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View Full Version : 5 spending diaries - interesting article


disneysteve
10-30-2006, 09:24 PM
http://newyorkmetro.com/guides/money/2006/23490/index.html

This article features a one-week spending diary for 5 people in NYC earning a broad range of incomes. Very interesting snapshot.

allison443
10-30-2006, 09:47 PM
Thanks for posting this! Very interesting! I think spending diaries are a great tool for everyone.
I am from NYC, so the amounts didn't surprise me, but I think a lot of people in other areas might be surprised. Especially how it seems there is so much take out food and eating out.

Danemom
10-30-2006, 10:28 PM
I am from NYC, so the amounts didn't surprise me, but I think a lot of people in other areas might be surprised. Especially how it seems there is so much take out food and eating out.

The amount of eating out is what surprised me - seemed like most of them ate every meal out! I have to say though, even if I earned over a million a year, I could never spend over $500 on dinner out for two people. That's nuts!

Adi12982
10-30-2006, 10:43 PM
WOW - even the student (I guess since mommy and daddy are paying for most of his expenses) was spending recklessly. Sorry, but you should live like a student if you are a student - that means bi-passing starbucks and popping a couple Exedrine Migraine's (a few cents) or a prescription versus spending over a hundred dollars on acupuncture. I mean to each his own, but I think they should spend more responsibly!

dvcgirl
10-31-2006, 08:13 AM
Very interesting!

It was amazing to me to see the spending of the student and the junior professional....way above their means. At the same time it's easy to see how that's possible trying to keep up with the other three "Joneses" in NYC. So much on eating out and on alcohol too!

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 08:24 AM
I agree that the student is overspending, but I really didn't pay much attention to him because his true "income" is far above 20K when you add in parental support. I focused in on the other 4 people.

Just for perspective, I calculated out what percentage of income they each spent during the week.

Weekly spending as a % of income.

$1 million: 0.46%
$700,000: 0.28%
$150,000: 0.35%
$54,000: 1.19%

When you look at it that way, it is actually the guy making 54K who is overspending the most. He is spending 4 times as much of his income as the one earning 700K.

MrsPete
10-31-2006, 09:01 AM
Thanks for posting this! Very interesting! I think spending diaries are a great tool for everyone.
I am from NYC, so the amounts didn't surprise me, but I think a lot of people in other areas might be surprised. Especially how it seems there is so much take out food and eating out.Yes, I did find that surprising, but then the people who bought groceries seemed to pay too much for them too (judging by my Southern standards): one guy spent $20 (and his fiancee spent another $20) on HALF a bag of groceries. I guess it's just really expensive to eat in New York, no matter how you do it.

It did seem to me that these folks were spending way too much eating out -- I mean, $7-10 for a take-out salad? Almost $2 for an apple? Even if the guy is a millionaire, if he eats an apple that often (and that is a good choice), why doesn't he bring in a bag of them on Monday? He's riding in a taxi; it's not like it'd be difficult to haul them through the subway. And the spending on coffee, other drinks, and alcohol seemed way out of proportion to me.

Several had some "big-ticket items" in their weekly spending: Iron Maiden tickets, Lollipop concert tickets, fund-raiser dinner tickets. Those probably wouldn't be every-week purchases.

I think the student and the young professional shocked me the most. These folks can't afford to spend lavishly -- the million-plus professional can. Proportionally, the younger folks are spending more than he is on luxury items like meals out. At first glance, it seems that the third guy -- the mid-level professional -- is most realistic in his spending, though it's still high.


These people would probably be equally shocked by my spending habits. Let's see, what have I spent recently?

