How to Dress Like a Hipster When You’re on a Budget

So you want to be cool, huh? Want to be chill and fashionable and look like a New Yorker? Well, unless you love the Upper East Side prep style (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you might just end up looking like one of the many hipsters you see walk around the streets of the city. (If you’ve never been to New York, be prepared when you visit.) I have talked about American Apparel in Looking Nice at Half the Price, but don’t worry! Here are a few more places to shop in aspiration of looking like a hipster:

1. Urban Outfitters This is a no-brainer for America’s fashion conscious, and some may find it overrated sometimes. But I think Urban always has eccentric items no matter what, so you know what? I don’t care if everyone else shops here. Your style is chiefly based on how you put together your clothes and accessories anyway. I usually don’t buy anything full-price here because it will most likely go on sale at some point and the quality of some brands aren’t always the greatest. They also periodically have sales on already reduced-priced items, from an extra 20-50% off. I prefer the brands Staring at Stars, Silence & Noise, Deena & Ozzy, and Ecote.

2. Housing Works This is one of the best thrift shops you’ll probably ever go to. Housing Works is a non-profit charity whose profits go to New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. It also happen to have great deals on everything from apparel to books to home goods. (Someone I know bought a brand new Marc Jacobs bag for just $55 and Prada Shoes for $125.) With student ID, students get 20% off their purchase on Tuesdays! Brand name or no name, its up to you what you choose to buy, but you do not want to not miss out on the great deals this sweet thrift shop has to offer. In addition to purchasing it’s items, you should also think about donating your clothing, shoes, books, artwork, jewelry, or housewares. Sharing is caring!

3. ASOS ASOS is a British online retailer for men and women. It offers a wide array of hipster-y fashionable brands, but some of it’s prices tend to be a bit higher than what you might be looking to spend, so I suggest checking out it’s sale section: Women, Men. To see trends and outfits exhibited on the site, go to it’s Outfit & Looks page. To buy and sell new, pre-owned, and vintage clothing, go to ASOS’ Marketplace.

Dressing like a hipster isn’t just in what you wear; it’s how you wear it, often adding much-needed accessories to create the hipster look. For example, you can wear a white t-shirt with a plaid shirt and skinny jeans and think that’s hipster. Or you can wear that outfit with a fedora, an infinity scarf, a pair of oxfords or Jeffrey Campbell Spike Litas, and a piercing or two or five… and Voila! You’re dressed like a hipster.

What Should Your Future Salary Be?

I just love New York Magazine. It provides me with everything I want to know about New York City, from restaurants to entertainment to politics to fashion. It even has a separate section online for shopping, apart from fashion. How lovely! The writing style is intellectual yet approachable, and if you have a sense of humor, you’ll be sure to catch onto the that of the magazine, as well. Whenever I decide to spend my own money on a magazine subscription and stop mooching off my parents’ regularly delivered issues, New York Magazine will be on the top of my list.

Another thing I love about the publication is their quirky little features, such as it the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cost-of-Living Calculator, which is actually looks somewhat like a game.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cost-of-Living Calculator, NYMag.com

I answered the various questions relating to my lifestyle in “the next 10 years” (I pretended it was going to be the next 15-20 years because I’m only 20 now!). Thanks to good ol’ NY Mag, I now know that I need to earn $1 million to live the life I aspire to have one day in New York City. Can you beat me?

The Cost of… “Living in New York”

As made clear by my previous posts, New York’s cost of living is considerably higher than essentially any place in America. However, the cost of actually living in New York City also must be discussed. In Moving to Manhattan, I explained the differences in rents among the city and to touch upon it a bit more…

Some families choose to sacrifice what they could have in other towns to live in New York. I know a family of 4 living in a one-bedroom apartment. Now, they do live in the heart of the West Village, a dream of many, but I’m sure people usually think the parents would at least want their own bedroom. This family has been doing this since their kids were born, now 8 and 11 years old, and they seem to be perfectly satisfied with their lifestyle. The bedroom consists of a full or queen size bed (I can’t remember which one) for the parents and a bunk bed for the boy and girl.

I don’t know what they rent is, but this is quite the sacrifice to make to live in one of the nation’s most sought-after neighborhoods. They could probably settle for a small house in the surroundings suburbs or get a less expensive, bigger place in a different neighborhood or even borough. I just wonder what will happen when the kids get older and want to bring home their girlfriends/boyfriends… Uh oh.

How Far Does a New York Dollar Go? [Part II]

(This post continues off of my previous one, How Far Does a New York Dollar Go? [Part I].)

If you’re seeking to live a well-off lifestyle in New York City when you get older, you better plan to have a very well paying job and marry rich. (This goes for guys and girls.) A New York Times article called “You Try to Live on 500K in This Town” explains just how expensive New York can be. After calculating costs of private school, mortgage, nanny, and co-op maintenance fees, the article states, “We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.” Now, the expense listed in this article may seem a tad excessive to some, but to many in New York, these things are parts of the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

The Value of a New York Dollar

New York’s high cost of living is partially due to it’s low dollar value. In a New York Magazine article, “The Value of a New York Dollar,” the New York dollar was stated as being worth only 76 cents. That measly amount was calculated back in 2006, was when the article was published. Because of a number of factors, including regulations and zoning, housing caused the dollar’s value to drop 14 cents. Taxes drag its value down 5.6 cents, while basic costs like the higher prices in New York, decrease it even more by 4.4 cents. These are all further explained in the article, as well as the difference in lifestyle costs and wages.

How Far Does a New York Dollar Go? [Part I]

The money you earn and spend in New York does not go as far as it does in other cities. The New York Dollar is, by definition, “calculated by subtracting the additional cost of living in New York, and then adding back the additional income residents tend to command as a result.” It’s common knowledge that the cost of things in large cities are going to be more expensive than in small towns. But do you know just how big this price difference is?

The cost of living in New York City is much higher than it is in other cities. However, the salary one earns in the city also is higher in comparison. (Though, it may not always be high enough to accommodate the difference of cost of living.) For instance, an Information Technology Director living in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, has a median income of $147,493, according to Salary.com, while a person who holds the same position in New York, NY earns a median income of $193,881. To find out how far your salary can go in any city, take a look at the CNN Money Cost of Living Calculator and the PayScale Cost of Living Calculator.

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.”