Personal finance

How Much Money Do I Need to Move to New York?

Rob Whiting
Boom Team

If you’ve ever thought about moving to New York City, you’ve probably also wondered how much you would need to save up. After all, NYC is the most expensive major city in the USA to live in, as well as the 9th most expensive city in the world.

There are many reasons why you might be interested in moving to New York. You might be taking a new job there, or you’re an artist looking for your big break. Considering the city’s diverse culture and unique lifestyle, you might even be thinking about raising a family in the Big Apple.

Whatever your reason for moving to NYC, you should know how much money you need in order to have a comfortable move as well as a smooth start to your new life.

Is There a “Right Amount” You Need to Save?

First things first: is there a definite amount of money that you need to ensure that you have a good start in New York? Is $5000 enough? What about $10,000?

What is the “right amount”?

The truth is that there is no specific amount of money that will fit everyone. The amount will depend on several factors, such as the type of apartment you want to rent, the neighborhood you’re considering, and the location you’re moving from. You should also consider expenses such as the deposit, utilities, and mover fees.

According to Luke Demaria, a financial advisor at Client Focused Advisors, a good rule of thumb is having at least 4 months worth of expenses saved up before you move to New York. This is a good starting point, but if possible, you should also be prepared with around a month’s worth of “safety net” funds for unforeseen expenses like emergencies.

What’s more, you should not neglect miscellaneous small expenses as well. Think about what you typically spend on now when the mood strikes you, such as seeing a movie or going out to eat with friends.

Shipping & Moving

The biggest expense you’ll shoulder before you move to NYC is shipping to get your belongings there. Obviously, it will be much cheaper to ship your belongings if you’re moving to NYC from within New York State, but you still need to know the cost to be able to budget properly.

The best way to know the cost is by using a cost calculator. A cost calculator factors the distance, the size of your current home, and the type of packing services you need. You’ll also be able to estimate how much of your stuff you can bring.

Let’s try two examples.

Say you’re moving from Buffalo to NYC. You have a 1-bedroom apartment, and you want to spring for a full moving service. This is a cost estimate from

distance from buffalo to nyc
moving cost estimate buffalo to nyc

However, if you’re moving from Jacksonville, Florida to NYC, you’ll have to pay for the greater shipping distance. Here’s what you need to spend.


Of course, you shouldn’t forget to tip your movers! A good tip is around 15%-20% of your total moving costs.

While you can opt to forego moving services and rent something like a U-Haul, you need to think about things like the size of the rental and the amount of manpower you need to move your stuff.

Flying to New York City

Once you’ve figured out how to move your stuff to NYC, the next step is figuring out how much you would need to spend to get there yourself. If you’re going to move from within New York or from a nearby state, the most economical way is probably by driving.

However, if you’re traveling from further away, taking a flight would make the most sense. The cost of your flight will vary depending on the time you want to move to NYC. In general, you should book your flight at least 2 months in advance to get better rates.

Getting an Apartment

Unless you already have housing waiting for you, your next challenge would be to find an apartment in New York. Again, there are so many factors to consider that will affect how much money you need.

First, you need to consider where you’re going to live, and choosing among the different neighborhoods in New York can be difficult. Are you looking for a safe neighborhood in Brooklyn or a cheap neighborhood in Manhattan? Finding the right location is critical, so make sure to use the best apartment rental websites in NYC.

As if finding the right apartment wasn’t hard enough, you should also know that renting an apartment in New York is seasonal. If you want to get cheaper rental prices, you need to know the best time to rent an apartment in NYC.

After finding a suitable apartment, you’ll need to pay the first month’s rent as well as the security deposit. In New York, the deposit is equal to the first month’s rent. Make sure that you know the difference between net effective rent and gross rent to avoid any confusion when you sign your lease.

The Broker Fee

Aside from the deposit and first month’s rent, you might also be asked to pay a broker’s fee. In NYC, you might end up shouldering the cost of using a broker even if you didn’t hire one thanks to the new NYC Broker Law.

In general, the broker fee is equal to one month’s rent. Now, you might start to understand why you need at least 4 month’s rent saved up before you move to New York. However, if you’re lucky enough to find a no-fee apartment, you won’t need to spend on broker fees.

Getting a Guarantor

If you have bad credit or you’re not making enough money to qualify for an apartment in NYC, you might need to get a guarantor.

Cost of Living in New York City

The cost of living in New York City will depend on where you choose to live. Obviously, it’s more expensive to live in neighborhoods such as Tribeca or SoHo in Manhattan compared to Lindenwood in Queens or Norwood in the Bronx.

It also follows that the type of apartment will be a huge factor when it comes to the cost of living. A studio is much cheaper compared to a 2-bedroom apartment or a penthouse.

Furnishing Your Apartment

If you hired a moving service, you’ve probably brought over most of your large furniture and major appliances. This means that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to furnish your apartment.

However, if you decide to move and get a fresh start, you’ll probably need to buy new furniture, appliances, and other furnishings. The good news is that many NYC apartments come either fully furnished or semi-furnished. If you opted for a bare apartment, you’ll need to find affordable options to furnish your new apartment.

Utilities and Taxes

Finally, you need to consider your utility bills and your taxes. Check your lease to see if utilities such as electricity, water, heating and cooling, and cable are included. If not, factor those into your moving costs as well.

According to Numbeo, the average cost of utilities for a 915-square foot apartment costs around $145.55 per month. Take note that this does not include amenities such as the Internet and parking space.

The Bottom Line

Before moving to NYC, calculate your estimated monthly living expenses to see whether you have enough money to afford the move. Keep in mind that this guide does not even include your daily living expenses such as transportation, food, and entertainment. If possible, try asking friends and family who live in New York to get an idea of their daily expenses. This will help you determine whether you’re ready to move to New York City.

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