right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Upcoming changes to the way we log in on College Confidential. Read more here.

Monthly Spending Money at NYU (and Meals/Food) ???

viacollegeviacollege 102 replies25 threads Junior Member
edited August 2011 in New York University
1. Because of the wide variety of students and backgrounds at NYU, I've heard MANY different answers to the question "How much do you spend on average a month?"

I've currently guessed about $200 a month, but is this reasonable? I'm a girl so I enjoy clothes every now and then, but I wouldn't spend more than $50 a month on that stuff. The rest I was planning to go for eating out, toiletries, Metrocards (just occasional, not unlimited), and the *occasional* concert/party/event (I like going out, but I'll be very busy). Is $200 too little?


2. Should I get a 175 flex meal plan or a 225 flex meal plan. I was thinking 175 and I'd get the rest of my food elsewhere, esp. since I only have very small breakfasts that I could get for cheap otherwise... but what do you think?


Thanks in advance for any responses, it truly is appreciated!
edited August 2011
25 replies
Post edited by viacollege on
· Reply · Share
«1

Replies to: Monthly Spending Money at NYU (and Meals/Food) ???

  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar 2842 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Freshman year, i gave my D 150.00 every 2 weeks. She manged on that. We paid for books, supplies, etc. Now, some other folks on CC would say they gave a lot more, but we tried to stay
    on budget. The total for the year was approx 3000.00. We also had the 175 flex plan, meals can carry over from week to week.
    · Reply · Share
  • evolvingevolving 1392 replies37 threads Senior Member
    viacollege,

    If you are frugal and budget conscious, $200-300 a month for spending month is certainly doable, especially if you are busy with school work/ studies and if you can take in free or discounted events, i.e., go to dorm or other school sponsored events with free food, discounted entertainment through NYU's Ticket Central. Haha, my S got my hubby and I tics to a meditation workshop for $12/ tic when it normally goes for $285.

    For girls, you do have to watch the clothing budget since NYC has many really enticing shops for clothing. That $50 will not go far, unless you shop in a thrift shop.
    · Reply · Share
  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar 2842 replies27 threads Senior Member
    My daughter loved the thrift stores in Greenwich Village, but they can be pricey too.
    · Reply · Share
  • writestuff54writestuff54 241 replies25 threads Junior Member
    I think the 175 flex is your best bet. You really can do breakfasts less expensively and NYC has lots of great restaurants where you can eat for less than the cost if a meal plan meal.

    On the spending $$$$, D had about $300 per month last year and it was fine. She found great bargains for her shopping urges.
    · Reply · Share
  • evolvingevolving 1392 replies37 threads Senior Member
    writestuff, good evening to you. I want to respond to your pm, but wanted to give it some time since I just returned home from taking care of my mom.

    Well, also, just want to let the new students know it will be great when you get an apt with a kitchen (freshmen in 3rd North will have a kitchen). My son just made his first really healthy pasta dish (haha, sprouted grain pasta, with spinach and organic tomato sauce from Trader Joe's). I let him know he can throw in raw cashews and raw milk cheese for "special effects" (meaning more interest to the dish). Just got word, "mm this is good."

    The point also is you can start making easy dishes or breakfast for yourself. Have boxes of healthy cereal (I recommend Ezekiel sprouted grain cereal with flax seed or original) and Ezekiel sesame seed or raisin and cinnamon bread - the latter has higher glycemic index but not too bad - on hand in the dorm room for snack and breakfast. Take the minimum 175 FLEX plan for freshman year and then plan on going even lower with meals or no plan at all in later years (when you have a kitchen available), if you and your suitemates can do quick, nutritious cooking.
    · Reply · Share
  • MonoclideMonoclide 957 replies15 threads Member
    $200 is very low. I know that I spend anywhere from 500-1200 a month. (Last summer I was doing 1400-1600 a month.) But it really depends on what you buy. You will run into a lot of unexpected expenses. And you will realize that dining food gets terribly boring.

