Source Items Needed

You can save a lot of money if you take advantage of one of the best resources a city has to offer: lots of people at various stages of life. The next time you need or want something like a piece of furniture, a new gadget, books, etc., be sure to search for it on sites like Craigslist and community online boards. If you don’t find what you need, then create a post asking for it and the price you would be willing to pay.

Looking for more ways to save on living in a city? Check out this article for some cheap forms of entertainment you can find no matter which city you call home.