What's it cost? A 3-BR Apartment in NYC

4 Bedroom, Chelsea (2 BR converted + loft)

Roommate Situation: I have 3 roommates 

Age/Occupation or Industry:

25/Advertising and also Hospitality

Monthly Rent: 2013 $5200, Now = $5300. I pay $1075 as I live in the loft!

Utilities: Average of $250ish?

Apartment Description: The unit is an elevator building. Recently, the lobby was redone. But there’s no doorman. My unit is a 2 bedroom converted with a loft that's around 5' tall. The living room that connected to the backyard was turned into a bedroom with a very high ceiling. I live in the loft, which is probably not ideal for most people, haha. There is one full bathroom. Amenities come in the form of a washer/dryer in our unit, dishwasher and our own backyard!

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: I have a full time job and then also bartend, which has become a great opportunity for me to see friends and entertain in my own space (okay maybe it's not totally mine...) and also make some money at the same time! Working a day a weekend also helps me to not spend money. Taking the loft helps to save money as I pay $400 less than my roommates for a great apartment with great amenities (even if I am getting tired of hearing guests and friends say "YOU live up THERE?")


3 BR, Upper West Side (2BR Converted)

Roommate Situation: I have 2 roommates

Age/Occupation or Industry:

25/ Writer

25/ Non-profit

25/ Grad Student 

Monthly Rent $3895 ($1150/ $1345/ $1400)

Utilities: Cable and Electric (~$100 each)

Apartment Description6-floor elevator building with part-time door man. Laundry in the basement. 5th floor apartment.  One full bathroom with tub. Large kitchen. Two large bedrooms-- one when you first walk in, one at the end of the hallway. One smaller bedroom (the converted one) and a small living area. Lots of closet space! 

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips:  Make any take-out or delivery into two or three meals. Don't buy more than one drink at the bar. SUBWAY. No cabs. Ever. I cook when I have time or heat up TRADER JOES frozen food :). Also, I’m getting a part-time job once my first semester is finished...hopefully. 


4 BR in Gramercy Park (3BR converted)

Roommate Situation: 4 beautiful lady friends

Age/Occupation or Industry:




25/Private Equity

Monthly Rent: $6,640 Broken out: $2100/$1650/$1550/$1340

Utilities: Average of approximately $400, split by 4 people for electric/cable/water

Apartment Description: Brick apartment building on a quiet street in Gramercy Park. The apartment is the garden-level unit with exposed brick walls, large kitchen and common area plus an open patio. It is a 3 bedroom with a converted 4th bedroom. Washer/dryer, fridge, dishwasher included. Also has three bathrooms which is quite unheard of in this city. Master bedroom has own bathroom and walk-in closet. Back patio provides an open and quiet space for lounging, grilling, and flip cup.

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: I spend $15 at Trader Joe's every week on hummus, carrots, eggs, and Kale. I find the only bars with $6 wine happy hour specials in the city. I use quarters to pay for my Metrocard and CVS coupons to buy everything else.


3 BR in East Village

Roommate Situation: I have 2 roommates

Age/Occupation or Industry:


27/Investment Banking


Monthly Rent: 2014 $3,750 Broken out: $1275/$1250/$1225

Utilities: Approx $100 for Con-Ed, $150 for TWC, both split by 3 people for electric/cable

Apartment Description: Walk-up, on the third floor. It’s a three bedroom back unit, so you don't hear any noise at night, even on weekends.  Apartment has a living room and small kitchen.  The living room is large enough for a big screen mounted on the wall a Lay-Z boy recliner and a pull out couch.  There is one full bathroom that is a nice size. Each bedroom is pretty small but all are large enough for a dresser and a full-sized bed, and each room has a closet.  The place is at the corner of St Marks and 2nd Ave, so the location is amazing, close to the 6 and N/Q/R and about 100 restaurants and bars.  Easy to walk home from drinking in LES and there are a number of gyms and 24 hour grocery stores close-by.

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips:  Buy clothes on sale or go to TJMaxx or Marshals.  Hard to bring in lunch every day, but try to bring it in at least a few times a week.  Created a budget to track my spending and try to keep myself on track with a savings plan.

