New York City is a prime destination for tourism and living. The social life, career opportunities and bragging rights can’t be beat! But the first year after moving to NYC can be really rough, especially if you move here without doing a little homework first or have friends in the city to turn to for advice. After all, there isn’t an NYC 101 class you can take.

“Before moving to NYC I wished I knew that making and keeping friends would not be easy. I wish I knew that getting and staying employed would not be easy. But most of all I wish I knew that someone would have told me ahead of time that Joe’s Pizza is the best damn pizza in the city.”

Varun Ramprasad, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

So the team at Roomi has created a list of super helpful things to know before moving to NYC with real, honest and handy tips from Roomi customers who already made the big move. Read up and be ready for everything NYC has to offer with these tips and tricks to save money, have fun, and stay sane in one of the coolest places on Earth.

“Before I moved to NYC I wished I knew that the dating scene can be exhausting due to all the options!”

Fausto Matta, Baltimore, MD

1. If you’re moving to NYC, you should know the rent is insane.

“Before I moved to NYC I wished I knew that Manhattan rental prices and spaces weren’t the average and weren’t the only option. Now I live in a Brooklyn apartment double (maybe even triple) the size that costs $300 less per month. Face palm.”

Sibabalwe Mona, Johannesburg, South Africa

If there was an NYC 101, this would be the first lesson. The average rent in the Big Apple is $3,105. A two bedroom averages $3,407 and a one bedroom goes for $2,730. You might also have to deal with the infamous broker fees which may not exist where you come from. Rent prices will definitely be one of the hardest things to overcome if you live in New York City.

“Rent is so expensive. If you’re an adult in your late 20’s you’ll probably still need a roommate! Save as much as you can since each move costs so much!”

Abby Salgado, Houston, Texas

But it’s not all bad. Some places are more affordable than others and good deals do exist. Check out this article to learn more about the rent scene in each of the five boroughs. Staten Island might surprise you with its affordability compared to the Bronx, where rents are rising faster than you could believe.

“Before I moved to NYC I wished I knew that I should have moved to a less desirable neighborhood that still offered an affordable rent. I had the chance to move to an amazing apartment in Bedstuy 12 years ago but chose not to because the area was kinda gritty. The rent was reaaaaally affordable but I passed and regret it to this day.”

Stacey Walters, New Orleans, LA

2. The cost of moving and living in NYC is nuts.

“Before I moved to NYC I wished I knew that it’s not like the movies. It’s VERY competitive. Commutes home can be up to an hour even if you don’t live far. Everything really is expensive. Negotiate your salary hard!”

Abby Salgado, Houston, Texas

NYC has some of the highest income tax rates in the country at 7%-12% and a cost of living 68.8% higher than the national average. Rent is so high, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. Don’t let that happen to you or the cost living will leap out of a side alley, tackle you on your way home from work and run off with your fun money.

“Keep your expectations in check – a lot of regular things here are astronomically priced (like rent and movie tickets) and not everything is common (like washer and dryers in the units and closets that fit adult clothes!).”

Whitney Williams, Chicago, Illinois

Planning a budget and sticking to it is important in any city, but that goes quadruple for New York. Which brings us to our next point . . .

3. If you’re moving to NYC, roommates are a requirement.

“Be prepared to hustle. Rent goes up every year for most people. And sometimes your job salary doesn’t go up with it. My rent only costs me 1/3 of my monthly paycheck after taxes but I also have roommates to cut costs. If I didn’t have roommates I would not be able to survive in a studio, let alone an apartment without roommates.”

Kayla Preston, Maryland

Because it’s so expensive, a roommate should be treated as non-optional. Water, shelter, food, roommate. That’s NYC 101. Those are the four requirements of any New York City Survival Guide. But this is actually good news! You moved to one of the biggest, most awesome cities in the world because you enjoy being around people. Maybe it’s social, or perhaps for you, it’s strictly business. A blend of motivations is pretty common. Regardless of what drives you, there are many reasons, financially, socially and for your career, why NYC is the best place to have roommates.