    If you have a kitchen, you'll try to do the whole grocery thing for a week or two. But then you'll realize that you need to actually cook it yourself. And then clean the dishes. If you leave them overnight, you won't do them for a week. And you'll also realize that NYU fridges kill all food. Your food will mold, water will taste funky, and your soda will flatten after a day or two. You'll play around with the settings, but nothing will compare to your fridge at home. (And that's not even taking the cost of ingredients into account-- check out the price of basic spices. My friend and I made dinner once. Cost us $25 each. I could have went out to dinner twice for that amount.)

    Freshman year will be a money drain. You are new to the city. You have tons of exploring to do. And, as many mentioned, you'll find ways around beating real prices.
    · Reply · Share
  • evolvingevolving 1392 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Wow, Monoclide, You are one of the "big spenders" here. I think a few voices drowned out mine when I mentioned S got by with $600/ month, which I had ascertained to be middle of the road for monthly allowance based on my informal survey of monthly allowances mentioned by posters here last year.

    You mentioned some obstacles to cooking. Sorry to hear about problem fridges. Not good news though S has not complained about fridge yet at Coral. He did have to put in a service order for a smoking stove top when he first moved in this summer. Good thing, the suite-mates will split up the chores in the kitchen. Also, S has a friend who loves to cook and want to cook for the guys. How nice is that. :)

    Just for convenience sake, S and his suite-mates want to go with the 75 flex (really the minimum meal plan for upperclassmen or others with a kitchen) during the academic year. However, the suite will work on cooking their own meals for the weekends and making do with their own breakfasts. Working with S on easy recipes and quick salads, cheese and cold cut grilled sandwiches and quesadilas, pasta dishes, ready made protein items (e.g., hard-boiled eggs from grass fed chicken) for meals and snacking. Besides saving with home cooking, there is greater control over the quality of food. S will probably inherit my blender so they can make some healthier juices and smoothies (quick stuff requiring only some chopping). Have to think ahead and budget for food accordingly. I am even encouraging S to order from Amazon for Ezekiel cereal and I will send good quality organic brown rice (Lundberg) for the suite-mates to use (with easy fish/ meat dishes and steamed vegetables to go with rice).

    There are 6 guys. They should be eating well and probably for no more than (if not less than) $11/ meal (NYU pricing) for the meals they will be cooking themselves. It helps that Coral Tower is diagonally across from Trader Joe's which really has unbeatable prices when it comes to organic food items.

    Some time is required but they are dividing up the chores, which helps.
    · Reply · Share
  • writestuff54writestuff54 241 replies25 threads Junior Member
    D is also doing the 75 plan since she is apt. dorm this year. We are squeezing in a few cooking lessons since she is a healthy eater....brown rice, fish, her favorite chicken dishes, etc. She did her own breakfasts last year. Saw a bit on Chopped about Whole Foods prepared meals and they look healthy and convenient. They won't starve!
    · Reply · Share
  • NYU2013NYU2013 1738 replies42 threads Senior Member
    I'm currently living off-campus in a studio apt, so my monthly spending now doesn't count. However, when I was on campus I spent around $200/mo which included transportation + going out. However, I can say that you have to budget that $200. Frequently I would spend ~ $500/mo on things such as shows, movies, going out a lot, etc.
    · Reply · Share
  • evolvingevolving 1392 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Good point, NYU2013,

    You can get by with $200/ month but it requires discipline and a conscious effort to do so since there really is a lot to do and pay for in NYC, if you forget yourself. :)
    · Reply · Share
  • MonoclideMonoclide 957 replies15 threads Member
    Omg, evolving. That sounds delicious! I am living in Gramercy Green with a friend over the summer. We have a meal plan, but we split the costs and use it for ingredients. We cook multiple times a week now, but that's also because we have a dishwasher and a working stove!

    Last summer in Broome Street... The fridge was terrible! I don't think we even stored anything in the fridge, either. Or the cabinets. I really don't remember even thinking of cooking.

