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How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

Colchester, United...
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How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

Hi all,

I'm spending my summer working in NYC on a pretty slim wage and so I'm trying to save as much money as possible before I leave. Basically I'm stuck on the amount I should be estimating for my food allowance.. I've read so many posts on here all saying different things, one even said you need to allow $100 a day for food!! I've been to the city before and never spent that in a day but just want some clarification please.

My accommodation only has a microwave and fridge so I should be able to make my own pack lunch. So I'm spending 3 months in the city would $2770 be realistic for food for the duration? That is based on,

Breakfast: $3

Lunch: $10

Dinner: $20

Is this realistic or do I need to start working 12 hour shifts :)


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1. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

Thats really high! You can eat for a couple of dollars a day.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

Hey Katie! Despite NYC's expensive rep, food can be almost as cheap as living anywhere else. Your biggest issue will be not having an oven or range, so cooking at home will be tough. But even getting takeout can be affordable. Today I had a bacon/egg/cheese sandwich for breakfast at $4 (in Queens) and 3 tacos from my local taco cart for dinner at $7.50 total. I think $20/day is doable. But keep in mind, that price doesn't allow for much going out to cool restaurants or food splurges. $20/day is a fairly blue-collar food budget, but an achievable one. Shop at bodegas and cheap grocers, pack your lunches, get cheap takeout, and you can get by for only $2000 for the summer if you are so inclined.




Portland, Maine
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3. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

You'll discover that although cooked food is subject to sales tax, uncooked food is not. Here's the NY State list of what food is, and is not, subject to sales tax:


London, United...
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4. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

Having a fridge means that breakfast should be even cheaper than that. Get some cereal and milk, and you'll have a weeks breakfasts for around $5-7 depending what you buy.

Colchester, United...
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5. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

Thank you all for your help!!

Phew looks like I can survive in the city without living on water and crackers. Although I'll still try and save a little more so I can eat in some cool restaurants.

Shawnito15 your instgram account is amazing, I can't wait to visit all those places. And your blog is also very helpful.


Dallas, Texas...
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6. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

Keep in mind that you'll be tipping 18-20% when eating anywhere with table service.

I think you can survive on $33/day if you are making most of your meals, and getting inexpensive take-out (takeaway). But you are going to be tempted to eat out, and may be tempted to have a drinks out as well. This is especially true if you start making friends (and hopefully you will!).

New York City
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7. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

If you go to the Outer Boroughs instead of Manhattan, food is much cheaper, the rents in Manhattan are sky high and the prices have to be passed along, outer boroughs prices are similar to other parts of the country

Flushing, New York
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8. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

I survive on about $25 a day for food out in Queens and I do not cook at home. Lunches are cheaper than an evening meal and if you can tolerate it, eat your major meal at noon and snack in the evening. The Dallas BBQ chain specializes in moderately priced chicken dinners and other items, and has several locations in Manhattan. They have a lunch special of two meals of 1/2 chicken, potato, corn bread, and chicken soup for about $10. There is also the Chipotle chain and others offering economical food.

Restaurants in NYC are required to display their menus with prices at the outside entrance so no one is "surprised" once they get inside.

9. Re: How much do I need for my Summer in NYC?

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