A Lot of Food for Little Money

(Try to) take a step inside the miniature-sized Taim Falafel & Smoothie Bar and you’ll find yourself savoring the aroma and trying to hold your drool in as you look at the delicious menu. What’s even more is that Taim, pronounced tie-EEM, is affordable, healthy, and fresh! And even if you’ve never tried Middle Eastern food, you’re going to want to after reading this.

If you don’t know what falafel is, don’t worry! I’ll tell ya! Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty typically made from ground chickpeas, which means…hello, high protein! Falafel is very commonly eaten in the form of a sandwich, enclosed in a pita usually with other things like hummus, tahini, tabbouleh, Israeli salad, and pickled vegetables. And let me tell you, Taim’s falafel sandwiches are huge, affordable ($5.75) and come in three different flavors.

Attention Health Freaks:
1. Do not be scared away by the words “deep-fried.”
2. Taim is vegan and vegetarian friendly!
3. Taim’s falafel is gluten-free!
4. Taim is also Kosher.

Not only is Taim known for it’s amazing, ginormous falafel sandwiches, but it also makes rich, flavorful smoothies and drinks of things you probably wouldn’t think to blend together. Taim is loved for it’s unique specialty Date-Lime-Banana smoothie, Strawberry-Raspberry-Thai Basil, Pear-Mint- Lemon smoothie, and Ginger-Mint Lemonade. If these don’t sound good to you, your tastebuds will tell you differently. It also serves falafel platters and sides like french fries and babaganoush, an eggplant-based spread, (my favorite).

Taim is located at 222 Waverly Place at 7th Avenue in the West Village. If you’re not usually in that area, be sure to check out Taim Mobile. (Yes, the mouth-watering restaurant has it’s own food truck!)

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Seeing a Show at a Price That’s Low

Well, lucky you. You go to school in New York City, the epicenter for all things theater and entertainment. But unlucky for you, you’re also a college student on a budget, which means you don’t have all the money in the world to spend on show after show after show. However, you’re about to feel lucky again when I tell you how you can go to your favorite show for a heavily discounted price, and sometimes, even free!

If you’ve never heard of Student Rush, you’ll want to listen up. Through this organization, students can look up shows or events they want to go to and get heavily discounted prices on tickets, and some are even free! Student Rush offers tickets to shows on and off Broadway, TV Shows, theater shows, comedy shows, museums, and more in New York City. Although this is only open to registered users of Student Rush, registration is free, so there really is no excuse to not take advantage of their glorious deals. Usually the use of these Student Rush tickets require a valid student ID but that should be no problem if you are actually a currently enrolled student and not pretending to live vicariously through your younger sister.

Another great thing about Student Rush is that you don’t have to be in college to take advantage of it. When my friends and I were in high school, we bought tickets through this organization to see Spring Awakening, and lucky we were because that was the last year the show was on Broadway. (After it ended production in New York, it could only been seen on it’s national tour, and the show just ended production in May 2011.) If I recall correctly, we paid just $15 a piece for tickets that were originally priced $75 each.

If you are interested in saving money while having a great time (who isn’t?!), check out StudentRush.org and start planning your next night out!

How to Dress Like a Hipster When You’re on a Budget

So you want to be cool, huh? Want to be chill and fashionable and look like a New Yorker? Well, unless you love the Upper East Side prep style (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you might just end up looking like one of the many hipsters you see walk around the streets of the city. (If you’ve never been to New York, be prepared when you visit.) I have talked about American Apparel in Looking Nice at Half the Price, but don’t worry! Here are a few more places to shop in aspiration of looking like a hipster:

1. Urban Outfitters This is a no-brainer for America’s fashion conscious, and some may find it overrated sometimes. But I think Urban always has eccentric items no matter what, so you know what? I don’t care if everyone else shops here. Your style is chiefly based on how you put together your clothes and accessories anyway. I usually don’t buy anything full-price here because it will most likely go on sale at some point and the quality of some brands aren’t always the greatest. They also periodically have sales on already reduced-priced items, from an extra 20-50% off. I prefer the brands Staring at Stars, Silence & Noise, Deena & Ozzy, and Ecote.

2. Housing Works This is one of the best thrift shops you’ll probably ever go to. Housing Works is a non-profit charity whose profits go to New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. It also happen to have great deals on everything from apparel to books to home goods. (Someone I know bought a brand new Marc Jacobs bag for just $55 and Prada Shoes for $125.) With student ID, students get 20% off their purchase on Tuesdays! Brand name or no name, its up to you what you choose to buy, but you do not want to not miss out on the great deals this sweet thrift shop has to offer. In addition to purchasing it’s items, you should also think about donating your clothing, shoes, books, artwork, jewelry, or housewares. Sharing is caring!

3. ASOS ASOS is a British online retailer for men and women. It offers a wide array of hipster-y fashionable brands, but some of it’s prices tend to be a bit higher than what you might be looking to spend, so I suggest checking out it’s sale section: Women, Men. To see trends and outfits exhibited on the site, go to it’s Outfit & Looks page. To buy and sell new, pre-owned, and vintage clothing, go to ASOS’ Marketplace.