    And then UHall was decent with cooking, but the kitchen was so small. Coral is a nice size, though. I can see how cooking works out there. The kitchen area (or at least from the ones I've been in) are open and allow for cooking.

    It is funny because I came home (suburbs) for the weekend. I did a double take on how wide and deep my sink was. I haven't seen anything like it in years!
    · Reply · Share
  • evolvingevolving 1392 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Monoclide,

    You cannot compare a suburban kitchen, especially to NYU dorm kitchens, except Glamercy. Definitely Coral will work out for my son and suite-mates. They got one of the largest suites there, big bedrooms, common area and kitchen almost penthouse level.

    I am working on simple recipes for the guys to try out when they will be cooking for themselves. Where will you be living this coming year? It would be good for you to carry through with your cooking practice now that you have gotten used to getting some meals together. I think you can save and have some pretty yummy food (also to get away from the "sameness" of NYU dining hall food).

    By the way, once you buy the spices, salt, etc., the investment is good for the year. I am gifting some celtic sea salt and organic pepper to S and friends. Celtic sea salt is particularly healthy, though the initial price of stocking up is more expensive. But worth it to eat well and take care of your body, number 1 priority.

    Anyway, happy July 4th. Enjoy the summer!
    · Reply · Share
  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar 2842 replies27 threads Senior Member
    If anyone is interested, there are 2 wonderful cookbooks, dedicated to making delicious, healthy,meals using Trader Joe ingredients. Since Trader Joes is very popular with the Upperclassmen, for it's convenience and relatively affordability. "The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook" and "The Trader Joes Companion: A Portable Cookbook.". The both are great and the latter book is a small pocket one you can take in the store and go down a shopping list to buy the ingredients. Just some info.
    · Reply · Share
  • evolvingevolving 1392 replies37 threads Senior Member
    milkandsugar,

    That is good to know. Will look them up, though I have now gotten 3-4 cookbooks for the guys. Not sure they can go through them all. I will probably read them first and then summarize and pull out the simplest, tastiest ones I can for them.
    · Reply · Share
  • writestuff54writestuff54 241 replies25 threads Junior Member
    Milkandsugar, thanks for the heads up on the cookbooks. D loves Trader Joes!
    · Reply · Share
  • VihzelVihzel 427 replies23 threads Member
    *waves to evolving*

    What is a typical range for students that are living on their own? Is there a cheaper Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Market in Manhattan? I'm going to be living in Chelsea so I will be by both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market. I know Chelsea is more expensive in general but does that translate into the big name supermarkets?

    I'm setting my food budget right now at $600/month ($20/day for 30 days). I could raise it to $750/month ($25/day for 30 days) if needed. The absolute highest would be $900/month though ($30/day for 30 days) as I still have to pay for electric, cable, and internet.
    · Reply · Share
  • evolvingevolving 1392 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Hi, back to you Vihzel, :)

    Wow, you are right. There is a TJ in Chelsea, 6th Ave, between 21st and 22nd Sts. TJ prices are basically the same wherever you are. Though the lines will be longer in Manhattan than in other TJ locations. It is important to select the times for shopping without too many other shoppers and long lines. Whole Foods is also present in various neighborhoods in Manhattan. The prices should be typically Whole Foods prices (which tend to be expensive, no matter the location).

    Your food budget of $600-900 (max) per month for one person should be doable. I recommend you to stick to TJ because their prices are really good for the quality of food. Also, there are always cheaper ethnic places, pizzarias, diners, etc. for eating in or taking out (for the times when you may be too tired to cook). Chinatown is a great place to stock up on seafood, fruit and vegetables because the prices are very cheap compared to other places. Plus, many places have meals for $5 to $8 which are filling. You can also pick up cheap bakery items there.

    You may want to consider some of the subscribe and save food items through Amazon. I will be ordering the Ezekiel cereal for my son's suite (6 boxes of cereal at a discount on a monthly, every other month or every three month, etc. basis, depending on what you require). Also, Ezekiel pasta (penne), also 6 boxes per order and at a discount if you subscribe and save. The pasta may take some getting used to, but if you have a nice sauce with spinach, squash and/ or saute chicken, it comes out fairly well (and cheap). I am picking these items because they are very healthy and nutritious for you.

