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Old 12-18-2014, 12:24 PM   #21
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In a similar boat. I live in Williamsburg in a rent stabilized apartment. My rent is similar to yours. But recognize, that our rent is VERY low compared to most urban professional. I do not know anyone that pays as little as I do (who doesn't live in a really undesirable area). It is very difficult to find an affordable apartment in NYC, but if you put a lot of effort into the search, it is possible. The problem is that the search is so time pressured that people end up giving up and stretching their budgets.

I agree though. If you have low rent and don't get caught up in an expensive NYC lifestyle, you can save a lot of money in NYC. Especially because NYC salaries tend to be hire to account for higher cost of living.

But the way NYC becomes expensive is when people don't think about their spending in social settings. Going to a friend's birthday dinner, grabbing drinks, take out, taking a cab, buying tickets to an event etc. If your social circles revolve around these activities, it is really hard to avoid spending.

My biggest challenge is family planning and education. I don't know how child expenses will impact my early retirement plan. Here is an area where NYC and BK can get unaffordable really fast.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:39 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
So you and roomie are paying $1600/mo in Williamsburg? Good going. It would be very hard to impossible to get a 2 bedroom apt in a reasonably safe central Seattle Neighborhood for that.

I live in a 700 sq ft one bedroom "urban hip" no car needed neighborhood in Seattle, a much less expensive city than yours. When I moved in 3 years ago a couple were paying $1250/mo in the place I bought. These apts are going quite a bit more expensively now.

I don't understand this, but no matter, congratulations on your success.

Ha
I agree that sounds much cheaper than I would expect. And I was surprised when he said rents in Chicago would me 'much cheaper'. But if that's what he's paying, that's it I guess. I'm just surprised.

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Old 12-18-2014, 08:35 PM   #23
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bbb,
It sounds like you have your expenses under control and have discovered some inexpensive entertainment. If you are enjoying the city, then stick with it! When it stops working for you, then consider other options.

For 33 years, I lived in a rent stabilized apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Very cheap rent in a nice neighborhood. This allowed me to save a lot. I also didn't get caught up in an extravagant life style, but still enjoyed the city. Three years ago, I bought a co-op in Manhattan. So it is possible to accumulate enough to buy, even with a modest income (by NYC standards).

I have to say that your rent is dirt cheap. I know many young people new to the city who pay WAY more. If you can keep your apartment at a reasonable price for a number of years, you can really increase your nestegg.
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:57 PM   #24
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Splitting a 700 sf 2 BR apartment for $800 each sounds crazy expensive compared to what I'm accustomed to (in North Carolina). However that's probably standard rent (or even cheap) for NYC.

I guess you can save by not owning a car and only paying $112/mo for a transit pass. For a single person, it sounds like you might not save a whole lot by moving to a lower COL area.

Although you could probably buy outright a 700 sf 2 BR condo, apartment, or townhome in many southeastern cities for $50-75k if you weren't too picky about neighbors and neighborhood. Get a roommate like you do now and your mortgage would be covered by their rent (= almost free housing).

$300 on food and dining out seems steep, but maybe that's a lot of bar tabs? We average about half that in our household but we have economies of scale (5 of us). We mostly cook at home. Almost never drink alcohol at bars and restaurants (that's why we have a house with big open spaces and a big yard on the lake).

Overall I would guess you could have a similar lifestyle (except own a car) and maybe save $600/mo by living in a lower COL area. Cars can be awesome if you're traveling over a mile or so or need to haul a bunch of stuff. And in the wintertime, it's nice and cozy after a few minutes of warming up. I rarely use my car and walk most places since everything is within a mile or so, but when it's raining or really hot/cold, I don't mind indulging in a little car driving!
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Old 12-19-2014, 12:03 AM   #25
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$300 on food and dining out seems steep, but maybe that's a lot of bar tabs? We average about half that in our household but we have economies of scale (5 of us). We mostly cook at home. Almost never drink alcohol at bars and restaurants (that's why we have a house with big open spaces and a big yard on the lake).
You spend $150 a month for food for five? That is impressive as it is only a $1 a day per person for 3 meals. What kind of meals do you make in a day?
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:19 AM   #26
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You spend $150 a month for food for five? That is impressive as it is only a $1 a day per person for 3 meals. What kind of meals do you make in a day?