Saturday:
Groceries for a family of four: $168, kind of high for us, but it includes canned sodas and snacks for work (so we don't buy $2 apples or $1.50 Diet Cokes), pumpkins for Halloween, and steaks for Dad's birthday dinner
Supplies for oldest daughter's school project: $4
Total: $172

Sunday:
Tithe at church: Won't say, doesn't seem right to discuss
Buffet lunch for me, two kids, great-grandma after church -- Dad left at noon for business trip, so he didn't eat: $35 + tip
Gas: $30
Total: $70

Monday -- no school:
Haircuts for me and one kid: $24
Lunch for me and two kids while running scout errands: $15
Back to grocery store for frozen pizzas and junk food for last-minute kids' sleepover: $25
Badges for scout troop: $12 (will be reimbursed)
Craft supplies for scout troop: $25 (will be reimbursed)
Camp rental for scout troop: $140 (will be reimbursed)
Total: $64 actually out of pocket

Tuesday -- no school:
Nothing spent
Will eat free hot dog dinner at church tonight, then work at Fall Festival carnival; donated lots of candy for the festival earlier, but will pay nothing tonight
Total: $0

Wow -- I seem to be eating away from home a lot too; however, this isn't typical for me. On school days we always "brown bag" it. This represents four no-school days, and I know that I tend to spend MUCH more on no-school days. Dad is out of town on business, so he's eating out every meal, but he's eating on the company's dime -- I won't count that.

MrsPete
10-31-2006, 09:09 AM
I agree that the student is overspending, but I really didn't pay much attention to him because his true "income" is far above 20K when you add in parental support. I focused in on the other 4 people.

Just for perspective, I calculated out what percentage of income they each spent during the week.

Weekly spending as a % of income.

$1 million: 0.46%
$700,000: 0.28%
$150,000: 0.35%
$54,000: 1.19%

When you look at it that way, it is actually the guy making 54K who is overspending the most. He is spending 4 times as much of his income as the one earning 700K.That's an interesting way to look at it.

Without having done the math like you did, I thought the 54K guy was overspending the most, despite the fact that with NY rents, he's almost poverty-level. If this is genuinely typical of his spending, he is spending more than he earns and is accumulating debt (and he doesn't seem to have much to show for it -- at least the 700K earner bought some nice clothes).

Remember, too, that the one-mil guy was supporting a stay-at-home wife and two small children, so it's logical that his spending is higher. The others had no dependants (well, the 150K guy had a fiancee, but I had the impression that she had an income as well).

Disneycrazymom
10-31-2006, 09:32 AM
Makes me appreciate living in the mid west. Our 2 house payment don't add up to the rents of most of these people and ours will be paid off one day!

I also was surprised that the 1,000,000 mom had change to do laundry! I cannot imagine having to go out to do laundry every week. I guess I am spoiled and we don't make near that much!

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 09:49 AM
I don't keep a diary, but let's see how I'm doing so far this week:

Sunday:
Went to Boston Market for dinner, using a coupon and a gift card: $0
Stopped at craft shop. DW and DD both needed yarn: $8.98
Cut my own hair: $0

Monday:
Quick grocery stop, including candy to give out for Halloween: $22

Tuesday (today):
No spending anticipated

So I'm 3 days into the week and have spent a grand total of $31.

mt2
10-31-2006, 11:05 AM
Weekly spending as a % of income.


$700,000: 0.28%

I didn't do the math so I'm going by your numbers but did you include the portion that she is getting reimbursed for? If they are, I don't think those numbers should be included because it is company related.

I think the % should be on what she doesn't get reimbursed for. That would be a more fair % based on personal purchases, don't you think.

NotUrsula
10-31-2006, 11:30 AM
One of the more amusing things in the article is how little the highest-income man really spent when he was not with his wife (not counting the payment to the contractor.) He does have a monster sweet tooth, but I'm guessing that may be his version of stress relief; perhaps he needs it with a dependent wife who spends as freely as his does. He did also take a lot of cabs, but at his earning level time is money; taking cabs makes sense for him.