Upper East Side – 3 BR (true 3BR)

Monthly Rent: 2014 $3,500 | Broken out: $1,066 - $1,217 - $1,217

Roommate Situation: I have 2 Roommates

Age/Occupation or Industry:

24/ Hedge Fund Research Analyst

23/Security Computer Consultant

Utilities (Total Only): $330 per month covers Gas/Electric, Cable (Redzone, HBO, and all that other good shit), Internet and lastly a landline phone that we don’t use (don’t ask me why we pay for this).

Apartment Description: My two roommates and I live in a spacious 2,000 sq. ft three-bedroom, two bath, duplex apartment, located on East 99th street and Lexington Avenue. Throughout the apartment, exposed brick lines the walls. There are two bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs, a large living space, kitchen area and dining room. After graduating college, we were fortunate to partner with a real estate agent, who was able to find us a gem in the Upper East Side (UES)/ Spanish Harlem (SpaHa) neighborhood. Space was one of the biggest factors in choosing housing options because we tend to have a lot of friends and visitors stop by the apartment.  All three bedrooms are fully sized and can fit your normal bedroom accessories – bed set, desk, dresser etc. The building is a bit outdated (heat can turn off unexpectedly at times) and it is a 4 story walk up (we’re on the 2nd floor). Location wise, we love the diversity! We get to experience the culture and liveliness of East Harlem and also hang with the yuppies only a couple blocks below us. We are right across Mount Sinai, a two minute walk to the 6 train (ratchet), seven minute walk to Central Park (fun), and a 22 minute door-to-door commute to work. We are in love with our apartment and think we found a pretty dope deal.

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: I have a crazy amount of school loans so trying to save money is key. Here are a few tips and tricks I try: Bring lunch to work whenever I can (this probably ends up only happening one week per month). Pregame hard at home before heading out to bars and clubs. Cut down on the Uber and taxi rides and instead ride my bike.


What's it Cost? Living in a 2-Bedroom in NYC

Before I moved to New York, I found it really difficult to get clear facts on how much I should be spending on an apartment. It's especially complex to estimate the cost of multiple bedrooms, too, when you take fake-walls and whatnot into consideration. If you look on most rental websites, you'll find dramatically high rent quotes per neighborhood, most of which don't represent the average.  And if you look on Craigslist, you can find dramatically low rates, most of which are unfortunately fake. All in all, it takes some time to get a feel for what is a reasonable rental cost in NYC and a lot of that depends on the neighborhood, the building and its amenities, and the landlord and some luck.

Prices will vary. That's why I've started up the "What's It Cost?" series which provides readers with a glimpse inside the raw financial details of various 20-somethings' living situations and apartment costs. We've covered studios and 1-bedrooms, and today we dive into 2-bedrooms! 

2 BR in Gramercy  - $4,000

Monthly Rent: In 2013 = $3550 |Now= $4000 | Broken Down: $2000 pp

Roommate Situation: I have one roommate

Age/ Occupation or Industry:

23/ Logistics

23/ Executive Assistant at El Media Group

Utilities (Total Only): Average of $350 split by two people 

Apartment Description:

High rise elevator and doorman building with live in super and laundry room on the mezzanine level. True two-bedroom apartment and one full bathroom. Very spacious living room and open kitchen with new appliances. Must provide own AC unit and temperature controlled heat. 

How I do it: 

Before this October, my parents paid for all of my rent and I paid for utilities. Since the rent has gone up I also pay the difference of rent from last year to this year ($225). Because of this I am able to save up x amount of dollars a month for the future.  

Money Saving tips: 

Avoid going out to eat as much as possible. I limit myself to two meals out a week (typically one lunch and one dinner). This saves a TON of money and keeps you healthier too, which is always a plus. 


2BR Upper East Side - $2,400

Monthly Rent: $2,400: Broken out, $1250/$1150 (my share)

Roommate Situation: I have 1 roommate

Age/Occupation or Industry:

25/Staff Attorney at an Entertainment Law Firm

25/Sales Representative at a Startup Company

Utilities: Average of $250, split evenly

Apartment Description: 

3rd floor walkup on the Upper East Side that features one large bedroom (his) and one small bedroom (mine). The living room is on the smaller size, but still is enough room to fit a dartboard, large TV and sectional couch while not sacrificing kitchen space. Although my room is small, I still am able to fit my oversized dresser and queen size bed.

