How to Live Like Carrie Bradshaw When Broke in New York City

Welcome to New York City — a place where the coffee is strong, the pizzas are hot, and the cost of living is high. And according to Sex and the City, life is simple when you've got a chilled cosmopolitan in one hand and your girlfriends in the other.

Huge Sex and the City fan here, but there were some unrealistic moments throughout the series that would cause the average New York transplant to be shell-shocked when faced with the reality of actually living in NYC. It's an amazing city, one of the best, but unless you've got a really spectacular job, you'll be broke at least once living in New York. Here are five ways you can live broke and still be fabulous in New York City.

Window Shop
new york city  usa   april 21 ...shutterstock

Let's be honest here: If you're worrying about how you're going to make rent this month, you probably shouldn't max out your credit card for a new pair of Manolos. Instead window shop. Go to 5th Avenue or Madison Avenue and get your visual retail fix by gazing in awe at their shop windows. You'll get hipped onto what's trending without spending a dime.

Buy From Affordable Retailers
Century 21 Department Store in downtown Manhattan, New York Citydbimages/Alamy

If after window shopping you still are dying for the smell of a retail receipt, then swipe your card at affordable retailers like DSW or Century 21. They have several stores around the city and sell designer goods for less than the normal retail price. And if you're really brave and have the patience of an Ox, rummage through the clearance racks for even better deals.

Hit Up Happy Hour
five cocktails on the bar...shutterstock

You want a drink and mingle but are on a shoestring budget. Go to Happy Hour. New York is expensive, so when someone gives you the option to drink for half-off and the only catch is you have to be there at a certain time during the day, you take it because you're broke — remember? Check out bars like Ten Degrees Bar or Verlaine for some of the best Happy Hour deals around the city.

Get a Roommate

If you think you can be like Ms. Bradshaw and live in a Brownstone and make rent by just writing under 500 words a week for a newspaper, then you're a shameless dreamer (like me). If your money is low at the moment and you're renting, get a roommate. Split the rent, utilities and anything else you can muscle into the deal. Once you are able to make enough and save even more, then you can get your own place.

Sell or Donate the Clothes You Don't Wear Anymore
clothes neatly hanging in the...shutterstock

Oh my gosh — I can't express how much this drove me mad. Carrie had a closet full of clothes she never wore. And why she never thought about giving it away or selling them is beyond my realm of comprehension. Surely, a minimalist cringes every time they look at her closet because it's just full of stuff she isn't using. Don't be like Carrie. Give your stuff away and if they are of quality consider selling them. Places like Buffalo Exchange will give you money for your items if they are in accord with the season or in trend. Goodwill is a great place to donate the rest.

Samantha Greaves is a freelance writer living in New York City. When not freelancing on Parachute, she can be found blogging about life, writing, and urban pop culture via