Another interesting thing is which grocery stores which people chose to shop at. The "poorer" people went to the tonier ones. I don't think of Gristede's as a supermarket, it's really more a gourmet store, IMO. Groceries in general *are* more expensive in NYC, especially in Manhattan; the stores tend to carry only small sizes of most products, because people are carrying the groceries home on foot. (For example, I doubt very many Manhattan grocery stores actually stock 24-pks of soft drinks or 10-lb sacks of apples.) A lot of NY'ers I know rent/borrow a car once a month and drive out to the suburbs to stock up on staples -- which is only a workable system if they actually have space in their apt. to store the stuff.

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 11:40 AM
I didn't do the math so I'm going by your numbers but did you include the portion that she is getting reimbursed for?
No. I only used the part she was actually paying.

MrsPete
10-31-2006, 11:48 AM
One of the more amusing things in the article is how little the highest-income man really spent when he was not with his wife (not counting the payment to the contractor.) He does have a monster sweet tooth, but I'm guessing that may be his version of stress relief; perhaps he needs it with a dependent wife who spends as freely as his does. He did also take a lot of cabs, but at his earning level time is money; taking cabs makes sense for him..It's interesting that a stay-at-home mom puts her twins into a 28K/year preschool (over $1000/child/month for building blocks and crayons?) AND has babysitting costs AND has a cleaning lady. Sure, they can afford it, but those aren't the choices I'd make!

I also found it interesting that the student (who's not supporting himself) has a $140/month gym membership and pays $125/month for cable TV. Don't most colleges have gyms, weight rooms, pools, etc., which the students can use for free? Mine did.Another interesting thing is which grocery stores which people chose to shop at. The "poorer" people went to the tonier ones. I don't think of Gristede's as a supermarket, it's really more a gourmet store, IMO. Groceries in general *are* more expensive in NYC, especially in Manhattan; the stores tend to carry only small sizes of most products, because people are carrying the groceries home on foot. (For example, I doubt very many Manhattan grocery stores actually stock 24-pks of soft drinks or 10-lb sacks of apples.) A lot of NY'ers I know rent/borrow a car once a month and drive out to the suburbs to stock up on staples -- which is only a workable system if they actually have space in their apt. to store the stuff.I'm not familiar with those particular stores, but I've always wondered why people choose to shop at more expensive stores -- canned soup is canned soup, whether you buy it on sale for .50 or pay 1.19 for the exact same brand. My husband says he was guilty of this in college; when he first moved out on his own, he tried shopped at the less expensive grocery store and had trouble paying with a check. He shopped at the fancier store, more expensive store and had no problems, so he continued to shop there -- until I came into the picture and taught him better!

The other links at the end of the article are just as interesting -- especially the 100 service people vs. 100 teachers vs. 100 suits link.

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 12:02 PM
It's interesting that a stay-at-home mom puts her twins into a 28K/year preschool (over $1000/child/month for building blocks and crayons?) AND has babysitting costs AND has a cleaning lady. Sure, they can afford it, but those aren't the choices I'd make!
I'm one who believes that there is more to preschool than building blocks and crayons. I think learning happens younger and younger. My daughter was reading by kindergarten. That wouldn't have happened without preschool. I also think the social interaction and the seperation from mommy is important for kids to develop on their own. I also think that it is good for mommy to have some time away from junior. Some days my wife couldn't wait for me to get home so she could escape and clear her head for an hour or so.

I also found it interesting that the student (who's not supporting himself) has a $140/month gym membership and pays $125/month for cable TV.
Can't argue with you here. I earn several times his income. We exercise at home (spent $700 on a treadmill about 7 years ago). And we pay $10.35/month for cable.

MrsPete
10-31-2006, 12:12 PM
I'm one who believes that there is more to preschool than building blocks and crayons. I think learning happens younger and younger. My daughter was reading by kindergarten. That wouldn't have happened without preschool. I also think the social interaction and the seperation from mommy is important for kids to develop on their own. I also think that it is good for mommy to have some time away from junior. Some days my wife couldn't wait for me to get home so she could escape and clear her head for an hour or so.