Dressing like a hipster isn’t just in what you wear; it’s how you wear it, often adding much-needed accessories to create the hipster look. For example, you can wear a white t-shirt with a plaid shirt and skinny jeans and think that’s hipster. Or you can wear that outfit with a fedora, an infinity scarf, a pair of oxfords or Jeffrey Campbell Spike Litas, and a piercing or two or five… and Voila! You’re dressed like a hipster.

If You Want an Inexpensive Breakfast…

Who doesn’t like a good breakfast platter? Please, find me one person who doesn’t. Even vegans can enjoy vegan pancakes and fruit. Breakfast is one of my favorite kinds of foods. Eggs, pancakes, waffles, french toast, yum! The exception: I’m not one for the breakfast meats. No sausage or bacon for me. Go ahead, call me weird. I’m used to it.

Luckily for me, there is a rather inexpensive cafe right across the street from my school called Brown Cup that serves breakfast food all day long. And it actually serves food that tastes like it would cost more in New York. If I am craving an egg platter or pancakes, I go there. For $4.50 (plus tax), I get two eggs any style, home fries, and toast. For $4.00, you get three plain pancakes, and for just a $1.50 more, you can make them strawberry, blueberry, or chocolate chip. (Banana pancakes are only $1 extra.) This is way less expensive than any diner you’d go to and the taste is nothing less than great.

If you’re in the area, I suggest you go to Brown Cup for breakfast food, or for it’s plentiful options of sandwiches and salads. You can make your own sandwich or salad, too! It also serves soups from Hale & Hearty, which are dee-lish! If you’re feeling lazy or don’t have time to pick up food, Brown Cup is also on Seamless.com, a website in which you can order food online for delivery (or take out).

Brown Cup is located at 334 8th Avenue, close to the corner of W. 27th St, in Manhattan.

Deals on Meals (and Other Great Things!)

I must say, New York has just about any kind of food you can think of, thanks to it being the “melting pot” of America. Take a walk down Bleecker Street in the heart of Greenwich Village and you will find an array of places that would eat your money alive if you’d let them. Especially as a college student, it is hard not to want to enjoy these places, but, as a broke college student, it is even harder to say goodbye to half of your paycheck on one night out.

Fortunately, there are some great deals that can be found here in the most expensive city in America. I already talked about Groupon in Looking Nice at Half the Price, but there are also other digital coupon sites that you might be interested in.

LivingSocial is very similar to Groupon in that it gives you heavily discounted prices on your favorite restaurants, getaways, activities, fashion, etc. It seems to me that LivingSocial focuses more on activities and products rather than restaurants. If you want a great deal on food and drinks, you should probably check out Groupon more often. But that’s just my opinion!

Also very popular in the food and drinks category is Tenka. Tenka is a bit different than Groupon and LivingSocial in that it does not require you to pay for the deals in advance. As stated on it’s website,

Tenka lets you redeem great local deals without the burden of paying upfront. Simply add a Tenka deal into your ‘Pocket’ (our smartphone web app), walk into the business and redeem the deal with your smartphone. If you like the deal, share them with your friends and earn money for getting them into the store.

The Cost of… “Living in New York”

As made clear by my previous posts, New York’s cost of living is considerably higher than essentially any place in America. However, the cost of actually living in New York City also must be discussed. In Moving to Manhattan, I explained the differences in rents among the city and to touch upon it a bit more…

Some families choose to sacrifice what they could have in other towns to live in New York. I know a family of 4 living in a one-bedroom apartment. Now, they do live in the heart of the West Village, a dream of many, but I’m sure people usually think the parents would at least want their own bedroom. This family has been doing this since their kids were born, now 8 and 11 years old, and they seem to be perfectly satisfied with their lifestyle. The bedroom consists of a full or queen size bed (I can’t remember which one) for the parents and a bunk bed for the boy and girl.

I don’t know what they rent is, but this is quite the sacrifice to make to live in one of the nation’s most sought-after neighborhoods. They could probably settle for a small house in the surroundings suburbs or get a less expensive, bigger place in a different neighborhood or even borough. I just wonder what will happen when the kids get older and want to bring home their girlfriends/boyfriends… Uh oh.

Looking Nice at Half the Price

How many people can turn down a great deal when they see one? Not many.
How many people are willing to buy much of American Apparel‘s clothing for full price? Not many.

Thankfully, I can now dress myself like a hipster without paying the full price. Groupon, a digital couponing site, had a coupon for the swagalicious brand and you better believe I grabbed it!

Groupon offered a deal in which $100 worth of American Apparel merchandise was yours for just $50. Getting 50% off a $100 purchase? Yes, please! Now I can buy those $82 black Disco Pants (don’t judge the name) I’ve always dreamed of… They go with everything! #dreamcometrue

Check out Groupon for awesome deals near you! It has offerings for everything from clothing to restaurants to spas to vacations! Oh, the possibilities!