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: 

Identify your vices, and stick to them exclusively. For me, my two main indulgences are craft beer and food, so I try to make sure if I am spending money, it is only on that. For the time being, my parents help me out a small amount, but mainly to combat my large amount of student loans that must be paid back.


2 Bedroom Upper West Side - $2400

Monthly Rent: 2014 $2400  | Broken out: $1200 pp

Roommate Situation: I have 1 roommate

Age/Occupation or Industry:

25/ Fashion Sales

25/Media Advertising

Utilities (Total Only): Average of $250 split 2 ways  $125/$125

Apartment Description:

Our apt. is a True 2 bedroom located on W 83rd btw Columbus and Amsterdam. Both bedrooms can easily fit a queen-sized bed and we also boast a decently sized living room/kitchen area. The building however is a walk up and we live on the ground level. The building is dated, but thankfully our unit has updated appliances and hardwood throughout. The biggest draw for us to our apartment was its location. What it lacks in amenities it surely makes up for with perfect location. We are 1 block from Central Park and a stone’s throw away from tons of great bars and restaurants. It also helps with commuting to work (midtown) due to the express 2,3 trains being so close. All in all we love our place and think we found a great deal. 

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips:

Being two socially active 25 year-old males, this has not been easy. We love to party but have learned to try and tone it down and solely become "weekend warriors." The easiest way to do this is by going to the gym (to pass time and stay healthy) and by cooking meals at home (to save dinero) during the week. We have also found out smoking weed and playing video games is sometimes just as fun as going out. The couch can be magical spot Mon-Thurs. 


2 BR in Chelsea - $2825

Monthly Rent: 2012 $2650, Now = $2825 

Roommate Situation: 1 roommate

Age/Occupation or Industry:


Utilities (Total Only): Gas/Electric ~$135 

Apartment Description: 

Fifth floor walkup. 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment. One bedroom is significantly bigger than other. No laundry on premise. 

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips:

On occasion, I AirBnB the second bedroom, but I caution others to do their due diligence when it comes to the legality of their individual situation with respect to the current NY laws. Also, I'm very frugal in general; I don't drink, so money isn't wasted on alcohol. I buy generic household or pantry-type products at Harmon or on Amazon (price/unit is way cheaper). More so, there are tons of free events in NYC on LivingFreeNYC.com, GuestofaGuest, and ClubFreeTime. Additionally, I've considered canceling cable and just using Hulu+ or Netflix but have yet to make the leap. 


1 BR converted to 2 in Midtown - $2660

Monthly Rent: 2014 $2660

Roommate Situation: 1 roommate 

Age/Occupation or Industry:

25 - accountant

28- account exec advertising

Utilities (Total Only): $0, Built into rent 

Apartment Description: 

High-rise, luxury building with an elevator and doormen/concierge services. It’s a 1-bedroom corner unit converted into a 2-bedroom/1-bath (with bedrooms on opposite sides of the apartment). This was made possible with one “fill wall” that’s very sturdy and goes all the way up the ceiling. Most buildings no longer allow full walls to be put up; they generally have to be 12 inches from the ceiling. However, as this wall was already up when I moved in, they allowed it to stay.  The living room and kitchen are pretty small but there’s a fair amount of closet space and large balcony. Large rooftop and gym in building, gym costs extra.

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips:

This pricing situation is not typical for midtown Manhattan and especially for a luxury building – we’re also the only apartment in the building that has a balcony, as the apartment sits on top of one of the New York public library buildings. So, we got lucky in terms of rent. I also save money by using Groupons, Jacks 99 cent store, and avoiding ridiculously priced places like Starbucks and cafe chains.

What's it Cost? Living in a Studio Apt in NYC

In most other places in America, asking someone how much they pay in rent would be considered a cringe-worthy social faux-pas, to say the least. 

In New York, though, it's about as common as asking someone how their day went. With millions of strangers living quite literally atop one another, we tend to both commiserate and celebrate over some otherwise-intimate details regarding one another's lives.

