Shop Like Scrooge, Live Like a Hipster: Tricks to Save Big in NYC

Shopping and looking stylish in New York City doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg–there are tricks to saving big in NYC. From decadent chic fashions at thrift stores to finding cool art, clothing, furniture, and books when people move, here’s how New Yorkers thrive and dive for buried treasures!

Tricks to Save Big: Find Cool Clothing at Thrift Stores

Want to know how to find designer clothes at New York City thrift stores? Looking effortless is easy in the Big Apple. New York has all kinds of thrift stores you can peruse. A great reason to check them out is you can save money on gently used clothing. Another reason to shop in thrift stores is you can buy designer hand-me-downs.

To help you find all kinds of hipster bargains and urban chic designer wear, head to any Salvation Army or Housing Works location. Hipsters prefer chic-wear and tailored clothes.

Other stores include:

  • Angel Street Thrift Shop – in Chelsea
  • Mother of Junk – in Williamsburg
  • AuH20 Thriftique – in the East Village
  • Monk Vintage Thrift Shop – in Williamsburg
  • Beacon’s Closet – in the East Village
  • Vintage Thrift West – in the West Village
  • Buffalo Exchange – in the East Village
  • Vintage Thrift Shop – Gramercy Location
  • Cure Thrift Shop – in the East Village
  • Crossroads Trading Company – in Williamsburg
  • Goodwill – Multiple locations

You’ll find really cool designer threads if you wait until the end of the year. That’s when a lot of New Yorkers make their end-of-year donations. Prices are often cheap at thrift stores. T-shirts, jeans, and dresses might be a few dollars. Check all sweaters for holes and odors. Look for hip jackets and coats at the end of the year, too. That’s when everyone’s cleaning out their fall closet.

High-end thrift stores in the Village have the best designer clothing. You’ll also find great duds in Chelsea. The problem is the prices are a lot higher. Keep in mind that if you find a Chloe dress or Chanel bag, you’re going to spend a few hundred dollars on it at a thrift store. And, they won’t bargain on price.

It’s New York City. Forget about it!

Tricks to Save Big in NYC

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Get Cool Free Stuff — The Best Way to Save Big in NYC

Want to know how to find free stuff in New York? Shopping for free stuff in Manhattan is easy when you use Craigslist.

People will post free items on Craigslist under “Free.” A drawback is if it’s a heavy item like an air conditioner or sofa. They might be in a walk-up apartment with no elevator.

In order to score great finds, use the following tips:

  • Keep a man with a van’s phone number handy if you find something you want to pick up the same day.
  • Have cash for your transaction and write up a receipt.
  • Confirm the person will sell only to you and try to arrive as quickly as possible. They’ll still get calls from other potential shoppers. You don’t want anyone offering more money than you. (It happens a lot in New York.)
  • Double-check if it’s a walk-up or elevator building. Ask if it’s a brownstone with external steps.
  • Be careful with large items like sofas. Measure these to ensure they fit in the elevator and through door frames.
    Tricks to Save Big in NYC

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Save on Broadway and Off-Broadway Shows

Want to know how to save on theater tickets? There are several ways to score tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway shows.

Here are a few tips:

  • Try “will call” at the box office.
  • Check Craigslist for ticket sales (but avoid scalpers).
  • Look for people outside the theater that want to give away a free ticket. This happens if someone they invited is sick or can’t get out of work.
  • Check Craigslist for free tickets the same night of a show. Again, this happens if a person is sick and now they don’t want to attend. It can also happen if the weather’s bad and people are coming in from out of town.
  • To avoid fake tickets, always ask the person to meet you at the box office to confirm they’re real. If they say no, the tickets might be fake.
  • You can also check StubHub and TicketMaster for tickets.
  • Try Goldstar. This site has all kinds of tickets to shows in New York City. But, compare prices online to ensure you get the best deal.
    Tricks to Save Big in NYC

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Eat at the Best Restaurants

Want to eat cheap at the best New York City restaurants? Okay, so some restaurants may never offer discounts. But, a cool way to eat like a king or queen is to check out Restaurant Week.

Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week is when New York restaurants may create a pre-fixe menu. The prices are dramatically reduced and you can enjoy some of the best restaurant deals all over Manhattan.

Produced by NYC & Company, there are over 380 restaurants that participate. They might offer two-course or three-course pre-fixe meals. The prices can range from $26 for lunch to $42 for dinner. It usually runs from the last week in July until the third week in August. Do a search online a few weeks ahead of time to make your reservations.