Can't argue with you here. I earn several times his income. We exercise at home (spent $700 on a treadmill about 7 years ago). And we pay $10.35/month for cable.My daughters both read before kindergarten and both are excellent students now, though neither attended preschool. Both of them had LOTS of preschool type activities at home: lots of books, lots of puzzles and blocks, lots of craft projects, lots of simple science projects. I definitely see the value in the activities, but I don't see that it's worth $1000+/month to do what mom could easily do at home.

I also remember NEEDING time away from the kids, NEEDING a break -- especially if the kids are just barely three years old -- but preschool PLUS a babysitter? How much time could she have left with them each day?

dvcgirl
10-31-2006, 12:29 PM
My daughters both read before kindergarten and both are excellent students now, though neither attended preschool. Both of them had LOTS of preschool type activities at home: lots of books, lots of puzzles and blocks, lots of craft projects, lots of simple science projects. I definitely see the value in the activities, but I don't see that it's worth $1000+/month to do what mom could easily do at home.

I also remember NEEDING time away from the kids, NEEDING a break -- especially if the kids are just barely three years old -- but preschool PLUS a babysitter? How much time could she have left with them each day?

Well, remember, even though these folks are making a cool million a year in salary, they live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan....where probably everyone is making a similar income. And not only do these folks have their kids in very expensive pre-schools, but many have live-in au-pairs. I think it must just seem "normal" to them because everyone in their very small world is living the same way. Did you see their share of the meal out with friends? Their share of the check with two other couples was $520. A dinner for six for $1500 with tip....they have very wealthy friends too. And they are all likely living the same lifestyle....

I thought the guy making 54K is in the biggest trouble though. My DH and I make considerably more than that and spend far less on groceries and spending money each week. He'd better hope his goes from a junior to a senior professional really quick ;).

We make a lot more than the fund-raiser too....and spend a lot less then he does as well, but we didn't see what his fiance' earns, so it wasn't the whole picture.

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 12:30 PM
I definitely see the value in the activities, but I don't see that it's worth $1000+/month to do what mom could easily do at home.

I also remember NEEDING time away from the kids, NEEDING a break -- especially if the kids are just barely three years old -- but preschool PLUS a babysitter? How much time could she have left with them each day?
I agree with you, but at the same time, I recognize that not all moms are cut out for the "home preschool" type of activities. Some kids are far better off in preschool. As for the price, somehow that doesn't surprise me when talking about NYC. In no possible way do I mean to imply that kids who don't do preschool aren't getting good educations. I know you can give the kid everything he needs without paying someone else to do it for you, if that's what you are comfortable doing. Personally, we did a little of both. DW was a SAHM but we still sent DD to preschool part-time. I think there was benefit to both paths.

As for the babysitting, not trying to defend that, but I suspect there is more to the story there. Folks who are earning $1 million are often involved in societal events that most of us don't even know exist. For example, the diary had $650 for charity ball tickets. I'm sure there was a babysitting bill when they were out at that event.

These are usually the types of people who are on the board of trustees for charities, hospitals, private schools, etc. I have friends like this. They live in Central Jersey. Husband works for a major financial company in Manhattan. She's on their synagogue executive board. He is on the parent advisory board for son's private school. Or my cousins in CT. He is a financial analyst in Manhattan. She is a successful Ob-Gyn. They have 3 kids and have had a nanny/au pair since day one. They spend a lot of time together as a family, but also spend a lot of time apart (by my standards and probably yours). But the parents are very active and involved in their communities, professional organizations, charities, etc. It is just a different lifestyle and mindset than many of us are accustomed to. Not saying it is right or wrong, just different. But not at all unusual in their local areas.

ETA: Looks like dvcgirl was making the same point while I was typing. ;)

punkin
10-31-2006, 12:32 PM
My daughters both read before kindergarten and both are excellent students now, though neither attended preschool. Both of them had LOTS of preschool type activities at home: lots of books, lots of puzzles and blocks, lots of craft projects, lots of simple science projects. I definitely see the value in the activities, but I don't see that it's worth $1000+/month to do what mom could easily do at home.

