Monday, July 21, 2014

Friend Dating: A Cheap NYC Day!

New York City - the home of countless trendy restaurants, chic lounges, and a never-ending supply of glamour! Which also makes it the home of the $18 cocktail (ouch) and pricey taxi rides - much less glamorous.

Last weekend, my fabulous friend Sarah traveled from Delaware to spend a leisurely Saturday with me in the city. We were super excited to spend time together and catch up, but way less excited to see tons of cash slipping quickly through our fingers. Since we both love a good bargain, Sarah suggested that we skip the lavish meals and expensive Broadway tickets to try to do the ultimate cheap day in New York, and I happily agreed! Hopefully our low-key (and low-cost) itinerary will help you save some dollars during your next friend date so you can focus on the good stuff...all the girl talk!

Instead of strolling through neighborhoods where we may have been tempted to pop into some boutiques for a little shopping, we set up camp at an iconic New York City location - Central Park.

CP
Even though I live within a three-minute walk of Central Park, I wish I was able to spend more time there as I always feel very relaxed and zen when I visit. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we laid out a blanket and settled in for a leisurely afternoon. Instead of going to a pricey brunch together, we picked up some sandwiches, salads, and snacks at a local market and packed a picnic basket - not only did this save a lot of cash, but it also allowed us to bring a big bottle of white wine to enjoy throughout the day!

This was Sarah's very first trip to Central Park!
We had also considered going to the Central Park Zoo, the Museum of Natural History, or free kayaking at the local pier, but we wound up chatting so much that the hours flew by. However, if you're looking for low-cost NYC activities, you should definitely check those out!

After the park, we went back to my apartment and rested up for the evening by kicking back on my patio. Before we knew it, it was time to get primped and ready for dinner! Surprisingly, there really are lots of restaurant deals in New York if you know where to look for them. I started out by checking Savored the week before Sarah visited, but eventually settled on an amazing Restaurant.com deal. I purchased a $50 gift certificate for only $20, and wound up actually paying only $10 for the certificate since there was a sale happening! So basically, it was a free $40 in our pockets.

Unfortunately, we didn't take too many pictures at dinner - I blame this.
Instead of expensive entrees, we split a few appetizers along with a bottle of wine (hey, it's more economical than ordering individual glasses!).


Basically, a cheap friend date in one of the most expensive cities in the world can be accomplished if you plan ahead:

- We specifically selected that restaurant because of the deal we were able to secure, and made reservations in advance to make sure we could dine there. Once there, we split a few options instead of ordering separate, more expensive meals.

- We researched and identified free and low-cost afternoon activities to have affordable options available depending on our mood.

- We planned ahead by packing our picnic so that we wouldn't need to order any food at any of the pricey food trucks in the park. 

- We rode the subway between the train station and my apartment, as well as on the way to the restaurant (though we did splurge on a cab to take us home at the end of the night). 

We had a jam-packed day and even though we didn't spend a lot of money, it certainly didn't feel like we missed out on any fun! After all, as long as you're in the company of a good friend, it doesn't really matter what you're doing or where you are!


What are your favorite ways to save money when you're on a friend date?

Special thanks to Sarah for being an awesome friend and loyal TSN supporter, and to today's link-up hosts: Meg, LeeannKimberleeMolly, and Carly!

xoxo
B

14 comments :

  1. I love a picnic idea to save money and still have fun~
    Marie @ In Our Happy Place

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    1. Me too - plus food somehow always tastes better to me when it's outdoors!

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  2. This looks like a fabulous day!! Spending a gorgeous afternoon in CP is priceless, and the tips for saving some $$ were wonderful and painless!! Nothing missed on this lovely gals' get-together :)

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    1. Nothing at all, except the guilt I always feel the next day from overspending :)

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  3. My favorite way to save money is to share an appetizer or two.
    I also enjoy picnic's.

    I'm visiting from Meg's Mingle Monday
    http://newhorizonreviews.blogspot.com/2014/07/monday-mingle-july-21.html

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! In addition to saving $, I also like splitting apps because then you get to try more food haha :)

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  4. Splitting apps + a bottle of vino (or 2!) is always a great idea. Hitting up happy hours for good deals is always helpful too. I can't believe I still haven't been to NYC but it's on the bucket list for sure!

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    1. Yes, I can never resist a good happy hour deal! I even keep a spreadsheet of happy hours so that I can find a suitable option any day of the week!

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  5. Sounds like a perfect day to me!

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  6. Thanks for these tips! I am also a New Yorker and it can get SO expensive! Especially when I factor my daughter into the equation and she needs to visit every gift shop and buy some astronomically priced trinket or stuffed animal. A day spent at the park with a picnic lunch is always a great time in my book!

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    1. Oh yes, I can't even imagine how expensive it must get when you have a little one because those overpriced gift shops try to reel you in every time! A picnic in the park is always a classic :)

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  7. Friend dates are the best! Glad she had a good time. Been living in NYC for 8 years and you can find some easy ways to not go broke. Seems like you gotta some smart ideas!

    Thanks for linking up with MMG :)

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    Replies
    1. While it's always way too tempting and easy to overspend here, I agree that there are definitely ways to make it work as long as you plan ahead! Glad to meet another NYC blogger! :)

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xoxo
B & M

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