Hostel prices via http://www.hostelworld.com/ can be as cheap as 28 USD/night in NYC! Expect these hostels to be a short metro ride out of the city, but think about all the cool people you’ll get to meet and all the cash you’ll be saving!
If you are travelling with a group of people, airbnb might be your best option! You could find an entire aparment and split the cost between the group. Of course, you could also stay in an airbnb by yourself or as a couple. I love this option because you get to experience what living in a real NYC apartment is like! Take you pick at https://www.airbnb.com
3. Budget Hotels
If you’re not ready to commit to staying in a hostel, or at some strangers apartment then your best option is to find a budget hotel, and in NYC there are many to chose from! The Guardian has compiled a great list of their top budget hostels and B&Bs in NYC: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/feb/24/readers-tips-new-york-budget-hotels
I have stayed in Pod 39 before and it was everything I needed! Be prepared for a very tiny, yet functional room.
This hotel had a restaurant/bar in the lobby, was right in the heart of NYC and it even had a rooftop bar with beautiful views of the city.
My personal favourite, and the cheapest of all: sleeping on someones couch, for free. Sign up, for free. Find an apartment that is suitable for you, with a host that seems to have similar interests or that you could get along with, for free. In NYC there are 126, 108 hosts that just want to meet some cool travellers, show them the city, and let them crash on their couch. Did I mention that it’s free? Like free, free. Like you will not have to pay for your accomodation, free. https://www.couchsurfing.com
Enjoy the magic of the city,