“The best advice I was given & would give to someone else moving to NYC is to move to Brooklyn. Everybody commutes, so don’t confine yourself to neighborhoods close to work if they don’t fit your budget and lifestyle.”

Sibabalwe Mona, Johannesburg, South Africa

4. Don’t experience the city alone.

“Always get a roommate for your first apartment in this city. Sign and notarize a roommate agreement regarding expectations, rules and consequences for breaking the agreement. Submit this agreement to your landlord along with your lease. It will give you peace of mind.”

Stacey Walters, New Orleans, LA

If saving money on rent and experiencing NYC in all its glorified awesomeness isn’t enough to motivate you to find yourself a partner in crime, then think of your health. Studies have shown that living alone can shorten your lifespan. It shouldn’t come as a big shock, people are social by nature!

That said, being independent offers unique life experiences. Like investigating that weird sound in the kitchen at night armed with a cardboard tube and protected by little more than Ninja Turtle underpants… Only to find out it was just a massive leak ruining the floor. What a relief. But a little independence goes a long way for city living. So take a dip into that lifestyle, it’s good for you. Just don’t be SO independent that you find yourself without a community and support group here in the city. If there’s anything you can take away from this NYC 101 lesson, it’s this point!

5. You know what cars and bedbugs have in common? They both suck in NYC.

“Before I moved to NYC I wished I knew that having a car wasn’t worth the parking tickets!”

Whitney Williams, Chicago, Illinois

You seriously don’t even need a car in NYC, that’s a very important lesson of NYC 101. The public transit system and your own two legs can get you to all kinds of places and wherever there’s a gap, there’s a taxi ready to serve. You don’t want to get stuck choosing between (legal) parking fees and eating out. And pay attention, renegades in the crowd . . . entire career paths have been built around the art of dispensing parking tickets in this town. It’s just not worth it.

“Before I moved to New York City I wish I knew about mattress protectors. There wasn’t really too much about New York City that I wasn’t expecting, except for an unfortunate experience of having bed bugs when I first moved to New York City! I had to throw everything out. The only thing that I could save with my clothes after washing them three times.”

Kayla Preston, Maryland

Bed bugs in NYC are beyond gross. It’s bad enough they are disgusting, vile, spawns of evil. They are also resilient, tough to see, and oh yeah, mutating. In New York, it’s going to get crowded. So, you will brush shoulders with all kinds of people. But some of them could make your evening or your career. Others you won’t so be thrilled about. So while you might be tempted, for perfectly reasonable reasons, to snag that “free sofa” on the side of the road… just don’t!

6. There are actually lots of affordable things to do in NYC.

“The best advice I was given & would give to someone else moving to NYC is to move to Brooklyn. Everybody commutes, so don’t confine yourself to neighborhoods close to work if they don’t fit your budget and lifestyle.”

Sibabalwe Mona, Johannesburg, South Africa

With so much doom and gloom about the cost of living and rent, you’ll be happy to know that NYC has a ton of cheap stuff to do. This is the fun section of NYC 101! Check out this article for free and affordable activities, including parks for you crazy outdoor active types, cheap and delicious eats for the foodies, plus museums, galleries and music concerts for our hipsters in the crowd. Saving money isn’t as hard as you might think either. You can save on energy bills with these 5 energy saving tips for renters.

7. Watch out for scams.

You will graduate NYC 101 they day you learn to recognize all the weird little scams in New York City. Online scams, shady brokers, and opportunistic bottom feeders are not, contrary to some gritty movies, the majority of the population in NYC. There are plenty of great people to get to know. But. sneaky scammers are out there. They want your money and they are pretty flexible with how they acquire it.

So stay enthusiastic about moving to the Big Apple, because it really is one of the coolest places on Earth. But just watch out for any shady deals. (If it sounds too good to be true… it might be not be a real deal!) If it helps, Roomi launched a new background check program to help make it even more secure to search for roommates in the city. Safety, background checks and keeping scammers off our site is a big focus for us.

“Use Roomi! That’s how I found my current roommate and it’s been great.”
-Varun Ramprasad, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

We hope these little gems of advice will help you be totally prepared for your big move to NYC. Good luck!

D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers get accustomed to life in New York City? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!