Shopping Guide to New York City

Leading a frugal life here in New York City, I’ve learned how to best maximize my hard earned dollars while using my acquired skills in discount shopping. A lot of friends, mostly women, and other caring acquaintances have shared me some wonderful tips on where to do discount shopping here in NYC. As such, I suggest you ask first the locals where they do their shopping here, before you venture into your own. You will have more savings (and more cash to spend on your other activities, of which NYC has a lot to offer).

There’s still no WALMART anywhere in the city, but if you need to get into one, just CROSS THE RIVER TO GET TO NEW JERSEY, where a few branches can be found. However, there are at least 2 big COSTCO stores located in NYC, where you find some interesting items to meet your discount shopping needs.

“99 Cents Stores & the BODEGA”
We start with “99cents store,” which any shopper in the city may have been into at least once. Most are run by Asians, (primarily Koreans, Chinese), Hispanics, Eastern Europeans, and Middle Eastern people. Some friends have told me that 99 cents stores in other states have more variety, though. Almost every neighborhood in NYC has a 99-cent store found in it, that is almost always near the residential buildings where people live. Try to hold on to your dollar for anything that you think you need; check out first the prices from these discount stores just for comparison. Chances are, you’ll get a better deal. The most prominent among these 99-cent stores is “Jack’s 99 Cent Store,” that has at least 3 branches in Manhattan (as far as I have checked out). It even has a store in a building that has at least 3 floors somewhere along 32nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, close to the Penn Station, and that’s less than 2 blocks away from the original store of Macy’s (where, as you may have known, you see goods sold, most times, at more regular prices). You will be surprised at the variety of merchandise found here.

You will also see many stores that are called “Bodega” (Warehouse) by Hispanics, somewhere in neighborhoods like Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and certain neighborhoods in the Bronx. It’s important to check out first the prices, particularly for staples, as some of them are known to have less than competitive prices.

“CHINATOWN STALLS”
Or you may want to venture in the many stores found in Chinatown, which some locals here refer to those neighborhoods located in each of those communities largely lived in by Asians (Chinese-descent, surely) in the five boroughs. There’s a big Chinatown in Manhattan, as well as in Queens (Flushing, which is much bigger than the one in Manhattan), which are the best known neighborhoods for discount shopping. Although, I am getting to start to believe that the one in Flushing seems to offer more variety in the offerings found in its stores. In both neighborhoods, you will discover that there is a veritable array of retail stores offering practically anything you need, such that you will be dumbfounded by the choices. Prices, of most items found here, are just very affordable.

“UP-SCALE DISCOUNT STORES”
We also have the discount stores being maintained for the so-called upper scale shoppers who prefer mostly branded goods and items. They include Century 21, Syms, Loehmann’s, DSW, Telco Discount Stores, Filene’s Basement, TJ Maxx, Kmart, Lord and Taylor, Daffy’s, and even Barney’s (where you see heavily discounted designer goods in its warehouse store somewhere in Chelsea). Check online their locations and offerings before you go shopping, as you may have better deals in some locations. As much as possible, do your shopping on weekdays, if you have the time, as these stores are loaded with people during weekends (depending, on the season, or ongoing events offered by each store).

“THRIFT STORE SHOPPING”
You may also go thrift store shopping in the city. Leading the pack among these stores in this category is Housing Works. It is run mainly by volunteers, and contributes its earnings to AIDs related causes and projects. Check its website, and you’d be bowled over by the number of locations it has all over NYC. You would note that prices of previously-owned (or simply “second-hand”) goods here may be pricier than those found in Salvation Army or Goodwill Thrift stores (they are also found in many locations in NYC). They even have brand new items from known designers (presumably donated here to gain some tax benefits). There are other smaller thrift stores that dot the city map, which include City Opera Thrift Shop, Angel Street Thrift Shop, Vintage Thrift Shop, Beacon’s Closet, among others. These names would usually be suggested by others about discount shopping.

Most of the more prominent stores cited above have websites where you can actually do some shopping, or even participate in a bidding for items you’d love to have. Again, check out other sites online where reviews are made and contributed by people who have been to these stores. Depending on the items that you need, almost all of the stores mentioned carry a variety of stuff being retailed at least by 25% discount. You will just have to endure being with crowds as most stores are packed (by both people and goods). Also, you will seldom see a store in NYC that does not maximize the use of its available space. Inventory of goods may be seen practically stocked everywhere (often times visible to shoppers). Decide on buying now, as chances are, the next time you show up, these goods won’t be around anymore (turnover is usually fast, seemingly, or goods will have to be brought to other stores and locations, or even sold to other smaller discount stores for resale). NYC’s discount shopping experience has always been known to be far from boring. It always promises to be fabulous, and can actually be affordable (i.e. relatively, given the high costs of living in this city).