I also remember NEEDING time away from the kids, NEEDING a break -- especially if the kids are just barely three years old -- but preschool PLUS a babysitter? How much time could she have left with them each day?

Let me explain. This is Manhattan. The children have to be in the right pre-school so they can get accepted into the right kindergarten so they can get into the right prep school so they can get into the right college. If they are not in the right pre-school, you may as well call them failures at 3yo.

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 12:36 PM
Let me explain. This is Manhattan. The children have to be in the right pre-school so they can get accepted into the right kindergarten so they can get into the right prep school so they can get into the right college. If they are not in the right pre-school, you may as well call them failures at 3yo.
Manhattan could just as well be a foreign country for how different the culture is when compared to the vast majority of the rest of the US. Life is truly different there (for better or worse).

I'd be willing to bet that $1,000/month preschool has a waiting list a mile long. Parents probably sign up right after their child is born, or maybe even before.

NotUrsula
10-31-2006, 01:04 PM
For those who don't know about the Upper East/West Side preschool admissions wars, this might shed some light: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=1915973&page=1

Or this one, for a local perspective: http://www.nysun.com/article/39063

Or this profile of the 92nd St. Y preschool in an education press article: http://www.educationupdate.com/archives/2005/Dec/html/spot-92ndsty.htm

I once did some consulting work for the 92nd Street Y. It's not like any other YM-YWHA in the country. Among other things, there is a regular schedule of classical performances there that is only a tiny notch below what you would find at Lincoln Center. The preschool has a large staff, and while I'm not absolutely sure of it, I think that every teacher there has a master's in ECE.

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 01:27 PM
Very interesting articles NotUrsula. Thanks for posting them.

YachtClubWoman
10-31-2006, 01:32 PM
Manhattan could just as well be a foreign country for how different the culture is when compared to the vast majority of the rest of the US. Life is truly different there (for better or worse).
.

this was going to be my point - Manhattan and the midwest cannot be compared as "apples to apples"

Hedy
10-31-2006, 02:06 PM
this was going to be my point - Manhattan and the midwest cannot be compared as "apples to apples"
Seriously, while I think a lot of activities can be viewed as universal (my coworkers think I come from some strange lunch-bringing planet), Manhattan is it's own brand of crazy.

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 02:41 PM
Manhattan is it's own brand of crazy.
But we mean that lovingly to all you New Yorkers! :crazy:

I love visiting New York but I don't think I could ever live there.

Hedy
10-31-2006, 02:54 PM
But we mean that lovingly to all you New Yorkers! :crazy:

I love visiting New York but I don't think I could ever live there.
Agreed. DM is from the city (Queens) but I could never live there, but I adore visiting.

perdidobay
10-31-2006, 03:11 PM
What gets me is that the 1M couple have about 1K in monthly car costs, but they don't ever seem to use it based on all the cab fares. Is that typical for a New Yorker with a car???

I'm just glad I don't live in NYC (or anywhere else with that many people)

disneysteve
10-31-2006, 03:27 PM
What gets me is that the 1M couple have about 1K in monthly car costs, but they don't ever seem to use it based on all the cab fares. Is that typical for a New Yorker with a car???
Yes. Very typical. One of my college roommates was from Queens. He had a car and rented a garage space for it (about 2 blocks from his house). He was paying something like $400/month for the space, and that was in the late 1980s. I'm sure the same space today is twice that. So just parking can be hundreds of dollars and that doesn't count gas, insurance, parking when you drive somewhere else, maintenance and car payments.

