How Do You Survive Financially in a Large City Without Losing Your Pants?

Moving out of your parents’ place and living on your own in a big city isn’t easy at all. On one hand it sucks to live at home or in the suburbs. Then on the other hand, it’s so fun to live in the big city where there’s always action going on.

What do you do? What if you’re tired of living with your parents or your parents are tired of living with you? What if you can’t afford living in the city?

I found an article through Nelson of Financial Uproar about young people making little money trying to survive in the big city. A Toronto magazine, The Grid, spoke with a bunch of young adults that shared their struggles.

Almost every single person in that study is struggling. Screw that. I don’t want you guys to be struggling or barely getting by.

This really opened my eyes from the article:

“In 2010, those between 25 and 34 years old living in the Toronto area pulled in a median income of $33,300.”

That sort of makes it difficult to get by when you realize how much rent is. A one-bedroom can easily go for $1,400 a month in the city. Okay I’ll confess, I charge $1,450 for my condo.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume that you want to live downtown or in a large city. I’m also going to assume that you don’t want to live on a farm in seclusion. You like action. You like fun. You want something to do on a daily basis. You don’t want to be bored out of your mind.

How do you financially survive your 20s in a big city without losing your pants?

Wait until you move out.

I hate to say this, but sometimes you might have to stay at home a little longer until you save up for your big move. It’s not ideal and I’m sure that you want to move out ASAP, especially once your parents get in the way of your love life. I know it’s not going to be easy. I know that you want to get out. But trust me on this. It’s more beneficial for you if you stick around for a bit longer and save up.

You really need to save up a good amount of coin. You need first and last month’s rent. That’s a need. Then there are wants and other expenses that will come along. You should strive to save up some money just in case. You never know what can go wrong. You want a nice war chest that you can fall back on.

Are you cool with waiting a bit longer? If not, then I’m sorry to say it, but you might struggle! Who has time to struggle? Stick around a bit longer and you won’t regret it.

Find someone to split the bills with.

Is there any chance that you can split the bills with someone? I’m not saying that you move in with the person you hooked up with last weekend or the dude who gave you a spot on the bench press. I do suggest that you see if any of your friends want to move out just to help you with the bills.

Is there anyone that can help you out? Is there anyone that you can move in with?

With someone to split the bills or to help out with household chores, you’ll be much better off. Is this option possible at all? I say that you look around. There might be a friend itching to get out just as bad as you. When I moved in with my good friend in the summer of 2010, we both wanted freedom and to get away from family. It was arguably one of the best summers ever.

Hold a part-time job or side gig.

This is one of my most common tips simply because I don’t believe in relying on one person for work. Imagine losing your day job? How the hell would you survive? You would be forced to rush back to your parents. There’s no time for that. I say that

Do you have a side job or a side hustle? If not, then it’s time to look into this.

I recently shared a free copy of my premium guide, Start Freelancing Now. I believe that we all have ability to use our skills to make some extra money. And this isn’t just empty cheerleading. I really believe it. When you start making money on the side with a business or a part-time job, you won’t have to stress about going broke any time soon or making rent.

The only setback is that this might cut into your social time. That’s understandable. A side hustle isn’t for everyone.

The main positive is that if things work out, your side hustle could turn into something profitable and full-time. Just throwing that out there.

Embrace frugality.

You don’t have to be frugal when you live at home or when you’re making huge money. But when you’re barely making 40k a year or have heavy expenses, you definitely have to look into ways to save money. I’m not your father, so I’m not going to lecture you here. I just want you to try out some basic frugality.

This doesn’t mean that you have to stop wearing condoms or living life. You just need to be a little creative. My personal tips for embracing frugality are:

  • Throw parties at home.
  • Figure out how to eat on the cheap.
  • Walk when you can.
  • Look like a stud without spending a fortune on name brands.
  • Hang out with friends that have similar views on personal finance.

How will you save money? The more you cut back in certain areas, the more that you can spend in other areas.

Have a plan for future wage increases.

Okay, so your salary isn’t great right now. That’s normal. What does the future hold though?

  • Are you planning on increasing your income in the future?
  • Are you taking courses?
  • Are you working towards a promotion?
  • Have you started a business?
What are you going to do to ensure that you make more money in the future? You can’t be complaining and struggling at the same level forever. That’s just lame.

This article wasn’t designed to provide ground-breaking advice. I just wanted to point you in the right direction if you happen to be struggling financially in a big city at the moment.

Life doesn’t have to be a struggle. With a little bit of planning, you can have a blast in the big city and not worry about losing your pants.

8 thoughts on “How Do You Survive Financially in a Large City Without Losing Your Pants?”

  1. Move to the suburbs instead?

    I’m a country boy at heart. I grew up in a town of 6000 and a statistically relevant percentage of them are related to me by blood, marriage, or both (don’t ask!)

    Now I live in a small city of about a quarter million. Total number of relatives: 7. It’s been quite an adjustment for me. If Fort Collins hadn’t retained most of it’s small town feel from 30-40 years ago, I probably would have left by now.

    1. 6000 people? That’s awesome Edward. What’s that like? Is is true that everyone knows your business in a small town? I’ve always lived around Toronto, where you don’t even know your neighbors.

      My grandparents in Poland live in a village and that’s always an interesting experience. They seem to know every single human being within 30kms.

  2. Not so much any more. It was more like if somebody knew you, they knew your parents, your grandparents, your aunts, uncles, and cousins. Every teacher I had in school that was over 40 taught my mother. My mother’s third grade teacher taught my great-grandmother!

  3. Your advice about hanging out with friends who have similar views on personal finance is spot on. It makes sticking to goals and enjoying the journey easier.

    They say your networth is the average of the 5 people you hang around the most.

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