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Everything You Need to Know About the Cost of Living in Manhattan

Everything You Need to Know About the Cost of Living in Manhattan

Ah, Manhattan: there’s nothing quite like it. One of the most desirable places to live in the entire world, it’s what most people think of when they think of New York City.

But, as you might expect, living in Manhattan isn’t cheap. In fact, the cost of living in Manhattan is the highest in the United States.

But let’s say that you want to try to make it work. How much would you really be looking at spending on a yearly basis? Put simply, it’s complicated.

So, to give you a better picture of the costs, we’re going to discuss the specifics below. Let’s go!


As you might expect, housing in Manhattan is expensive. This is true whether you’re renting or buying. We’ll get into the details of both options below.


The average rent price in Manhattan at the moment is a staggering $4,072 a month. Note, though, that there are much cheaper and much more expensive rentals available out there.

Depending on the area of Manhattan that you’re looking in, you can find some studios for as cheap as $1,300 a month. Note, however, that at this price, your apartment is going to be extremely small.

As far as max rent goes, the sky is the limit. There are highrise apartments exceeding $15,000 a month, for example.


As far as home/condo prices in Manhattan go, the median price is approximately $725,000. Note, however, that you can find some small residences for as little as $350,000.

When it comes to the most expensive properties in Manhattan, the figures are almost shocking. The most expensive residence in Manhattan sold for $238 million in 2019.


The utility costs in Manhattan are just about the same as you’ll find in other parts of New York state. Average utility costs run around $273 a month and include electricity, gas, and water. Internet usually runs around $60 a month.

Note, however, that the size of your residence will have a large impact on your overall costs. The smaller your apartment is, the less you’ll spend on heating and cooling, and the lower your energy bills will be.


If you’re living in Manhattan, you’re more than likely not going to be traveling by car. While this is a possibility, it’s extraordinarily expensive: parking alone costs an average of $570 a month.

What you’ll likely be doing is traveling via the public transit system. This includes the subway and bus system and costs around $125 a month for unlimited riding.


Generally speaking, buying food in Manhattan is extremely expensive. This is so not only in grocery stores but at restaurants as well.

See, delivering food to establishments in Manhattan is a struggle. It’s such a struggle that food companies must spend an exceedingly high amount of money in order to do it. These high costs are, as you might expect, passed on to the customer.

When it comes to high costs at restaurants, leasing rates, and employee wages are the culprit. Renting a commercial space costs more in Manhattan, as does the paying of employees. Again, these costs are handed over to the customer.

For this reason, the average Manhattanite spends around $475 a month on groceries, and as much as double what the rest of the country does on dining.


As you probably know, there is an endless list of things to do in Manhattan and in the surrounding boroughs. You can go to a sporting event, hit the beach, hang out in the park, dine out in a variety of restaurants, drink at a bevy of bars, and more. As such, depending on the types of things you like to do, you could end up spending a lot or a little on recreation.

As far as hard numbers go, we’ll provide you with a few examples. They include the following.

Sporting Events

If you’re catching a baseball game, you’re likely to pay somewhere between $30 and $60. Yankees games are more expensive than Mets games, though prices for each fluctuate greatly.

NBA games tend to be more expensive than MLB games. Whereas Nets games go for around $90 per ticket, Knicks games for almost $200 per ticket.

As far as the NFL goes, a Jets game costs around $95 per ticket, and a Giants game costs around $190 per ticket.

You can also see an NHL game. The average Rangers tickets are available for around $200. The average Islanders tickets are available for around $150 per ticket.


There are tons of musicals and shows to see in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. Some of these shows are on the cheap side. Others are extremely expensive.

The most expensive theater shows in New York are Broadway shows. The average ticket to a Broadway show costs around $125. In contrast, you might be able to catch a small, independent production for as little as $15.

Alcoholic Beverages

A night at the bar in Manhattan is far from cheap. Whereas standard lite beers like Bud Light and Coors Light go for between $6 and $8 per glass, craft beers frequently sell for $10 and more. As far as cocktails go, you can expect to pay anywhere from $12 to $20, depending on the bar and on the drink.

As such, a typical night out can cost anywhere from $25 to $100 and maybe even more.


While there are plenty of outdoor areas in which to exercise in Manhattan, you might be interested in joining a gym. If so, you’ll be glad to hear that there are a number of options to consider, and they span a variety of prices.

The cheapest gym in Manhattan is probably Planet Fitness. You can get a Planet Fitness membership for around $10 a month.

See Also

The typical Manhattan gym will cost somewhere between $30 and $100 a month. You can find something near you at any of the prices in this range. You just need to browse and look for the best deals in your area.

Tips for Living in Manhattan

As you can see, living in Manhattan isn’t cheap. As such, if you’re going to do it, you need to be strategic in your spending. Here are some tips to utilize when it comes to living in New York.

Have Some Money Saved Up

Thinking about moving to Manhattan without anything in your savings account? We advise against it. Because the cost of living is so high in Manhattan, the margin of error on spending is extremely thin.

You could easily overspend your intended budget when your first arrive, as it can take some time to get your bearings straight. Having money saved up is imperative, as it gives you a little something to fall back on.

You don’t need to have a lot. As a general rule, aim for around $3,000. This should be enough to skirt you along for a month or so.

Find Work Early

As was just noted, living in Manhattan can drive a bank balance down at rapid speed. Therefore, unless you have a boatload of money saved up, you should start looking for work as soon as possible after you’ve moved in. Ideally, you’ll have a job lined up before the move.

A good many people get by in New York by working several jobs as a bartender or a server or a warehouse worker. The quicker you can find these jobs, the more quickly you can bring in income, and the more stable you’ll be in the long run.

Live With Roommates

You may have a dream of living in a studio apartment on your own. Depending on the circumstances, that might be a possibility. Note, though, that there is a less expensive way to live in Manhattan; namely, you can live with roommates.

Living with roommates can reduce your monthly rent substantially. Some New Yorkers go to extremes with this, piling as many as 6 people into a 3-bedroom apartment.

It might not be the most comfortable living, but it definitely helps to save money. And in a place where everything is expensive, that extra money can make a world of difference.


Unless you have a lot of money to spend on housing, your residence is likely going to be on the small side. As such, you likely won’t be able to take all of your possessions with you.

So, before making the move, be sure to downsize as much as possible. Only take the things that you absolutely need and try to sell everything else.

Don’t Let the Cost of Living in Manhattan Keep You Away

Yes, Manhattan is an extremely expensive place to live. But that doesn’t mean that you should let the cost of living in Manhattan keep you away. If you have a dream of living in New York’s central borough, you can make it work; it will just require a little more effort and perseverance.

Searching for cost-of-living info on other areas in the US? If so, our website has you covered. Check out some of our related articles now!

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