Is There Room for the Frugal in Boston?

Living in Boston on a budget: can it be done?

Our fair city is well-known as one of the country’s most expensive, with a cost of living that is nearly 40 percent higher than the national average.

Redditor datburg just moved to the area a month ago and turned to the site’s Boston boards for help living frugally.

Here are our favorite pieces of advice in his thread:

1. Resist the temptations of nightlife: “Drink in,’’ ViciousCycle writes. “This is an expensive city to go out; it’s really short on truly cheap options for drinking. The Silhouette is the only truly “cheap’’ bar I’ve been to; everywhere else is focused on slinging higher-end beers at you for $6-8 each. Buy your alcohol at Trader Joe’s, or at least shop around because prices vary widely between stores. In this region there’s a huge savings for buying beer in larger quantities, even moreso for hard alcohol.’’


User GimpyNip adds: “Everyone in Boston knows that the quickest way to blow all of your money is by hitting the bars a few nights a week. Avoid them and you’ll save $30-$80 a night. Even at the dives a burger, a few beers, and a tip can be $30+. S*** adds up when you’re broke.’’

“Go to FREE events,’’ Ice-Z writes. “There are quite a few around here. is also a decent place to find things to do and people to do them with. You might even make some… dare I say it… friends.’’

2. Don’t live in “Boston Proper’’: “Shoot for one of the blue/green areas, whichever is the best for your commute,’’ Redditor ViciousCycle advised. “Reducing your rent goes farther than anything else, and rents in this city vary wildly by neighborhood.’’

“Everett, Malden, Chelsea, and Dorchester are generally cheaper than other neighborhoods/cities,’’ Ice-Z adds.

3. When it comes to groceries, go cheap: “If possible, try to do your grocery shopping at Market Basket (either in Somerville or Chelsea),’’ DoYouWantAnts writes. “I have found that on many items (especially meat, pasta & canned goods) the price is almost half of what it would cost me at the Stop & Shop in South Boston.’’ User derApfel44 adds that readers can find deals on produce at Haymarket.


4. Minimize transportation costs: “If you’re able, ride a bike or walk rather than take the T,’’ enagrom writes. “If you need to take the T, get a monthly pass.’’

5. Make friends (or at least a small group of people you can remotely stand): “I have 6 roommates,’’ YouthInRevolt writes. “Dividing all of our house bills into 7 is a great time!’’

“[I] cooked and shared meals with roommates,’’ frankenst writes. “There were 6 of us, so 6 days a week someone cooked a meal and another person cleaned.’’

You can read the rest of the suggestions — or submit your own — on the original thread.

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