That's why so few New Yorkers own cars.

ladysoleil
10-31-2006, 03:29 PM
Another interesting thing is which grocery stores which people chose to shop at. The "poorer" people went to the tonier ones. I don't think of Gristede's as a supermarket, it's really more a gourmet store, IMO. Groceries in general *are* more expensive in NYC, especially in Manhattan; the stores tend to carry only small sizes of most products, because people are carrying the groceries home on foot. (For example, I doubt very many Manhattan grocery stores actually stock 24-pks of soft drinks or 10-lb sacks of apples.) A lot of NY'ers I know rent/borrow a car once a month and drive out to the suburbs to stock up on staples -- which is only a workable system if they actually have space in their apt. to store the stuff.

I don't know about the foofy factor- it depends. Generally, due to the having to schlep things factor, you go to the closest store.

And when I was living in Manhattan, Gristedes were everywhere. They may be nicer stores uptown, but I wouldn't term it a "gourmet" store, I'd call it a filthy bodega at best, with a crappy selection and free vermin with your can of tuna, at least at the location I was stuck shopping at. (Not kidding. Went to buy a can of tuna there once and my hand landed on the glue trap on the shelf behind the tuna fish. The trap was...occupied.)

After that, I sucked it up and hauled my granny cart the 10 blocks to the Food Emporium by Union Square. Still obscenely overpriced, but at least not obviously vermin infested.

One of the other things people are curious about is the amount of eating out. I cooked a lot when I lived there, but I was considered a rather odd duck. Groceries are expensive and cheap takeout/interesting food is everywhere. Sometimes it actually was cheaper to eat a simple meal out than it was to round up the ingredients to cook it. Factor in the hassle of cooking in a kitchenette, and most people say "forget it".

I do keep a running jot down list of my spending, so for fun I may post mine at the end of this week.

NotUrsula
10-31-2006, 03:31 PM
What gets me is that the 1M couple have about 1K in monthly car costs, but they don't ever seem to use it based on all the cab fares. Is that typical for a New Yorker with a car???

For that part of Manhattan, I'd say yes. Personal cars have a tendency to stay garaged except when driven out of the city on weekends. People who live in the other boroughs are more likely to drive personal cars fairly often, though seldom into Manhattan, because, again, parking in Manhattan is prohibitively expensive.

IME, most people who live in Manhattan rent cars when they need them, that is, if they have a license. (A fairly large number of native NY'ers don't know how to drive or don't have a valid DL.) It's generally just too expensive to pay to park a car long-term, not to mention the cost of insuring it.

SleepyatDVC
10-31-2006, 03:49 PM
What gets me is that the 1M couple have about 1K in monthly car costs, but they don't ever seem to use it based on all the cab fares. Is that typical for a New Yorker with a car???

I'm just glad I don't live in NYC (or anywhere else with that many people)


Ahhhh... but the car is for trips OUTSIDE the city! MOST NYCers don't use their cars WITHIN the city at least on a day to day basis. Parking is a KILLER.

If one DOES drive into or in the city and chooses to look for free or metered parking, we have to add 30-45 minutes to our schedule. So, if the trip is 15 minutes by car, then we have to leave 45-60 minutes prior. Lol.

If you do decide to pay for parking, midtown parking is even crazier - around $15-$20 for 1/2 hour! Add an additional 20% penalty - ummm, I mean taxes to the parking tab. :crazy: I do think think there is a maximum daily rate of around $48.

Subway or cab is DEFINITELY quickier and less expensive within the city. Even if you had $$ to blow for parking, it takes TIME for the attendent to get your car, then you drive in traffic, then you have to find a parking garage that isn't full, then you wait for the parking attendent to take your car and give you a ticket, THEN you still probably have to walk 3 blocks to your meeting because who in the world is ever lucky enough to find a garage so close by?

Monthly parking rates in the city RIVAL monthly housing rates in other parts of the country. It costs many Manhattanites about $550 to $900 just to PARK their cars in a garage. Not using a garage means you have to move your car every single day because of street cleaning. Many areas do not permit street parking during business hours so you might even have to move your car several zip codes! Lol!

We're up in Bronx so we are lucky that we only have to pay $170 per month to garage our car and it is worth every single penny. We use to park on the street and I shudder in memory of having to move it every day, trying to find parking after an evening out, getting covered in snow, and then totally snowed in when the street plows came through. Eeekkk.

NotUrsula
10-31-2006, 04:06 PM
It's been a while since I lived in NYC, and I just checked up on Gristede's. You're right--they have apparently gone downhill since they expanded widely. In my day they were not all over town, and were very much an uptown status store. My bad for using an out-of-date judgement. (My friends and I don't discuss grocery store reputations often enough, I guess.)

I also agree about the eating out--when your entire kitchen fits inside a small closet, cooking in a serious way can be a tad difficult. (The development guy in the story did seem to be drinking a disproportionate number of his meals.)

EthansMom
10-31-2006, 04:24 PM
Wow, the Grad Student's spending was outrageous! He spends more per month on cable and rent than the guy making $54k and more on his gym membership than the person making $150k... it must be nice having parents who are willing to pay the bills.

The guy who makes $54,000 a year looks like he's spending pretty much every dime he makes, but at least he's not doing it on Mommy and Daddy's back. He could be doing a lot better if he'd cut down on the alcoholic drinks and cigarrettes.

SleepyatDVC
10-31-2006, 04:49 PM
Thanks for the link to the article Disneysteve. Very interesting. I was a bit disappointed over their spending habits but NOT surprised.

When DH was at his last job at a small company, he was the only one to brown bag lunch. He likes to work through lunch so he ate at his desk. It was usually a cold lunch because his big boss didn't like the "smell" of food heating up in the microwave - so there was NO microwave. Everyone else usually ate OUT of the office - probably at $7-$10 a pop.

At his new job, DH now has lots of co-workers more his age with similar interests. Most of his dept. comes in early and stays late and works hard. Their only break is lunch. A group of them usually have lunch out at least once a week and they take out the rest of the week. They also go out for drinks after work on Fridays about once every 6 weeks.

Let's just say that DH has been spending quite a LOT of cash on lunch and coffee since he started his new job about 8 months ago. :faint: EVERYONE in his office does. I have talked to him about it so that he can be more conscious of the $$ flowing out. But this new job came with a 30% salary increase over his old one and he just got an 8% raise after his review. :cheer2: So... I cut him some slack on his extra "latte factor." :rolleyes1 He does works extremely hard with extremely long hours most days so food has become an outlet.

He did decide to cut down on the lunches and maybe brown bag a few days but definitely wants to keep the lunch out once a week at around $15-$20 pp.

He has gotten quite close with some of his co-workers and they seem to talk about a lot of personal stuff. They talk about how much they pay in rent and other spending habits. It does seem that the folks that live IN Manhattan seem to spend a lot more in eating out and cab fare. Some live close enough to walk but still cab it in the morning to work, although, they do walk home in the evening.

Even among co-workers in the same company, there is a definite difference in life style between those that live IN the city and those that live in the suburbs.

I also read the other articles linked on the bottom. I found the article about the man who earned $676 bi-weekly very interesting. It really is really hard to live in NY and not earn enough money. I thought he blew a lot of his money (sleeping at a movie?) but understand that it becomes a vicious cycle after a while to some people where making a real change seems unattainable so they don't even try, they just survive from day to day, pay check to pay check.

He's NEVER gonna be able to rent an apartment on his own. Even if he scrapes up the $$ for the 1st month's rent and one month's security deposit, he not be able to afford rent of $700-$900 per month, Since he will probably never have such a large lump sum ($676 @ paycheck), the rent money will be gone before the 2nd check and the rent will go unpaid and he will eventually get evicted (maybe after 5-6 months of rent free living) and then he will never be eligible to rent an apartment in the city ever again. Most if not all landlords will check housing court records for eviction proceedings against prospective tenants and if there ever was one they won't touch that tenant with a 10 foot pole. :sad2: Much worse than bad credit or bankruptcy (although those are bad too) Hard for someone who actually are really trying to turn things around financially.