    Anyway, what you are proposing is definitely doable, even on the lower end of your budget, if you know where to shop. Take care of breakfast. That is easy enough. Get organic steel oats, good quality eggs for omelettes or hard boiled eggs (for needed protein), cereal with fruit and (raw) nuts and you can have very delicious and hardy breakfasts.

    Then get good quality bread (again Ezekiel bread but from TJ not Amazon - cinnamon raisin, original or sesame seed - delicious toasted), cold cuts without antibiotics from TJ, e.g., Applegate turkey and ham. Buy raw milk cheese (really much better for you), also from TJ. Throw together nice salads with organic romaine lettuce (at TJ - around $2.69 for 3 heads of lettuce that is good for 6 servings), cucumber, sweet peppers, celery, tomatoes, etc.

    My husband and I have been eating very well with products free of antibiotics, pesticides when I cook at home. I hardly want to go out to eat because i can control cost and quality by cooking myself. But keep in mind you want to do simple recipes because you will be very busy. Having a rice cooker also helps. I can make brown rice, quinoa, steel oats oatmeal with the rice cooker. Easy while I attend to an entree to go with grains.

    Haha, it is late and I am not able to sleep yet. So, I am going off now with my ideas on food. :)

    Enjoy. When do you begin? Are you starting with a summer session or will you start in the fall?
    · Reply · Share
  • VihzelVihzel 427 replies23 threads Member
    From upon reading more reviews, it seems like Trader Joe's is the better of the two since it's cheaper. It's a bit unusual for me because Trader Joe's in my area tends to be the "expensive" supermarket. lol It will be a definite change because I'm so used to paying a certain amount for my products at supermarkets like Kroger (Ralphs in the West). I feel like I'm going to just have a day of sticker shock when I do my grocery shopping for the first time. lol

    I'm going to make an extensive list of products that I buy and see if they're available on Amazon and compare. I've used Amazon to purchase some items before and it worked 4/5 times. One time I bought Kashi cereal from Amazon and it was a bit stale and 1 box was completely empty. lol (Amazon was very thoughtful and sent me a whole set of 4 Kashi boxes for free... awesome company!)

    I definitely plan to just eat breakfast at home because it's the easiest to do. Lunch and dinner is going to be a bit trickier as I don't know my schedule yet for sure with NYU. I'm glad to have an apartment with a full kitchen because I cook SO much. :)
    · Reply · Share
  • evolvingevolving 1392 replies37 threads Senior Member
    If you cook a lot, you will save a bundle. Really, prices at TJ are great when you consider that organic food tends to be really priced exorbitantly in other places. (Now Whole Foods is expensive. I come out with a $150-200 bill easily for 2, sometimes 3 people, for a week's worth of groceries, just food, not other household items). Especially if you make do with salads, pasta, rice and lean meat like chicken -even chicken not treated by antibiotics - you can make nice meals for yourself that are cheaper and healthier than eating out (or even in the NYU dining halls).

    I agree Amazon is great. They will send you new food items or refund you if there are any problems. Plus with the Subscribe and Save, no shipping fees and the items are waiting for you (you do not have to carry these items back to your apt). The only thing is I am not sure if you live in an apt in NYC, who will receive the items? Do you have to go to P.O. to pick up?

    You have to prepare sandwiches and salads or cook during the w/e for your busy school week. Having a slow cooker with ingredients you can just throw into the slow cooker may also be a good investment for you , so the food is waiting when you get home late in the evening. You may have to get some ready made food or take out when the school days are long and you have homework to do. Anyway, prepare yourself now with simple and fast recipes you can just whip up.
    · Reply · Share
  • vonlostvonlost 18831 replies14701 threads Super Moderator
    Our DD shared an apartment in the East Village and did fine on $20 a day for food and incidentals; she volunteered a reduction from $25! Much went to the TJ's on 14th.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity