Poor in New York: Where to Find Deals

Yesterday was a great day.

I enjoyed a free cupcake from Crumbs Bakery, and then dined on $1 fries from Pomme Frites in the East Village. Last weekend, I grabbed a $15 brunch with friends that included two Bloody Marys, and in the near future I’ll be partaking in a “wine night.” What do all of these things have in common, you ask? Besides food (oh how I love food), all of these activities involve some sort of deal. So without further ado: Here are five great ways to save a buck or two while living in New York City… or really anywhere.

1) Do Your Research
“Hey Brit, let’s get some drinks at so-and-so!”
I then Google search so-and-so restaurant. $17 drinks and no happy hour?
“Hey girl – let’s not.”

Okay, sometimes you’re going to splurge. But on the average, I don’t like paying more than $7 for my drinks - and even then I cringe a little. So here’s a tip: If you haven’t heard of a restaurant or bar, look up the menu first. You will be shocked at some places prices, particularly in cities like New York, DC, LA, etc. Use Yelp, Urbanspoon, and restaurant’s websites to explore just how much you might be spending before you agree to a paycheck thrashing.

2) Know Your Apps
While research is great, more often than not you’re going to find savings on the go. We don’t usually think about a way to save money until we realize we’re about to spend money. Hence, the smart phone. But a cellular isn’t so clever without a quick-thinking user. Below are a few apps that might just make you brilliant:

Foursquare - “Check in” to a place you visit on this website, and sometimes you will find a discount waiting.
Scoutmob - This relatively new app is only in the large cities as of yet, but its scrolling list of deals for 50-100% off got me my free fries this evening. And you don’t have to buy the deals! Plus you can send pictures of yourself looking like a mobster with a mustache to friends. Get it? Scoutmob. Love it.
Yelp - As mentioned before, apps like Yelp will help give you a price range of your favorite restaurants. Living Social and Groupon are two other coupon-like apps, usually with a purchase price for a deal that can be used over a certain period of time.

 Free fries from Pommes Frites... Delectable with a Pesto sauce.

So the next time you don’t know where to go with a friend for dinner, scroll through your apps and find the best deal. Ta da! Your meal is served.

3) “Follow” Companies You “Like”
“Following” companies on Twitter or “Liking” organizations on Facebook can definitely lead to a few perks. For example, yesterday I got a free cupcake because I donated a children’s book to Crumbs Bakery. I originally learned about this event on Twitter from a coworker, but then forgot the details. So I looked the bakery up on Facebook and verified the event. Thank you social media! 

 My free cupcake, which gave me quite the sugar high.

To avoid getting overly inundated with advertisement-like messages on your Facebook and Twitter, make sure you only follow the companies you really enjoy or pages that you truly find useful.

4) Know the Turf
When you find a deal, keep it in mind for life! Explore the city and learn the cheap options in each neighborhood. This way, when you’re out and about, you won’t accidently spend your entire paycheck on a burger and fries. Make note of your finds mentally, or type them into your phone. Google Maps even let’s you drop “pins” on its virtual map so you can remember the places you’ve visited in the past.

5) Use Your Friends…
… for fun. Don’t forget to throw a wine night, holiday soirée, or birthday bash at someone’s apartment. Bars are great, but no matter where you go, the spending quickly adds up. BYOB and potluck dinners are fabulous money savers and can be more fun than a night out on the town. Why you ask? Because there’s no long trip home at 2am.

Humm... Let's see if we can find you a deal, yes?