Genie600
10-31-2006, 04:52 PM
Let me explain. This is Manhattan. The children have to be in the right pre-school so they can get accepted into the right kindergarten so they can get into the right prep school so they can get into the right college. If they are not in the right pre-school, you may as well call them failures at 3yo.The Good Lord knew what He was doing when he placed me square in the South. I'd never make it among that kind of foolishness. Hmmm. Maybe that's why so many New Yorkers come down here for college; they missed preschool.

katerkat
10-31-2006, 05:55 PM
One of the other things people are curious about is the amount of eating out. I cooked a lot when I lived there, but I was considered a rather odd duck. Groceries are expensive and cheap takeout/interesting food is everywhere. Sometimes it actually was cheaper to eat a simple meal out than it was to round up the ingredients to cook it. Factor in the hassle of cooking in a kitchenette, and most people say "forget it".

No kidding! My husband went to training and lived in a room with a microwave. His "dining out" expenses were four times as much as when we're together. 17 meals in 35 days charged to the credit card, God only knows how many he paid in cash. (On the upside, the grocery bill was down. :rolleyes: ) Luckily the Air Force is reimbursing us way more than he spent, otherwise...let's just say his credit cards wouldn't be going on the next training mission. ;)

ladysoleil
11-01-2006, 10:55 AM
It's been a while since I lived in NYC, and I just checked up on Gristede's. You're right--they have apparently gone downhill since they expanded widely. In my day they were not all over town, and were very much an uptown status store. My bad for using an out-of-date judgement. (My friends and I don't discuss grocery store reputations often enough, I guess.)

I also agree about the eating out--when your entire kitchen fits inside a small closet, cooking in a serious way can be a tad difficult. (The development guy in the story did seem to be drinking a disproportionate number of his meals.)

From what I'm told, Gristedes used to be rather nice, now they're more along the line of Key Food or C-Town or other urban "supermarkets". I'd raise an eyebrow at people doing their grocery shopping at Dean & DeLuca or Citerella, but the big G has indeed gone way downhill, and I would argue that D'Ag isn't high end anymore either.

I cooked like mad in my closet kitchen- it can be done, I managed Thanksgiving dinner for 8 in a microkitchen, but it was tough!

I was very broke and did what I needed to do to live there. For perspective, I was bringing home about $27K at the time, and was single, with roommates. I didn't have much to live on. I would bring back as many non-perishable groceries as I could carry when I went to visit my folks in Jersey, and I admit a few times when I was super broke and the Shoprite was doing triple coupons, my roommate and I would take the train over to Jersey City with a grocery cart (yay 24 hour supermarket!), do a massive coupon run, and painfully lug the spoils back to our downtown apartment. I think we made money on that trip, actually, I was a coupon fiend in the days. Those are things that truthfully, almost no one would bother to do.

The drinking- yeah, I have to say that I'm frugal and a light drinker and I even get hit with that, in my line of work, going out for drinks after work is common and something that you just are expected to do, on your own dime. Meeting friends for coffee/drinks adds up fast, too (remember- a lot of people don't have enough living space to entertain, so you're going out a lot). I probably spend $30 or so a week on that kind of thing, easily. Which sounds like an insane amount of money, but it's a *LOT* less than what other people I know spend, trust me.

I managed almost a year living in the city, and then I packed it in. I just couldn't afford to make ends meet without doing without both needs and wants, and realized I'd be able to live within my means if I could get somewhere with a lower cost of living. I was spending every dime I made and not even getting by. I don't regret doing it, living in NYC was a great experience and I loved it, but it was time to do other things. I still work here, so I get my fix daily anyway. ;)

On the bright side, when I travel and people complain about how expensive food/drink/entertainment is, I usually just smile big because I'm getting a bargain!