Middle class? What’s that?

So, you want to live in New York City, huh? You want the exciting nightlife that goes past 4am (morninglife?), incredible international cuisines, food at any time of the day/night, a city in which you never get bored, and you crave the chaotic lifestyle the city demands. The question is… Can you afford it?

A couple years ago, the Daily News published an article titled “N.Y.C. So Costly You Need Six Figures to Make Middle Class”, and the information it reveals still holds truth today, (given today’s prices/costs versus those of 2009.) It discusses the findings of a study done by the Center for Urban Future. The report shows just what it means to live in New York, and why middle class here is different than other large cities in America.

“In Manhattan, a $60,000 salary is equivalent
to someone making $26,092 in Atlanta.”

Furthermore, the report claims that a New Yorker would have to make $123,322 a year to maintain the same standard of living as someone who makes $50,000 in Houston.

Yes, the salaries in New York are higher than those in other states, but when you see some of the other factors mentioned in this article, it’s no wonder 24% of New York City residents plan to make their exodus out of the most expensive city in the country (and 32nd in the world). According to “The 12 Most Expensive Cities In America” in Business Insider: The Life, the monthly rent for an unfurnished luxury two-bedroom apartment is $4,300 in New York. This is almost $2000 more than the second most expensive city in America, Los Angeles. In the city of angels, the rent reported for an unfurnished luxury two-bedroom apartment is $2,500. Other prices found in that article are quite interesting…check them out! Also, refer to my previous post, Monthly Money, and to “There is No Manhattan, New York” on thefashionpond.

One more point to make before I start boring you, (as if I haven’t already,) is an experience of my own. Last year, when I went back to my hometown on Long Island during winter break, I went to Target with my mom and bought Dannon Activia Yogurt, which, by the way, is very delicious and nutritious! I highly recommend it. Anyway, a four-pack of this yogurt cost approximately $2 at the Target on Long Island. When I went grocery shopping in the city, the identical four-pack cost around $4. I was shocked when I saw the differences in the two prices! Good thing there’s a Target in Brooklyn

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” Do you think this Frank Sinatra lyric holds truth? Is it worth living here when it is so much more expensive? What’s your take on the finances of New York?

Monthly Money

Ding, Ding, Ding! It has come to my attention that I spent $370.23 during the majority of October. Recreational expenses only, excluding rent.

When my dear mother informed me of this lovely information (thanks, Mom), I took a look at my recent bank statements (thanks, Chase Online Banking). It seems I have been spending that general amount every month of this semester so far, albeit it’s only been three months so far. However, I also looked at my spending while I was in school last year and it practically mirrored what I spend now. Well, at least I’m a consistent spender! (And that doesn’t include cash spending! Yikes!)

I asked my friend, who goes to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, what she and her friends spend monthly on miscellaneous things (excluding integrated university costs like housing and meal plans). Most of her friends are on a meal plan, which, in my opinion, plays a big role in spending. Being on a meal plans means that their spending on off-campus food does not nearly amount to the spending of students in the city without a meal plan. (Then, everything is off-campus.) To prove my point, she said the approximate monthly expenses of she and her friends in Lancaster were $100-150.

Another friend who goes to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, has a different situation. “I don’t have a meal plan that covers my meal costs so if you were to include meals on campus and other expenses such as social events and shopping it’s more like $400. Its kind of a necessity to splurge because I eat vegan most of the time, and that food tends to be more expensive,” explains friend número dos. Healthy items are not always the cheapest. A salad for lunch in New York will usually run you about the same amount my friend pays in St. Louis, $7-10. While some healthier choices may be more expensive, many students are willing to make that sacrifice to better their eating habits.

I have a feeling much of this blog will be about food, since that is where the majority of my money goes. Look forward to raves about chai tea lattes from Starbucks and the necessity of the “half-sandwich.”