For outsiders and newcomers, however, it can be awfully difficult to pin down all the numbers. That's why I'll be kicking off the new series "What's it Cost?" and delving into apartment living by the numbers. We'll start with studios and eventually move into 1 BRs, 2BRs, etc., giving readers the low down on everything from monthly rent, building and apartment descriptions and real-life money-saving tips.*

*NOTE: Each of the examples below have been provided by current New Yorkers. Do you live in a studio and want to add your information to the list? If so, please contact me and I'd be happy to add in your details anonymously!

The Upper East Side Studio

Age/Location/Occupation or Industry: 25/Upper East 70s/Medical Field

Monthly Rent: $1774 (year 1), $2000 (by year 3, due to price increase)

Utilities: $60-$100 per month for electricity/internet, $15 a month for unlimited laundry in the building

Apartment Description: First floor walk-up in a building of all studios, fully & newly renovated on a tree-lined street. Wooden floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, etc. The kitchen is separated from the rest of the apartment and has all new appliances. Bathroom is a really decent size for New York with glass doors and plenty of space for shelving. My studio faces the back courtyard of patios which is great as there's never much traffic noise - though residents street-side have to deal with the nearby hospitals, etc.

Roommate Situation: No roommates

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: My only real tip on on how to save money in NYC is to make more of it. On top of my actual job, I also babysit weekly and freelance in fashion so I always make sure there's enough to spend when I want to go out and still save. 

The East Village Studio

Age/Location/Occupation or Industry: 24/East Village 12th St./Jewelry Design

Monthly Rent: $1500

Utilities: $160

Apartment Description: A large studio renovated and converted to 1 bedroom before we moved in, in a walk up brownstone. 1st floor, street side. Door that separates bedroom to small living space and 2 closets. 15 ft ceilings- good for storage and makes it seem bigger. 

Roommate Situation: I live with my boyfriend who works in insurance

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: Well we got lucky, being friends with the owner of our building and we spilt the rent of course which is the BIGGEST help imaginable. We grocery shop at Trader Joes and cook more nights then going out to eat. Splitting everything makes it way more managable. 

The Murray Hill Studio

Age/Location/Occupation or Industry: 25/Murray hill 39th St./fashion

Monthly Rent $2350

Utilities: $150- $250

Apartment Description: A studio in a luxury high-rise building. It's a nice building with a 24/7 doorman, concierge and elevator, plus other great amenities like a full gym, huge pool and hot tub. The actual apartment is an L-shaped studio which makes the "bedroom" area feel separate from the living space - also, the kitchen is closed off from the rest of the apartment.

Roommate Situation: 1 Roommate ( boyfriend)

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: My utilities are cable & internet & Electric. My bill tends to be very high during the summertime because I have the air blasting at all times (which is probably not necessary come to think of it, especially when I am not home). Electricity can be up to $250 a month. Our cable is also very high and Time Warner is probably the worst cable provider I have ever experienced. Unfortunately this is the only company my apartment allows! So, go with Verizon if you can & keep your air off when you're not home!

The Upper West Side Studio

Age/Location/Occupation or Industry: 25/Upper West 70s/Finance

Monthly Rent: $1550

Utilities: $110

Apartment Description: A studio in an old brownstone from the 1800s. It’s a walk-up on the second floor with no doorbell/intercom. While it’s only a miniscule 175 square feet, which probably sounds insane, the extra-high ceilings and bay window makes the place feel much more spacious. The bay window alone is 24 square feet which makes it feel like its own little nook. I have a fully functioning kitchen and bathroom - all older appliances, but they work. Getting creative with how you set your space up is so key. 

Roommate Situation: No roommates!

How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: My only utilities are cable & internet. Most NYC buildings cover water, sewage and heating. Luckily, mine covers electricity as well, as long as I don’t have an A.C. unit - which I don’t. Luckily, we’ve had a mild summer. Additionally, I always keep beer, wine and some sort of cocktail ingredients on hand. Having a friend or two over for weeknight drinks is a LOT more reasonable than going out for drinks 3-4 times a week.


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