Living in New York City is undoubtedly expensive. But it's not New York's fault when I stumble into H&M and walk away with three new sweaters.
It's easy to lean on the fact that the city has such a high cost of living when my credit card bill clocks in higher than my budget allows. And while the realities of living in an expensive city certainly take their toll at times, after living here for three years, I've learned that the biggest factor in managing my budget comes down to something I can control: my priorities.
Going into every month, I know exactly how much my rent, MetroCard, utilities and other regular bills will cost, giving me a clear picture of what I have left to spend. I thought I was doing a pretty good job staying focused on only buying what matters, but after completing a savings challenge last September, I realized just how many things I buy out of impulse or convenience.