So maybe you spent your adolescent life feeling the Big City Itch in your white picket-fenced slice of suburbia. Perhaps you watched numerous Sex and the City reruns or one too many Woody Allen flicks, or voraciously devoured the Wall Street Journal every morning before your first period class. Whatever the reason, attendees of New York City’s numerous undergraduate and graduate colleges are arriving in one of the greatest cities in the world with more art galleries, Starbucks-es, cultural happenings, and green-awning delis than any young adult on the brink of full-blown adulthood could possibly dream of.

So now you NYU, Columbia, Touro, and New School-goers may find yourselves confronted with hefty rent costs for a 12×9 closet that you are forced to call “home.”  This is what you get for choosing the City That Never Sleeps as your new place of residency for the next couple of years. But do not let evil otherworldly real estate forces dampen your New York City living experience – decorate your new pad in a manner that saves you space and makes you feel cozy and comfortable.  The Container Store has all sorts of boxes and gadgets that help make any teensy, cluttered apartment or dorm room feel considerably more spacious. For small area rugs for small spaces, order sample-sizes of the larger area rugs offered online at Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, or Pier 1 Imports.  And before you leave your postage-stamp suburban hometown (if you come from such a place), hit up Wal-Mart or Target for bean-bag seating, shag rugs, and bedding at reasonable prices.

And what, might you ask, are your best bets for cheap eats? Obviously fast food and chain restaurants offer filling meals at discount prices, and are constantly seeking to expand their menus. Dunkin Donuts now makes egg flatbread sandwiches and Subway offers salads. But take advantage of New York’s abundance of local pizza joints and bagel shops, which provide cheap and deliciously filling on-the-go meal options. The Halal carts located throughout the city offer delicious Mediterranean eats at low prices – check out the carts on Broadway and W Houston, 41st and Madison, 53rd and 6th avenue, and the famously amazing Halal Cart on 3rd ave between 58th and 59th street- right near Hunter College. These foodcarts provide healthy, filling, and cheap meal options.

Don’t fear the big city with big prices. Through trial and error and a bit of time, you can feel comfortable living and attending school in NYC.

Photo: LicenseAttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by CJ Isherwood