Cooking, Carpooling and Getting Around on a Budget
By Ethan White \\\ MLS defender
Living in expensive cities can be tough, so finding ways to cut costs is incredibly important. In DC, I decided to have a roommate for all three years of my stay with the club. I also bought a cheap but durable car that would last me a few years instead of financing one. In my first two years, I spent too much money eating out and going out. I decided to get a Costco membership and cook more meals at home, and split the costs of groceries with my brother.
When I got to Philly, I gave my brother the car and paid for insurance. Although I didn’t have a roommate in Philadelphia, I paid the same amount in rent that I was paying in DC when I had a roommate, so getting rid of a bill like car insurance helped. I also carpooled with my teammates to and from practice. I continued to cook at home instead of going out to eat as well.
I am currently in NYC and living with my girlfriend. We found a small apartment in Manhattan that is very affordable. This is the cheapest rent I’ve paid in my life. I sold my car and both of us use public transportation daily to move throughout the city. I still carpool to and from practice with one of my teammates. For food, she and I signed up for Blue Apron and cook meals at home at least 5 times a week.
No car insurance, no monthly parking fees, no car maintenance and no gas fees…. probably saved me at least $4,000 a year.
Carpooling has been my main way of saving money over the past 2-3 years. Car notes, insurance, and car maintenance can be extremely expensive. When I got to Philly and decided to leave my car in DC, where I’m from, I decided I would pay little more in rent to live close to teammates that drove. Although I didn’t have a car note on the car I owned, I knew that moving into a city like Philadelphia can be tough for car owners. Parking is expensive. I also no longer had to pay for car insurance, which at the time was costing me about $130 a month or more. No car insurance, no monthly parking fees, no car maintenance and no gas fees…. probably saved me at least $4,000 a year.
Now that I live in NYC, I knew I had to learn the train system. I immediately got a transit card and downloaded the CityMapper app to tell me how to move throughout the city. The system is very efficient and cheap. It costs $2.75 to get into the train system and you can go anywhere in the 5 boroughs for that $2.75. Whether you’re going 2 stops within Manhattan or 40 stop to Coney Island in Brooklyn. The cost is always the same. You also get to avoid the crazy NYC traffic and tolls when using bridges and tunnels. Owning a car in Manhattan is more of a liability than a tool. Street parking is scarce which allows parking garages to charge outrageous daily and monthly fees to use their garage. I knew this when I was going to move here so I didn’t even consider getting a car.
Ethan White is a veteran defender in the MLS who currently plays for New York City Football Club. Highly touted throughout his youth career in the DC area and Maryland university for three years he was signed to a prestigious Homegrown contract with DC United. Ethan White is also a co-founder of OTM Media that showcases his amazing photography and video content. Follow him on Instagram at @ethanwhite and @otm_media.