NYC Living

Life Hack: How to Survive the Weekend on $25

We’ve all been there – it’s Friday and your rent is due, but your next paycheck isn’t dropping until Monday and you now need to survive the weekend in New York City on $25. This may seem like a terrifying predicament on the outset, but resist the urge to bury yourself under your covers with the leftover pizza. There are plenty of free things to do in this city, if you know where to look!

The Met's entry fee is technically a suggested donation...Intrepret that as you will...
The Met’s entry fee is technically a suggested donation. Intrepret that as you will… (Source: John Weiss via Flickr Creative Commons)

To fill your days, consider New York’s world-renowned museums (many of which have suggested entrance fees), beautiful parks and the countless free events that take place in the city every day. Luckily, there are two great websites that pull together a list of affordable itineraries for the Big Apple’s most broke residents: TimeOut and NYCgo.

Cheaply, We Eat

Now, everyone’s gotta eat. But just because you’re skint doesn’t mean you should be reduced to consuming ramen noodles three meals a day. NY Eater, Real Cheap Eats, and Thrillist have all rounded up great lists of cheap restaurants where you can get a full, hearty meal for under $10.  No surprises that the restaurants are mainly ethnic food; take advantage of all the diversity NYC has to offer!

Vanessa’s Dumplings is always a great choice. It feels pseudo-healthy, has locations in Williamsburg, the Lower East Side and East Village and offers super cheap food. A buck fifty for four dumplings!?! Not suprisingly, the place gets crowded so give yourself time to wait in line.

You don't need to break the bank to eat well in NYC
You don’t need to break the bank to eat well in NYC. (Source: Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons)

Pregame Entertainment

The final step to a great weekend is a great night out, and don’t worry, you don’t have to give that up! Say it with me: pregame. There’s no way you’re going to be able to afford more than a beer or two even at the cheapest bars in town (but if you’re looking for those, TimeOut has a great list. So if you’re in the mood to imbibe, it’s smarter to start at home – and the cheapest pregame option is always a couple bottles of Two-Buck Chuck from your local Trader Joe’s.

There you have it: a weekend in New York on a (figurative) dime. Go forth, eat, drink, and be merry, my financially-challenged comrades!

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Phoebe Pickering

Phoebe Pickering is a freelance writer and editor, natural born traveler and consummate New Yorker. A graduate of Tufts University, Phoebe has extensive experience in publishing, having worked as an assistant editor at Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin, and as a literary assistant at Don Congdon Associates, a literary agency in NYC. She currently works at Furthermore, a private fund that awards publishing grants to non-fiction books about history, the arts and the environment. Phoebe has lived all over the world, but her heart will always remain in Williamsburg.