A Lot of Food for Little Money

(Try to) take a step inside the miniature-sized Taim Falafel & Smoothie Bar and you’ll find yourself savoring the aroma and trying to hold your drool in as you look at the delicious menu. What’s even more is that Taim, pronounced tie-EEM, is affordable, healthy, and fresh! And even if you’ve never tried Middle Eastern food, you’re going to want to after reading this.

If you don’t know what falafel is, don’t worry! I’ll tell ya! Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty typically made from ground chickpeas, which means…hello, high protein! Falafel is very commonly eaten in the form of a sandwich, enclosed in a pita usually with other things like hummus, tahini, tabbouleh, Israeli salad, and pickled vegetables. And let me tell you, Taim’s falafel sandwiches are huge, affordable ($5.75) and come in three different flavors.

Attention Health Freaks:
1. Do not be scared away by the words “deep-fried.”
2. Taim is vegan and vegetarian friendly!
3. Taim’s falafel is gluten-free!
4. Taim is also Kosher.

Not only is Taim known for it’s amazing, ginormous falafel sandwiches, but it also makes rich, flavorful smoothies and drinks of things you probably wouldn’t think to blend together. Taim is loved for it’s unique specialty Date-Lime-Banana smoothie, Strawberry-Raspberry-Thai Basil, Pear-Mint- Lemon smoothie, and Ginger-Mint Lemonade. If these don’t sound good to you, your tastebuds will tell you differently. It also serves falafel platters and sides like french fries and babaganoush, an eggplant-based spread, (my favorite).

Taim is located at 222 Waverly Place at 7th Avenue in the West Village. If you’re not usually in that area, be sure to check out Taim Mobile. (Yes, the mouth-watering restaurant has it’s own food truck!)

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Deals on Meals (and Other Great Things!)

I must say, New York has just about any kind of food you can think of, thanks to it being the “melting pot” of America. Take a walk down Bleecker Street in the heart of Greenwich Village and you will find an array of places that would eat your money alive if you’d let them. Especially as a college student, it is hard not to want to enjoy these places, but, as a broke college student, it is even harder to say goodbye to half of your paycheck on one night out.

Fortunately, there are some great deals that can be found here in the most expensive city in America. I already talked about Groupon in Looking Nice at Half the Price, but there are also other digital coupon sites that you might be interested in.

LivingSocial is very similar to Groupon in that it gives you heavily discounted prices on your favorite restaurants, getaways, activities, fashion, etc. It seems to me that LivingSocial focuses more on activities and products rather than restaurants. If you want a great deal on food and drinks, you should probably check out Groupon more often. But that’s just my opinion!

Also very popular in the food and drinks category is Tenka. Tenka is a bit different than Groupon and LivingSocial in that it does not require you to pay for the deals in advance. As stated on it’s website,

Tenka lets you redeem great local deals without the burden of paying upfront. Simply add a Tenka deal into your ‘Pocket’ (our smartphone web app), walk into the business and redeem the deal with your smartphone. If you like the deal, share them with your friends and earn money for getting them into the store.

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.

Looking Nice at Half the Price

How many people can turn down a great deal when they see one? Not many.
How many people are willing to buy much of American Apparel‘s clothing for full price? Not many.

Thankfully, I can now dress myself like a hipster without paying the full price. Groupon, a digital couponing site, had a coupon for the swagalicious brand and you better believe I grabbed it!

Groupon offered a deal in which $100 worth of American Apparel merchandise was yours for just $50. Getting 50% off a $100 purchase? Yes, please! Now I can buy those $82 black Disco Pants (don’t judge the name) I’ve always dreamed of… They go with everything! #dreamcometrue

Check out Groupon for awesome deals near you! It has offerings for everything from clothing to restaurants to spas to vacations! Oh, the possibilities!