Online Food Deals

Other ways to enjoy great NYC eateries on the cheap include:

  • Check the websites for discount days. Some restaurants have midweek discounts.
  • Look for Groupon deals in Manhattan on restaurants. You can find deals around Valentine’s Day that you might be able to use any time of the year. Read the fine print.
  • Look for soft sell openings. Some restaurants will have an unofficial opening at lower prices. They’re gearing up for the big crowds and want to have a dry run for new wait staff.
    Tricks to Save Big in NYC

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Save at the Movies

Want to save money on New York City movies? Now that Movie Pass is changing their prices again, there are other ways to save on movies.

Here are a few tips:

  • Check online for discount days. Most theaters offer a matinee price before 5 or 6 p.m. Other theaters offer discounts only on Tuesdays.
  • Check on Groupon or Living Social for BOGO deals or packages that include two tickets and popcorn.
  • Look on Craigslist. Sometimes people have extra movie passes they can’t use.
Tricks to Save Big in NYC

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Save on Groceries

Want to know how to save money on groceries in New York? A New York hipster’s gotta eat, right? Services like Peapod, Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and Fresh Direct will give you about $20 off your first order and free delivery.

Other incentives might include free deliveries for a month or $5 coupons they send to you. Always leave a few items in the online shopping carts. This can sometimes generate a new coupon code for $5 off to win you back.

Find Chic Cheap and Free Furniture

Want to know how to find free furniture in New York? A benefit to living in New York City is someone is always moving. At the end of the month, people move out. And, new leases start the first of the month.

In the winter months, people move less frequently because it’s too icy and cold. Spring, summer, and fall are best because a lot of students are moving in and out. You can find a plethora of great furnishings curbside in any neighborhood. Why? People are moving and might be downsizing. They also might be moving out of state or out of the country.

So, is the stuff good? You’d be surprised. In New York City, when people move, they’ll run an ad in Craigslist and try to sell their things. But, not everything gets sold. Potential buyers may not want to haggle over price. And, buyers might not want to climb up a six-story walk-up. That means on moving day the person usually throws out what they can’t sell. Where does it go?

Right in front of their building with the trash and recycling.

People have found all kinds of CDs, records, books, electronics, lamps, fans, and other household items. There’s also a lot of larger and heavier items that you might need help with.

Here are a few tips to help you:

  • It’s common to find couches, mattresses, chairs, air conditioners, artwork, and TVs. Never leave what you find if you want it. Someone else will likely pick it up. For larger pieces of furniture, you can ask anyone on the street to help you. Chances are, they will for a smile or a few bucks.
  • Inspect everything before you bring it home. Check for bugs or damage. Look for odors or stains. With electronic items like TVs or air conditioners, unfortunately, you won’t know if they’re working until you plug them in.
  • Get a shopping cart that folds for small items that you find.
  • For heavy furniture like a sofa, hire a man with a van on Craigslist. That’s usually the cheapest. Most New Yorkers keep the phone numbers for a few local movers in case they find a great deal or a curbside freebie.
    Tricks to Save Big in NYC

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Huge Savings with Gently Used Furniture at Thrift Stores

Want to find cheap furniture in New York? Ways to get furniture cheap in NYC is to check in the thrift stores that sell furniture. Not all of them do because they don’t have the room.

So, what can you find? Sectional sofas, lounge chairs, old artwork, and dressers.

Most thrift stores will not carry beds or futons due to the high risk of bed bugs. If you are in need of a bed or futon that pulls out into a bed, check Craigslist. This brings us to our next point.

Enjoy the Best Activities in New York

Want to know how to enjoy New York City for free? Want to attend an art museum or gallery in New York for free? Living a hipster lifestyle means you want to check out the coolest activities. And, New York doesn’t disappoint.

With tons of great ways for you to enjoy Manhattan, here are a few free activities you might enjoy:

  • Walk, jog or bike over the Brooklyn Bridge. The views are spectacular and you can go at your own pace.
  • Head to Battery Park to view the city skyline. There are ferries to Liberty Island to view the Statue of Liberty there.
  • Enjoy free movies, Broadway performances, and other events in Bryant Park. Look online for their calendar of events all year long.
  • Visit Central Park and take a leisure stroll around the lake. You can also bring a picnic lunch, weather permitting.
  • If you’re a student, check online for free days at New York City museums.
  • Head to the library. On the hottest days, if you can’t hit the beach, the library always has the AC turned up.
  • Checkout Chelsea art galleries that might have free days. Try Pace Gallery, Gagosian Gallery or David Zwirner.
  • Look for SummerStage free events and the Summer HD Festival at the Met.
  • Attend Shakespeare in the Park in the warmer months.
  • Tour High Line Park. It’s scenic and provides wonderful skyline and architectural views.
    Chelsea NYC

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