It’s no secret that New York City can be expensive, especially when you’re a student. But don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to experience the city without breaking the bank. Read on for some of our tips on how to live in New York on a budget.

Take Public Transportation — or the free Columbia Shuttle

It’s easy to look at social media and see people taking cabs and Ubers everywhere in the city. But that’s not the only way to get around! New York has a very connected public transportation system between the subway, buses, and even ferries. The fare is $2.90 one way. In the subway, you can transfer unlimitedly to different lines within connecting stations, and you get one free transfer between the subway and bus within two hours. The NYC Ferry costs $4, and it is not eligible for transfers — and the Staten Island Ferry is free!  On top of this, Columbia offers free shuttles to students with your ID. Check out more about Columbia transportation here!

Happy Hours

Happy hours are more than grabbing a drink after work or class. Many restaurants have food deals included in their happy hours, which is a great way to try new food without spending a fortune. Happy hours typically run anywhere from 12 pm – 7 pm, but be sure to check specific restaurants before going to ensure you get there at the right time!

Student Discounts 

One of the many things your student ID can do is get you deals around the neighborhood and beyond! There are so many great deals to take advantage of, from discounted movies at the AMC, access to museums, and discounted or free tickets to Broadway shows! Check out the Graduate Student Life and Development office’s website for more details on deals and events for students.


One of the greatest things about New York is the amount of parks and green spaces that can be found around the city. We have Riverside Park, Morningside Park, and Central Park near campus. These are great places to connect with nature and take some time away from the bustle of city life. Not to mention, sometimes the parks will put on free or cheap performances, such as Shakespeare in the Park, the Philharmonic concerts, Summerstage, and more!

Leave a Reply