Our Place

6 Tips to Eat In & Out without Breaking the Bank in NYC


We all know rent is a huge expense, but too many people forget about how expensive it can be to eat. When you’ve moved to a new city and are eager to try local food, meet new friends at intriguing bars, and go out to events that involve the yummy stuff… it can be hard not to spend just as much money on food and drink as you do on rent. Here’s a few tips to help keep it under control without becoming a hermit.


1. Pick one night to go out to eat

Eat all your other meals at home or brown bag it. Pick one night and really make a night of it, invite friends, take your time and pick a place that you really want to eat. Remember, you’re only going out to eat once this week/month don’t waste it on a place you don’t want to go. Save more by making this a lunch outing instead of dinner. Looking for some places to try? Check out our #neighborhoodspotlights:

 2. Host potluck meals at your house

Eating at home doesn’t mean you have to eat alone. Invite your friends over for a potluck meal… Everyone brings a dish and shares. Mix it up, go to different friends’ houses, have dinner on the rooftop, host a potluck BBQ, brunch, cultural dinner, etc. Get creative and make it fun.


3. Meal Prep

It’s much easier to order take-out if you’re hungry and there’s nothing made and ready for you to eat. If you’ve made your meals in advance all you’ll have to do is heat something up… This also means you’ll spend less time in the supermarket because you can buy your food for the week at one time. Incentivise meal prep by doing prepping on the day you go out to dinner, just make sure you finish your cooking for the week first. Don’t know where to start? Beth, from Budget Bytes, breaks it down.


4. Look for deals

There are quite a few bars in the city that give you something to munch on with your drink. Alligator Lounge in Williamsburg, and Crocodile Lounge on 14th and 2nd in Manhattan both give you a free personal pizza with EVERY drink you buy! I wish I could remember the name of the place that gives you a bowl of mac n’ cheese with your bev, but I had a few too many that night… Know it or another spot that’s worth checking out? Share the wealth in the comments.


5. Start drinking at home

If you plan on going out, invite friends over to pregame first. Avoid places with a cover charge to enter, and then have 1 or 2 drinks at the bar. Have fun, don’t break the bank ;) … And then there’s coffee. How much money would you have for other things if you weren’t buying coffee out? Put those dollars back in your pocket and BYOC.


6. Share bulk food items with housemates

At Our Place we share milk, eggs, onions, potatoes, rice, sugar, coffee, flour, and sometimes more. We buy these items in bulk as needed and it saves us all a bit of our food budget. Talk with your housemates and find out if there’s anything they might be willing to buy as a household. You can always use a bill-splitting app, like Splitwise, to easily keep track of who has spent what. The key here is communication.


Welcome to Our Blog!


On a cold February day in 2011, I boarded a train to NYC from upstate New York. It was a familiar ride, I had been commuting to Hunter College in Manhattan on the same line for the past year and a half. But this trip was different; I had my suitcase with me, packed with as much as I could carry… I was finally MOVING TO NEW YORK CITY!

Brooklyn, to be specific, where my commute to school would be just 40 minutes (down from 2 hours and 15)! I had found a work-exchange position at a hostel, where I would work full-time in exchange for a bunk of my very own in one of the shared rooms. I spent my first year in Brooklyn living and working in hostels while I finished up my degree.

It would take a bit too long to outline all the ups and downs of that first year, but let’s just say it was a tumultuous experience & an emotional roller coaster. Fast forward three years and I found an amazing opportunity to make transitioning into city life a little easier for others, while also fulfilling some of my own dreams. In a nutshell, that’s how Our Place came to be, back in 2014.

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Over 115 people from across the country and the globe have called Our Place home at some point since then. Which is a lot of people, but still just a tiny fraction of New York transplants, temporary or otherwise; two-thirds of the 264,000 people who moved to New York City in the last year are under 34 years old, and there are 500,000+ college students at the 110 colleges across the city…  I have a feeling that the resources I share with our housemates just might be useful to at least a few other folks out there.

The mission of Our Place is to promote kindness, community, & sustainability by providing a safe and affordable place for students / interns / recent grads transitioning into NYC life to call home.

Unlike life in the city, I can tell you with certainty what to expect from Our Blog - and it has everything to do with our mission for kindness, community, and sustainability. Whether you’re starting to plan your move to New York or you’re already here trying to figure it all out, I think you’ll find a lot of what we’ll share here helpful and inspiring!

New Yorkers have this reputation of being … rude … But I would have to respectfully disagree (and I’m not the only one). From neighbors to strangers, I’ve experienced so much kindness in this city and you’ll find that theme woven throughout the pages of this blog. Be kind, all the time.

And then there’s community. Did you know that New York City is the most populated city in the United States? The population density of Brooklyn is 36,732 people per square mile… that’s thousands more people in a square mile of Brooklyn than my entire hometown. But even with over 8.5 million humans in close proximity, living in New York can still feel very lonely, and I somehow doubt any of you moved here to be lonely. So you’ll also find some posts about community on Our Blog… finding it, creating it, sustaining it.

We consider sustainability a very broad subject - while we will definitely share ways to make your time in NYC more environmentally sustainable, we’re also all about the sustainability of your wallet. Let’s be honest, a big part of “making it” in New York starts by learning to stay financially afloat in this expensive town. Eating in and out, having fun, and exploring different parts of the city without breaking the bank are just a few of the topics we’ll post about over the next few months.

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. I hope you’ll subscribe for all the awesome content that’s coming your way. And don’t be a stranger! We’d love to hear more about what you want to read about, and we’d love to read more of what you have to say! Are you interested in creating a post? Please let us know. We would love to collaborate!


I'd be remiss to end our first post without thanking the amazing people who have made this blog and the Our Place website a reality. A special thanks to Russ N, our first-ever housemate, who helped with website know-how (4 years after moving out)! Thanks also to Magda S, a more recent housemate, who helped edit content and was one of the first people to agree to be a contributor to this blog. Thanks to Phil, for his continued assistance in always improving Our Place and being a sounding board for ideas and more. And last but not least, thanks to every person who has stepped through our door, as a housemate or a friend, you are the secret ingredient to the magic of Our Place.