If you're on a low budget, you can certainly find a place to live in any one of New York City's five boroughs, but if you're on a super low budget, you get fewer options. The good news is there are several affordable, safe, and enjoyable neighborhoods located throughout New York City that you can call home. You might have to endure a longer commute, but let's get real: everybody in New York complains about their commute unless they live a block or two away from work (we're looking at all of you guys who live in the Financial district). Accept the commute, and enjoy saving major bucks by living in one of the three most affordable neighborhoods in New York City.
It's generally cheaper to live in the Bronx. Calling the Bronx home means you can save money not only on rent but on groceries and eating out.
Throgs Neck is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in the Bronx. While most Throgs Neck residents are homeowners, you'll find great options for renting–multi-family residences, detached and attached, apartments, and condos are all options with great rent price points. The average rent comes in at $1,350.
Life in Throgs Neck is a bit quieter, but that's in comparison with the rest of the Bronx, not a small town upstate! You might even get water views of the Long Island Sound from your bedroom window.
This is a working class neighborhood, it's family friendly, and you just can't beat the Italian restaurants on East Tremont Ave. However, you'll probably need a car to get around. Most everyone here has one since Throgs Neck is close to 295, making commutes easy, and the drive to midtown can be made in a half-hour or less, depending on traffic. If you don't have a car, no problem–just hop on the bus to get where you need to go.
Throgs Neck is also one of the safest communities in the Bronx, giving you the biggest bang for your buck.
Staten Island has its own charm that isn't replicated in any of the other five boroughs. Easy access to the rest of the city via ferry and proximity to Jersey gives this place a unique flavor–maybe a cannoli flavor since Staten Island's own Little Italy (hello, Arthur Ave.) can't be beat!
Check out Bay Terrace if you're thinking about Staten Island. This neighborhood has a small-town feel with big city amenities, which makes it a friendly, family-oriented community. Brimming with coffee houses, eateries, parks, and young professionals, Bay Terrace offers a nice quality of life for an affordable cost. The median rent is $1,427.
It's also one of the safest places you can live on Staten Island and has excellent schools to boot, so what gives? Honestly, it's the commute, which, granted, is a bit longer than most.
While Bay Terrace is a stop on the Staten Island Railway, you'll probably have to take multiple forms of transportation to work if you work in Manhattan (like almost everybody does), It is not uncommon for folks to take the Staten Island Railway, hop on the ferry, and then get on the subway to get to work (and walk to all of the right stops and stations in between). However, if you're looking for a lower rent and a place with good schools in a safe community, Bay Terrace can't be beat.
Queens is heralded around the city for its great public schools, diversity, and access to transportation.
Head to Jackson Heights, Queens for culture and cheaper rents. This older neighborhood has a median rent price of $1,895, and while folks out in Queens pay a bit more in transportation (it is the borough farthest out from Manhattan), they save money on dining and entertainment, even with the many tasty options and lively festivities going on all the time. You can get to Midtown in about 20 minutes on the subway, and you'll get a larger apartment here than you'd get in Manhattan for the price you pay.
This is a place for families and the younger crowd. Filled with diversity, tree-lined sidewalks, restaurants, and parks, it's a relatively safe community and definitely affordable. It's more than $500 a month cheaper to rent here than it is to rent in neighboring Astoria, $700 a month less to rent than in Brooklyn, and an entire grand less to rent here than in Manhattan.