As you may have guessed, I’m now a resident of New York City. It’s been a crazy summer working and saving up for this journey but I’m so excited to get started on this new adventure. There isn’t a foolproof way to move here but I figured I’d write out how I worked, saved and planned it out.

Scouting Trip: It’s no secret I needed a huge life change, but I needed to be smart about it. Before I booked a flight to NYC for good, I booked a weeklong trip in April to explore different neighborhoods. I made sure to research which neighborhoods (or pockets of neighborhoods) I could afford. I took into account what I found on craigslist, friends’ advice, and various other online resources that helped jumpstart my research. I treated each day as if it was my day off during a busy work week. I looked for my morning coffee, local shops and great places to eat. I also kept track of my spending to make sure I truly had an idea about how expensive my day-to-day life would be.

This trip kicked my ass, I destroyed a pair of shoes and had blisters all over my feet, I sweat like crazy and was exhausted and deflated once I got home. This isn’t exactly what you would hear from someone who then ended up moving but when I left for that trip I was fully prepared to keep my mind open to the idea that I may back out. In fact, I hadn’t even spent a night in the city before!

It sounds illogical, but something about New York made me want to come back and make it my home. I then began to make the first steps in this process. It involved several hours researching every possible resource not just from the internet, but friends and family.

Summer Work: The restaurant I work at didn’t open until 3pm so I never worked weekday lunch shifts. I took advantage of my mornings and started dog walking using the site Rover. I was shocked that I hadn’t thought of this already, I could have been doing this for years and making thousands!

I picked up extra shifts at my restaurant job, especially in the busy summer season. I organized my money in a smart way and made sure I wasn’t overworking myself.

My Summer Saving Rules:

I’ve talked before about how I opened up an account that I used just for saving to travel. Now I’ve used that same account as a “Save Up for NYC” account. I started to make my own savings plan.

Any money I made from dog walking, I would put straight into my “NYC” account. Any income after I paid my bills and rent would go into this account as well. I was relentless about how many shifts it would take to meet my basic needs, and wouldn’t let myself stray away from the following rules.

  • All tips from the first 8 shifts of the month + Paychecks: Rent and Bills
  • After two weeks: $100 from each night was put into NYC account
  • Any additional shifts besides my usual 4/week: NYC account
  • Any more than the $100/night was used for fun, my SF trip, Vegas trip, going out to dinner etc.
    (Tips=$180, $80=fun money)

Finding Balance: I know I could have skipped my trips to San Francisco and Vegas. I also know that I could have put those extra few dollars right into savings but I wanted enjoy my last summer on the West coast with my friends and family. It was about balance and making sure that I had enough to support myself for a while in New York, but also make sure I didn’t regret leaving Seattle without a last hurrah. I had always lived in the Pacific Northwest and besides traveling for long periods of time. I left for my trips with an intent of returning back home.

August and Beyond: My wonderful, amazing friends were nice enough to let me crash in their guest room for the month of August. That way I could move out of my apartment nice and early so I wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of moving out and then fly to New York immediately This was HANDS DOWN the best decision I had made throughout this whole process, Moving out was stressful and as expected as I grossly underestimated how much crap I had accumulated over the past two years living on my own in a spacious one-bedroom apartment. I sold what I could, gave away what I couldn’t and shlepped everything else to my parents’ house.

Besides the logistical and sanity-related reasons, I also saved $1,000+ in rent and bills for that last month. That money went straight into the NYC account.

Hopefully this helps someone who is thinking about moving to New York city, or anywhere that seems impossible  to make it. I know that it helped me to have a plan in place and goals to focus on and all I can do now is trust my gut and move forward.