The cost of living in Philadelphia & how to save money

Photo by Gibson Hurst™ on Unsplash

While Philadelphia may best be known for its cheesesteaks and for the Liberty Bell, research suggests that it’s also popular for another reason.

Where job opportunities and affordability are concerned, this city in the United States is actually considered the best city for millenials.

Most people who move to Philadelphia aren’t surprised by its number-one ranking since they primarily settle here due to the urban environment it offers, along with the fulfilment of financial goals. Where career opportunities are concerned, most people think of New York City. However, the cost of living in the Big Apple is, undoubtedly, hefty.

Philadelphia offers similar opportunities without less compromises on your financial aspirations. While it certainly offers its advantages, similar to other metropolitan areas, Philadelphia does have its set of affordability challenges.

So, here are four tips on how to make the most of your money in the city of Philadelphia:

Explore neighborhoods away from the center

Although the average housing costs in Philadelphia are certainly lower than those found in San Francisco or New York, according to PayScale, the costs here are 37 percent above the national average.

However, just like any other city, it’s your responsibility to research extensively into finding the most affordable housing. When you conduct research, you’ll find some locations that are much cheaper than others. It’s no surprise that the Center City and its surrounding areas house the most number of millennials, however, the average monthly cost for fully-furnished housing is approximately $2,794. People who work in that area and would want to live close to their offices may struggle to find affordable options.

So, what do you do? Well, you need to explore up-and-coming neighborhoods that, while a little far from the Center City, do offer rental benefits. South Philly, for instance, boasts housing options with $800 for two-bedroom apartments. With a robust public transit system, your commute would be half an hour or an hour depending on where you work.

Wherever you choose to move, it’s also important to explore options on how you’re going to move. By researching Philadelphia movers options in advance, you’ll be able to explore different packages and deals and choose the one with the right services and prices for you.

Available affordable transportation

Where you live plays a huge role in where transport is going to prove to be a logistical or financial challenge for you. While having a car would definitely make your life easier if you’re living in a particular area, the added monthly expenditure could pile up to a lot.

Apart from this, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) offers a $91 monthly pass which is honestly a steal if the transit system meets all your needs. Alternatively, you can check out Indego, which is Philadelphia’s bike-sharing program that costs $15 every month. For millenials, it’s important to have access to public transport. So, if the transit pass costs less than $100, the money you save taking a train, bus, or bike, will open your budget for other more important savings.

Don’t go overboard your dining budget

Did you really think we’d talk about Philly without discussing its cheesesteak? The acclaimed sandwiches cost about $9 each, which means they’re okay for you to indulge in occasionally, but not something you can afford to have every day.

For your everyday food requirements, there are plenty of reasonable food places in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s grocery rate is approximately 17 percent higher than the national average which is definitely cheaper than other more expensive cities like San Francisco, where groceries cost 7 percent more than Philly. Regional chains, such as Wawa and Wegmans are excellent, affordable market where you can stock up on your basic necessities.

Philadelphia also offers a vibrant nightlife and food scene, but the costs of going out soon add up. You should ideally set out a certain budget every month to dine out so you don’t go too overboard with the small luxuries. Just like any other city, there are also many happy-hour specials available in Philly.

Where socializing is concerned, it’s always more cost-effective to invite people over. If you do feel like going out, though, you can explore budget-friendly options that offer local food with dinner and dessert costing less than $10 a meal.

Explore free entertainment options

While Philadelphia is a small city relatively, there are plenty of budget-friendly options to let yourself loose, especially in the summer season.

From free music festivals to museums, pop-up events, and hiking trails, the city offers many options for recreational activities. It’s always important to keep your financial goals in check and not deviate from them at the risk of one night of entertainment.

For more exclusive forms of entertainment, Philly hosts a number of music festivals that are sure to interest you. Apart from this, there are many sports bars, comedy clubs, and local events that will interest you for sure after the sun goes down.

While other cities often get the spotlight for being ideal for millenials, Philly is definitely in the running for being a fun and smart choice for young adults just getting started. By making intelligent money-making decisions, people can manage their financial responsibilities, while taking advantage of the recreations, job opportunities, and entertainment the city of Philadelphia offers.

What other ways do you think you can save money in Philadelphia? Sound off in the comments below!

Photo by Gibson Hurst™ on Unsplash