Please tell me about urban frugal living - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-13-2005, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have recently moved to NYC. I am a CDing, homeschooling momma of two boys. It is sooooooooo materialistic here. I am hoping that someone can share ideas about how to live frugal in large cities. any advice would be great or even websites.

tThanks mammas
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Old 07-13-2005, 03:57 AM
 
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Here are a few first thoughts on living frugally in New York City:

Go to things that are free/cheap, which are plentiful in New York, like free concerts and movies in the parks in the summer; realize that most of the museums are suggested donation, not a required admission; playgrounds and libraries are great.

I've been working hard to get our grocery budget down, but I feel we're doing pretty well now. I shop a bit farther away from me because the grocery stores near me are either disgusting or very expensive. I make a point of making dinner one night into lunch the next day or two. The farmer's market in Union Square has been very useful for this. Trader Joe's is supposed to be opening a store in Un. Sq. soon too.

New Yorkers tend to be great at economizing space, and teaches/requires you to keep less "stuff," which can lead to frugal long-term habits.

Look for frugal-minded others. I've actually found NYC friends to be less materialistic than relatives in the suburbs, but it depends on the particular crowd of people. Some places I love are Real Birth (AP-oriented mom's meetings and such) and API (Attachment Parenting International).

We have absolutely fantastic thrift stores where people get rid of really really nice stuff. You can also look on Freecycle, where people give away many things for free.

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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Old 07-15-2005, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply.
Tell me more about Real birth and those fantastic thruft stores you are speaking of? :
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Old 07-16-2005, 11:31 PM
 
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I am in Toronto, we take advantage of public transit. We don't own a car at all. Total cost for transportation for our family per month is about $110.00 Canadian. Thrift stores and second hand shops abound.

NewYork has freecycle and the craigslist, both wicked ways to save on things you buy/need and get rid of things you don't.
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Old 07-17-2005, 12:54 AM
 
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We moved to Los Angeles about a year and a half ago and I also have struggled with living frugally in a big city. Some things we do are:
1) We have one car (a hybrid)
2) A lot of museums (and I know this is true in New York as well) offer free admission after certain hours or on certain days of the month
3) I personally try to buy mostly organic which can get expensive but if something is on sale I'll stock up and freeze what I can.
4) Comparison shop for services--ex: internet access providers often vary in price

The biggest thing that has helped for me is realizing how much we really do have. I find I have to remind myself of this fairly often. It can be hard to constantly hear people talk about their vacation homes and personal yoga instructors when we are still renting with no hopes of owning any time soon. Hang in there and enjoy NYC. Your childrens lives will be so enriched by living among such diversity. Oh and we found an awesome chair off of craigs list. So there is another vote for that website.

Enjoying the journey into natural family living with my two sons and husband.
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Old 07-18-2005, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys- we had a great freecycle in New Orleans so I love freecycle. I guess what I am getting at is the idea that most parents or nannies give in to what their children want and just "pay them off" from what I can see. For example, my 4 year old and 16 mo old often share a juice or split a snack, but lately my 4 year sees kids ordering for themselves things that they don't even finish at the Barnes and Noble cafe- We bring our lunch and snacks most places except on days when I cannot carry everything, but I just want to raise children who apprecaite what they have and care about the earth and are not wasteful KWIM?

I love NYC, we lived here before children, but we have no backyard and our neighborhood playground sucks- I guess I want to have a garden, hang my laundry etc. but space and rules and regulations are a definite problem.

Just ranting.....
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Old 07-18-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, I was off visiting relatives. What thrift stores kinda depends on your neighborhood. I frequent the Salvation Army on 8th street btwn. 6th and 7th avenues and more commonly, the St. Luke's Thrift Shop on Hudson Street.

You can see Real Birth's web site at www.realbirth.com. I like the people I've met there, but their classes can sometimes be expensive. I choose the ones that dd and I like the best and pay for those.

They also have a bulliten board where free groups and such post their events, like the Holistic Moms group that meets in Central Park (I've heard good things, but haven't made their meeting) and the Attachment Parenting International group, which does not charge for their meetings. There's one tomorrow (Tuesday 7/19), in fact, at Earth Matters (177 Ludlow Street) from 10am to 12pm. Maybe I'll see you there!

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:10 AM
 
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One good thing about being submersed in a culture like NYC where your kids see other kids having "too much"... they will learn to appreciate what they have, and they will learn what they actally need!!

I am a PT nanny for a 1 1/2 year old, and when we go out for lunch (rare) we share everything and drink ice water with lemon. She doen'st know the difference, yet, but she is learning how great sharing is, and how the extra money can be spent or saved.

That is what dh and I are actually excited about with our (upcoming, 11/7/05!) daughter. We live in a really nice neighborhood in Long Beach CA, in a tiny tiny little apartment, but we love the beautiful surroundings! We'd rather live simply and enjoy the ocean, parks, and neighbors. We have learned and adapted to sharning meals, bringing snacks, and not wasting. We are so excited to teach our baby!! We kind of think of it as a respectful way to live... not in excess.

It might get tough for you, and frusturating, but when you do enjoy the moments, let your kids know you are enjoying it! (I even told the little girl one day, when another little kid was eating a hot dog and soda: See, we are eating yummy healthy food that will make us so strong, that poor kid has to eat a hot dog we shared a veggie and cheese sandwich)

Have fun in NYC, i love visiting that town!!
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