My guess is he was talking per person... so $750/mth total...


I have a family of 4 and we are closer to $1,000/mth total.... but I know we could be cheaper if DW would shop smarter and not buy 'fresh' everything...
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:24 AM   #27
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Re:

To add more clarity to the housing situation, it's possible my apartment is rent stabilized (I don't know, I just pay my half to the guy who was already living there, he's been in this apt for 7 years). The interior of my apartment is not really very nice, but this is something that's not important to me. What mattered:

1. A true 2 bedroom with a room big enough to fit a queen bed.
2. The neighborhood is just wicked cool and close to everything.
3. No lease or broker's fee.

While it is a good deal, it's not as though this is earth-shattering. During my search I found a huge, nice two bedroom for $925 each in Greenpoint (right next to Williamsburg), a couple bedrooms for $700 in Bushwick, and bedrooms for $675 and $725 in Astoria. I'd have done the $675 except it had a lease/fee double whammy, but I like Astoria as well.

The key is to just see a lot of places. I had 5 days to find a home when I got to NYC, and I saw at least 4 places a day. Go on Craigslist and set your max budget and you should be able to find something if you're flexible.

Quote:
Splitting a 700 sf 2 BR apartment for $800 each sounds crazy expensive compared to what I'm accustomed to (in North Carolina).
Well yeah. This is obvious. Again, space is not important as long as I have a minimal amount. I have a friend that splits a 3 BR townhouse for $330 each in Raleigh, so I don't doubt I could save a bunch on rent. But wouldn't a car give most of the savings back? There's no way I could go carless there, and that area is a pretty big drop in QOL right now.

Quote:
$300 on food and dining out seems steep, but maybe that's a lot of bar tabs?
I spend ~$100 per month on alcohol. That's $25 per week or just 3-4 drinks. It's common for people my age to spend $100 per week, but fortunately I don't get much utility out of alcohol.

I also spend ~$30-40 month on coffee, because I do many of my meetups/networking/dates at coffee shops. It's about the cheapest way to hang out with someone indoors.

So food is pretty close to $150.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:03 AM   #28
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You can check to see if your apartment is rent stabilized here:

NYC Rent Guidelines Board

and here is a list of all BK apartments that are:

http://nycrgb.org/downloads/resource...oklynBldgs.pdf

It is probably a good idea to know if it is rent stabilized for sure. NYC rental market is volatile and if you could avoid moving or at least plan around potential moving, you'll save a nice chunk of change.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:32 AM   #29
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Originally Posted by gidco View Post
You can check to see if your apartment is rent stabilized here:

NYC Rent Guidelines Board

and here is a list of all BK apartments that are:

http://nycrgb.org/downloads/resource...oklynBldgs.pdf

It is probably a good idea to know if it is rent stabilized for sure. NYC rental market is volatile and if you could avoid moving or at least plan around potential moving, you'll save a nice chunk of change.
Thanks, great resource. So according to this, it's not rent stabilized. Either way, it's a good deal for sure.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:23 AM   #30
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Your expenses are around 200% of federal poverty level and you are living in a place you enjoy. I don't think there is much dollar savings in moving, especially if you had to have a car or made less in salary.

It costs $3k - $15K per person annually to live in the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage:
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage | The Search for Convenient Resilience

And there you'd have to build your own straw bale house and get to know know what humanure means, if you don't already. I think $23K in expenses to live in NY and have a $70K income at your age is going to be hard to beat, especially if you factor in wanting to keep living in a lattes and laptop type demographic area for someone your age.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:23 PM   #31
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You spend $150 a month for food for five? That is impressive as it is only a $1 a day per person for 3 meals. What kind of meals do you make in a day?
$150/person. It's probably closer to $120 per person if I take out toiletries, personal hygiene items, and household supplies (like TP, paper towels, cleaning supplies).

I wish I could get it all down to $150 total but I think that would mean a lot of soups, pasta, bread, beans, etc.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:41 PM   #32
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Well yeah. This is obvious. Again, space is not important as long as I have a minimal amount. I have a friend that splits a 3 BR townhouse for $330 each in Raleigh, so I don't doubt I could save a bunch on rent. But wouldn't a car give most of the savings back? There's no way I could go carless there, and that area is a pretty big drop in QOL right now.
Yeah, I'd suggest a car here. Huge convenience, although some can make it with a bike and the occasional Uber or a rental for out of town trips. The downtown area lacks a real grocery store within walking distance, so unless you want to rely on trekking to the nearest grocery store a mile or two away to replenish your fridge, it would be expensive and/or difficult to get groceries.

Funny you mention drop in QOL. My friends that end up in NYC say how much further the dollar goes here in Raleigh. Alcohol is an example. I was shocked at paying $4-5 for a beer when we met up at Christmas last year here in Raleigh. He was like "$4-5 is cheap in NYC, so just pay up and enjoy it". And the "wow, you can drive almost anywhere and not normally get stuck in traffic". And "there's no honking". Your houses are so cheap/spacious. I've heard happier stories from those that end up in the burbs in NJ or LI, but then there's that commute if you work in the city.

As for car expenses eating up housing savings, I don't think so. Like I said before, you could buy an inexpensive 2 BR townhouse or condo and get a roommate to pay virtually your whole mortgage, thereby letting you live for almost free. Even better would be to buy a 3 BR and rent out the other 2 rooms. You might turn a small profit each month. Friends have done this to their great financial benefit. Parking is free most places in town, gas is fairly cheap, insurance on an older car with a good driving record is cheap. We have averaged $64/month for maintenance, insurance, taxes, license, and registration. Gas is dependent on your commute. Depreciation, probably figure $100/month.

With a car, you can also take cheap vacations. A day trip to the beach is $20 for gas, for example (pack a picnic lunch and a towel to lay on). Split it with 3 friends and that's $5. The marginal cost to use a car once you own it is very small. Drive to a state park and hike all day for $10-15 in gas and park admission.


Quote:
I spend ~$100 per month on alcohol. That's $25 per week or just 3-4 drinks. It's common for people my age to spend $100 per week, but fortunately I don't get much utility out of alcohol.

I also spend ~$30-40 month on coffee, because I do many of my meetups/networking/dates at coffee shops. It's about the cheapest way to hang out with someone indoors.

So food is pretty close to $150.
Okay, sounds like your food budget wouldn't benefit much by moving to a lower COL area.

I use the coffee shops for meet up places too. $2 to rent a spot to sit and chat for a couple of hours is a great deal. I'm fortunate to have one at the end of my block that I can walk to. Makes a great meeting spot for craigslist selling too.
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Old 12-20-2014, 11:19 PM   #33
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Lived there 7 years, didn't find it terribly expensive. I had a <800 sq ft place and no car. You have to adapt to the city sized life and it can be comparable. Had a ton of fun, but it wore on me.


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Old 12-21-2014, 11:33 AM   #34
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I lived in Greenwich Village in an NYU dorm for 4 years back in the 1980s before moving to a nearby apartment for 9 months after I graduated. I shared it with an older man (a NYC teacher about 10 years older than me), each of us having our own bedrooms and phone lines. It was rent-stabilized but he charged me more than half the rent (i.e. market value) but it was still a good deal.


But he moved out after 8 months to move in with his fiancÚ (he proposed to her after I had moved in) which left me having to pay the whole rent had I chosen to stay. I already planned to move out because I felt cramped without being able to own a car. I moved back to Long Island and eventually got my own place after buying a car. This was a more expensive lifestyle (i.e. car, LIRR commute) but my salary was rising quickly (nearly 30%) in just 18 months so I could afford it. And my quality of life improved greatly.
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Old 12-21-2014, 01:17 PM   #35
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A bit of a hijack, but pertinent, I think:

I spend $11,000 a year on takeout! | New York Post

Definitely candidates for LBYM training...
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